What Dreams May Come.March 6, 2012 at 9:53 am | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 2 Comments
I have always been a vivid dreamer. For long as I can remember, during certain periods of my life, I’ve have similar recurring dreams; three or four times in a given week I’d have the same dream. Over and over and over.
When I was a kid, it was about vampires. In my dream, my entire town was gone, and I was the only person left. I always woke up at the moment where, in my dream, I was hiding under my bed and the vampires were marching up my street to find me.
In high school, I dreamt of a cliff I’d trip and fall over. The same place every time; I’d fall and fall and fall and fall and wake up JUST as I hit the ground; often twitching hard enough in my sleep that I actually felt like I LANDED in my bed.
In college and in my 20s, I dreamt about half-built bridges; huge, high bridges over massive bodies of water that I found out too late were unfinished, usually in bad weather of some sort.
And maybe I look too deeply into my dreams, but I really believe that they MEAN something at a point in my life. Every time I’ve had them has been in response to some sort of stress. The vampire dream started in 4th grade when I was in trouble and fighting with my parents all the time. Teenage years, well, the angst of being a teenager living in my parents’ house. My bridges dream started in college towards the end, when I was supposed to figure out a career and how I’d make money, and continued through my year of unemployment.
For the past year or so, I’ve been dreaming of tsunamis.
When things were at its worst with my job, I was having the dream almost nightly. It was a cloudy, awful, dark day. Maybe twilight, or maybe it was just really overcast; sort of that low light you get in winter. I am on a beach, staring down this MASSIVE wave coming towards me, trying to figure out what to do. Get to higher ground? Not enough time? Dive underneath it? Not really enough time either. Some nights I chose to dive underneath the wave, and when I came up, I realized that there are thousands more waves after it. And I’d wake up with the realization that there was no way I was going to survive.
My analysis of them? Stress dreams. That wave, I thought, represented being overwhelmed with all the chaos in our life right now, the busy-ness of it all, and my lack of feeling like I had control in managing it.
And when I gave my notice at work, the dream went away. For two blissful weeks, I didn’t dream of it at ALL. I took it as a sign that yeah, I was getting back on top of our life, and feeling less stressed, so everything was good.
Until last week, when it came back.
This one was different though. The sky was steely grey, and the ocean had receded enough that I KNEW there was a big wave coming. Charlie Brown was with me, so I told him we had to get to higher ground. We went from place to place trying to get above the water, knowing we didn’t have much time before the wave came, finding every place we went to locked. I woke up, sweating, with the knowledge that it was no use; we were going to have to figure something else out.
I woke up with a sinking feeling. I was wrong about the wave. Maybe it wasn’t being overwhelmed. Maybe it was a wave of depression – the Bad Place coming to get me. And it was a warning: no matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from it.
And then, two nights, ago, I dreamt of it again.
This time, Lucky and I were playing in the water, and the wave came from NOWHERE. I had only enough time to tell Lucky to dive underneath it with me, to swim out into the water instead of running away from it. We survived the first wave without much fuss at all. But there were more behind it, bigger, more violent waves which I was sure were going to kill us both. And I was TERRIFIED. Looking at that wall of water towering above us, knowing that my son COULDN’T EVEN SWIM, knowing that there were so many more and there was no way we’d get through it.
And then I looked over at Lucky, in the dream, trying to figure out what to do. And he was completely FINE. Swimming, diving, wasn’t afraid at all.
Still, though, I woke up sweating. And I had to get up and walk into the bathroom, and get a drink of water, and feel the cold tiles on my feet and focus on slowing my breathing and heart rate down.
I know what the waves represent.
The day my cousin died, I very nearly drowned in grief. I spent MONTHS, actually, drowning. I didn’t know which way was up. I had no way to cope, no support, no help, nothing.
So I somehow stuffed all of that emotion away, locked it in a room. Pretended it didn’t happen, kept myself from feeling ANYTHING. And it worked, for a while. Years, really. It would get harder and harder whenever I hit a rough patch in my life, but I was able to manage it.
Except as I’ve gotten older it’s gotten harder and harder to do. Maybe I don’t have the energy to expend on holding it all back. Maybe I am starting to take stock of the life I have now and am realizing, hey, you know something? I’m not happy, either. Holding back the bad stuff also makes it that I don’t allow myself to feel really HAPPY, either.
And I think I’m afraid of all of that feeling, the waves of it I’ve tried to hold back for so long now. I got through IF because I spent all my energy trying to hold back the Bad Place; trying to turn the negative into positive.
What would happen if I really allowed myself to feel EVERYTHING – didn’t try and filter out the bad, but breathed in all of it, dove into the water and just let it swirl around me? Would I break apart, come unglued? Drown in the sadness and never get out of my bed again?
So my best friend J is pregnant. After a loss in November 2010 and TTC for more than a year, she’s 10-ish weeks. And yesterday, at her OB’s appointment, she heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
It’s amazing how complicated my emotions are about it all. I am so, SO happy for her. There’s a part of me who is living vicariously through her; this is a chance to see and hold a tiny baby and have a small part in a new life. I will be able to buy new tiny baby clothes, hold and smell and rock a new baby, and watch Lucky interact with him/her. This little baby will part of my family, too – just as my best friend is.
But, too, grief. I remember that OB appointment where we heard Lucky’s heartbeat; the swelling of my heart hearing the gallop of his heartbeat inside my belly, the moment where I thought, wow, I am pregnant. The love I felt for that little embryo, the fear of something happening, the excitement of being pregnant at last. And. The yearning. I want that so badly. I want to be at my OB’s office, hearing the heartbeat, of planning how to tell Lucky he’s going to be a big brother. I want it so badly, it hurts.
So yesterday, I really let myself feel ALL of it; every last emotion. I let myself cry if I needed it. I breathed through the longing, let myself get carried away with excitement and joy for my best friend. I even looked through some old baby clothes to see if there was anything I could pass along to her.
And it’s interesting. Because right now? I’m not drowning.
Feeling everything, right now anyway, is CLARIFYING some things.
I think I want to cycle again.
I think I want to try New RE and her clinic. And roll the dice that maybe we’ll get lucky again. I think I have another cycle in me, at the very least. I don’t know much much more I can do, but I think I know I at least want to try once more.
And that’s something, at any rate.