Monday, May 07, 2007

Dreaming My Dreams

I am prone to nightmares. I have them quite regularly. Well, not as regularly as I used to, but they do pop up for me now and again. They seem to be my mind’s way of coping with stress and/or anxiety. I get through the day just fine, and then my psyche “works it all out” at night, so to speak.

Before having Zane, I might have several nightmares a week. Not every week, but enough that it was a fairly regular occurrence, and I had developed a bag of tricks to get back to sleep.

Also before I had Zane, I had recurrent insomnia. Now, not so much. I sleep hard these days, and even if I have nightmares, they’re not enough to wake me up, and I don’t remember them.

But they do occasionally come back – in enough force to cut through my sleep-deprived haze and wake me up sweating. Such was the past week.

Now, I know you’re thinking…what does this chick have to be stressed out and anxious about? I know. But let me tell you the things that are affecting my life right now: Paris Hilton is going to jail, there are only three new episodes of Heroes left, the ugliest bathroom in America is upstairs and no closer to being remodeled than it was 3 months ago, and I keep forgetting to pick up my dry cleaning.

You know, the typical middle-class angst stuff here.

But actually, it turns out that I’m stressed about a few other things as well. The whole best friend with breast cancer thing, Zane’s asthma is flaring so we’re back on the dreaded Orapred, I still have a liver tumor – which is only stressful in the way of I still can’t eat a whole lot, I was out of town several days last week and Zane didn’t do so well, and I will be leaving again next week for a longer period of time. And, seriously, I keep forgetting to pick up my dry cleaning.

So it is with no surprise that the nightmares have been coming back.

I have found in my late night ruminations about my dreaded dreams that my nightmares – the bad ones, not the make-me-a-little-anxious-but-I-can-fall-back-to-sleep-easily ones – have three recurrent themes.

  1. Snakes. Most of the nightmares I have where I’m just plain out terrified involve any number of legless reptiles. Their little slithering bodies freak me out in my waking hours, but at night they come in multitudes and hordes and slide into my dreams and wreak havoc on my sleep-itude. It is such a deep-rooted fear that if I even happen to see a snake during the day (say for instance, on some nature show, I will almost certainly have a nightmare about snakes that night – unless I stop for a few moments and watch the show and have a little conversation with myself. The conversation goes something like this: Self, don’t dream about snakes tonight. I know you just saw one on TV, but that’s no reason to let them into your dreams tonight. Some days, Self actually listens, and the wee beasties don’t invade. Other days, I’m not so lucky.

  1. SRH cheating on me. So crazy, this one. In these nightmares, I find out that SRH has cheated on me, and he’s NOT.SORRY.AT.ALL. In fact, he’s done with me, and he can’t imagine what he ever saw in me. This completely hearkens back to the days when I couldn’t find a faithful boyfriend to save my life. I always went for the hot guys who knew they were hot. And I knew they were hot. And, of course, other women knew they were hot. And pretty soon, I was cheated on.

This, however, is not SRH’s “in real life” M.O. He’s hot, sure. But he’s a faithful kind of hot, and let’s also not forget that he’s a wee bit lazy. So he probably wouldn’t ever make the effort to cheat because, well, it involves effort.

But in my dreams, man, he looks at me like I am filth from the bottom of his shoe. Like I am less than nothing. And I feel awful. Like the teen-agey, this is the worst thing in the world, I may never recover kind of awful.

I’m always kind of mad at him when I wakeup from those ones.

  1. I cheat on SRH. While this one sounds like a little more fun on the face of it, I never actually get to enjoy the cheating on SRH. The dream always begins after the fact, so I’m left feeling all the guilt that a cheating partner would, but I don’t get the glorious moments of illicit consummation. So, I enter the dream at the point where I’m trying to figure out how I could do such an awful thing to such a wonderful person. Cue the self-loathing. And then I have to decide whether I’m going to tell SRH that I’m a horrible person who doesn’t deserve him but if he’ll just give me one more chance I will try my hardest not to be the low down dirty tramp that we both know that I am. But even if I don’t tell him, I know that I have messed up the best thing to ever happen to me…

I think these dreams might be worse than the ones where he cheats on me. Ugh!

And while the snakes are clearly just a manifestation of my primal fears, I think it may be time to pull out my “used to be a therapist” credentials for some deep dream analysis of the other two scenarios. (Never mind that I wasn’t a Jungian therapist, and that I’ve never had any type of training in dream interpretation.)

I’m hypothesizing that my cheating/cheated on dreams reflect my deep fears that, um, my life may be careening wildly out of control right now. It isn’t really, of course. Sometimes it just feels that way – what with all the tumors/cancers/health concerns that are going on in my vicinity. And when you’re world is being rocked (as mine is right now), your biggest fear is that the rug will be pulled out from under you. And SRH – our relationship – is my rug.

But let’s not to get too deep, folks. They are just dreams. They don’t say anything about the state of my relationship. They simply reflect my irrational fear of impending doom.

And this is why I hate the whole sharing of self-insights kind of talk. It just makes everyone think there are deep, twisted things happening in my psyche.*

Okay. Moving on. As a complete attempt to get away from any seriousness talk, I wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. Today is my 33rd birthday, and since three is one of my lucky numbers, I am hopeful that this will be a very good year.

Now, if I could only get a good night’s sleep!

*And everyone becomes just a bit clearer on why I am a former therapist.


Thea said...

I used to be fascinated by dream interpretation until I realized that they could be just as much about unfulfilled blah blah blah as they could be about the fact that I ate too late at night.

But since you can't eat because of your toomah, it must mean that you are feeling unfulfilled in your blah blah blah.

That'll be $500 please. Happy freakin' birthday.

lsig said...

Happy birthday, belatedly! ("Happy belated birthday" makes no sense. Your birthday came right on time whether I remembered it or not.)

Sue said...

Happy Birthday (1 day late). :)

I guess I shouldn't share with you that my sister and I used to own a pet Boa?

Amazing how dreams can effect you so much, right? I hope you had a good day yesterday and were able to get some good sleep.

zulhai said...

I am not a therapist, but I saw one once on the Mike Douglas show many moons ago. He said that the key to nightmares was to turn and face the monster. So, for example, during the next, ummm, herpetological attack, you might dream of St. Patrick, or just turn down the dream thermostat, (and put the enemy into a state of torpor), or tell yourself "Lucky I never dream without my anti-venom!" That kind of thing. I'm sure there is some deeper, archetypical meaning ascribed by your subconscious to these images, which are triggering the anxiety, but until you figure that out, there is always Riki Tiki Tavi, king of the dream mongeese.

Andrea said...

Happy Birthday! And wishing you an imminent end to nightmares.

Anonymous said...

Who knew I could gain deep insight into my own, recently occuring nightmares? I've been dreaming about strangers in my home trying to hurt me. I'm having this dream about every other day and they wake me up every time. I bet if I take a closer look the fucker in my doorway has a scalpel in hand. I'll take Zulhai's advice and figure out how to turn it around. Maybe she/he? brought me flowers rather than a sharp blade to cut me open. Hmm, I guess I still have some stuff to work out with my therapist regarding my upbeat ability to deal with the damn cancer. Who knew?


Elengant said...

Geez! I AM a therapist, and I don't get to charge $500, what's up
with that? By the way, very happy birthday, too bad we couldn't
celebrate, oh, wait, we did...haha. AND I just want you to know, I had
that "my husband cheated on me dream" last week, no fun.
Unfortunately no wisdom from this therapist.

zulhai said...

The definition of a pathogen is an invasion by a foreign organism. Cancer isn't really a foreigner, though. It is your own cells malfunctioning.
You could try just asking the strangers in your house to leave, or try putting them to sleep, or get them to wait for you outside, etc. Or just ask them what they want, and while they are thinking about it, press the emergency button.(?)

Nadolny said...

Happy B-Day Zany Mom!

Anonymous said...

"I’m always kind of mad at him when I wakeup from those ones."

My sister used to have dreams about getting into fights with me (you know, the kind only siblings can get in) when she was younger. One time I woke her up from a nap because it was time for dinner and she drew a glass at me. Ya, I let mom take over "wake up" duty from that point on.

Happy (belated) birthday!

rb said...

When I have nightmares, I am aware in my dream that it's just a dream. Do you? So, I tell myself "okay, let me out of here" and scream, shout, etc. Then I'm out. At least I don't have to be scared too long if I can get out of it sooner. Try that and see if it makes you any different or help in any way. Oh, you may scare the heck ouf ot SRH.

SRH said...

By "faithful kind of hot" do you mean that kind of hot that only appeals to one person in the universe: you?

I'm just asking. I'm not fishing for compliments. I'm simply wondering if I'm faithful kind of hot by default - as in no one else but you wants me.

Zany Mama said...

The check is in the mail. Uh-huh. It is.

I would expect no less from you than a grammatically correct birthday wish!

I simply cannot understand why someone would want to own a snake. I mean, I don't wish them harm, but I can't imagine liking one.

I used to love Riki Tiki Tavi. Have a soft spot in my heart for mongeese because of that particular story, I do.

Thanks - from your mouth to the Dream God's ear.

I'm glad my neuroses - and people's response to said neuroses - is helpful to you.

That's the kind of friend I am.

That's okay. I stopped expecting wisdom from you a long time ago.

Thanks, man.

That's hilarious - you gotta appreciate a girl who knows how to take care of herself even when coming out of a deep sleep!

I may try it. SRH is hilarious when he gets startled in the middle of the night. That alone might be worth it.

I find that the communication in our relationship can stand on it's own. You'll get no clarification from me.

Anonymous said...

So tell me, in your dreams, do the snakes ever tell you to eat and share the apple, thereby ruining mankind for all eternity? I just need to know if I need to write a book about you to make me famous.