Tag Archives: dreams

Liiight buullbb…

It hit me the other day why I would have dreamt about De recently: we terminated on July 1st (4 years ago), and she left for her new job. 

That makes sense now…


Dear De

Dear De,

I dreamt about you last night. You were happy in your new job, and your life. I can’t remember much else about the dream, but we connected again in it. I caught you up on everything since we ended, and you let me in on some basics about how you were doing. 

It was nice to reconnect, even if it was just a dream… 

Peace, 

Sam

It’s weird. I don’t often dream about my therapists, but De seems to pop up in them more than most. I think it’s because I feel like I helped break her. I know it was a combination of the job, a lack of appropriate supervision/professional supports, and a lack of effective self-care while she worked in such a stressful position, but I was part of the job… so, yeah. I helped break her. 

I still feel guilty around it. 

What if I hadn’t been so open about my struggles? What if I tried harder at the techniques she presented? What if I’d made more of an effort to keep myself together? What if I’d have not given her access to my journals? What if I’d have been a better, less demanding client? What if…?

Ultimately, I know it was her responsibility to keep herself balanced and supported. I know that quitting work at the sexual assault counseling center was part of her self-care. I know it was her choice, rather than something she was forced into… yet I feel guilty. 

I think my guilt partially stems from my own experiences of burn-out in the field. I let my own experiences build up so much that they broke my defenses. I definitely feel guilty about the way I left my clients at the domestic violence counseling center. They had no notice, no termination, no chance to either say goodbye or run from the experience. I took their choice away. I took my choice away. I let myself fall apart too much before I finally was forced to pull away… I left because I landed in the hospital again (and again, and again). I could no longer function in the basics of my life, forget about in an intense and emotion-filled work environment…

De never got to that point before she realized she needed out. I’m grateful for that. 

I guess I dream about her more often because I worry about her more than other therapist’s I’ve had. I need to convince myself that she’s happy and thriving, even if I don’t know that for sure…



Don’t want to sleep

I don’t want to go to sleep. I’m scared of my dreams. I don’t remember them though, so maybe it’s not them. There’s just this fear of closing my eyes and sleeping, like something bad will happen. It’s not as intense as last year when I was terrified to go to bed after dark, but it’s anxiety provoking. We sleep on the couch because we still have not fixed the bed. I can’t be terrified of heading to the bedroom because it’s simply a matter of laying down on the couch. But I’m scared to close my eyes. My body is anticipating things. I don’t want to sleep. It’s ok to sleep during the day, but after dark it’s scary…

I can’t take benadryl to help because I have to work again tomorrow. The anxiety just keeps rising… it’s too late to text Dr C, and L is sleeping.

I wish the memories didn’t revisit me. I wish I could figure out how to put them away and leave them there. But Wednesday stirred stuff up that never settled back down. Everything that couldn’t find its way to my lips has found its way into my body… is it Monday yet?


exhausted

today has been so exhausting. while I did finally figure out that I was having flashbacks in my sleep, I had trouble shaking the emotional aftermath of them. then something I knew was coming eventually (but wasn’t sure when) was finalized: one of the snakies has been sold and is off to his new home. I had him for 2 years and 4 days. :/ I know it’s something that needs to be done, but it doesn’t make it easier…

i’m so tired, yet I am afraid to go to bed. I don’t want more flashbacks. there’s little I can do during a dream to stop them or change them or deal with them (I have not mastered lucid dreaming). I really want some sleep though. I want to be able to rest.

I see TM tomorrow. we are going to talk more about my disclosure from last week. I’d prefer to be rested and not so raw for that.

no amount of comfort food is filling the hole today…

hug teddybeary might join me for session tomorrow. i hope TM reacts to her like De did (understand she is there for comfort) rather than as LK-B did (fear that I was headed to the hospital imminently, so helped facilitate the trip).

(random picture from the internet. sadly I didn’t save the link so I don’t know who to credit, but it’s not mine) –>

 


nightmarish dreams

I tried to slow some flashbacks by napping today. While I did get sleep, it was filled with the content of the flashbacks and other nightmarish things. One in particular woke me in a panic so hard… I had looked up TM’s last name yesterday, but she had only put her last initial on the card. In my nightmare, she was the wife of DuckBoy. In the nightmare, I didn’t realize this and gave her DuckBoy’s real name. In the nightmare, she became mean and condescending… So when I woke up, I freaked out for a bit until I realized that she would have her full name on her voicemail. I quickly dialed and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard that her last name was not actually DuckBoy’s last name (from what I understand, he still lives in the area, and his wife works as a clinician somewhere in this county)… I would have run out of there if she was related to him. I had not given anyone his full name because I know he is still active in the community. I still have a lot of shame around all that went on with him…


Disconnected head-space

I’m in a weird space. I spent some time floating back through the archives of this blog (I was somewhat shocked that my stats went up, so I wanted to see what people were looking at) and could not connect to anything either emotionally or intellectually. I’m really disconnected… I know I wrote it, but it feels like I’m reading about someone else. It all feels so… weird. I’m not quite sure why I don’t connect to any of it. Not the past, not my reactions to things, nothing. It’s like I’m just reading a familiar story, but it’s not mine.

This hasn’t happened recently, and I’ve never really noticed the level of disconnect from everything till today, but it’s disconcerting. The weird feeling normally comes the day after a really disturbing dream. I can’t remember a disturbing dream last night, but I have come off of a week of being sick and having flashbacks/body memories all the time. Maybe my brain is taking some distance before it overloads.

There’s really no emotion today either. I’m not sure what that’s about. I’m flat, almost a void. Maybe more of that distance my head needs. I’m holding my breath till Wednesday. I really would like to talk to TL about a whole bunch of stuff. I’m going to try not to put too many expectations on the session though, because that always leads to a let-down. I will inevitably forget something or gloss over something or get choked on talking about something. I should probably make a list, but there’s also a plan for the session. We were supposed to put emotions to some of the journal pages (I still can’t put words to my own emotions despite being able to help others name theirs… frustrating. More stuff that I lose when I hit an emotional space). I still really want to do that. But I also want to ask her if it would be ok if I followed her to the new agency. And I want to talk about making that work if it’s ok with her. And I want to talk about the body memories. And I want to cover some of the old art journal pages that are really pretty relevent today (plus, there are some new ones… or will be by Wed). There’s also a bunch of stuff I wrote in the last 2 weeks that also need addressing. So yeah, there’s way too much to fit into an hour. I guess I’ll have to prioritize… Time to print out the journals and copy this list to have something to refer back to when I see her.


Dreams

(Disclaimer: this is purely my theory and experience and is not based on anything I recall learning around dream work. Take it all with a grain of salt. Unless I cite it, it’s purely my opinion)
What is it about dreams and nightmares that can con us into believing that they are fact?
Several weeks ago, a man killed his girlfriend because he dreamt she was cheating on him. He had no other evidence, but he believed his dream and killed her later that day.
Recently, I’ve spoken to two people who expressed deep disappointments with relationships based on dream content. Some were ready to alter the relationship solely based on the dream (which happened to be contradicted by real events, but for some reason the dream held more weight).
While I agree dreams can be very powerful (and nightmares more so), I believe they are just am alternate way to process thoughts, emotions,  and events. They are purely a construct of our brains. When we dream of a person we experience as caring and loving in life doing uncaring things in the dream, it’s often a manifestation of our fears around that person becoming uncaring. It does not mean they actually did or would do those uncaring things.  Yes, there are times we are not consciously able to put together cues around a situation and we may dream of a scenario that allows things to finally fall into understanding, but that again is simply something our brain came up with to help get to a point of conscious understanding…
I wish I could remember any of my own dreams at the moment. I know I’ve had many that took me a hot second to realize were simply dreams, but then I was able to get something out of them. I know there are many recurring nightmares… Oh, ok.  Take the Jurassic Park nightmare I had often as a kid. T-rex would be loose in our area, and I would try to hide. No matter where I went, he always found me. He would pass by others, break buildings, get under or around things, and intimately find me. It didn’t matter that I stayed really still and quiet, that I hid deep in a basement or under piles of rubble that I could just barely squeeze under, he always found me and would go to eat me (I always woke up just before he bit down). Any family or friends that were with me at the beginning of the dream would scatter and I would always end up alone…
As a kid, this nightmare terrified me (ok, let me be honest, it still does on the rare occasions I have it as an adult). The people I cared about and the people who supposedly cared about me always left me behind to fend for myself and ultimately be eaten. If I were to take this dream as a real abandonment and act on it accordingly, I would be totally alone in life. A more accurate interpretation of the dream would be that it depicts a fearful situation in which I felt alone. My kid brain couldn’t really make sense of the fear i felt at the times my parents would fight and my dad would lash out at everyone and everything, then come find me in his fury either for his own comfort (he was still angry and needed to continue venting that anger and try to find an ally, though I was terrified of him and did not want that role), or to be able to continue his rage on someone (had I dared try to defend whomever he was raging at, or to beg him to stop, he would then need to put me in my place). It came up with a way to express that fear in the form of something easier to talk about:a huge, scary dinosaur. I wouldn’t get in trouble for talking to “outsiders” about how scary it was when T-Rex came to eat me, but I would get in lots of trouble for mentioning that anything at home was less-than-prefect.
The dreams of Skeletor threatening to kill me if I cried when I was hurt or if I tools anyone of being hurt was my kid brain’s way of expressing the fear around the abusive situations and the mandate that they remain secret…

Or brains are really good at both hiding things from us, and at telling us things in ways we will understand. They’re effective at communicating in alternate ways. They come up with elaborate analogies and stories to either get us to realize something, or to give us a safe way to express things we cannot otherwise communicate… but what allows some of us to blur the understanding that a dream is just our construct, and turn it into reality?