Protection And Running Away

This is a follow up from my previous post.

After I had written it, and gone to sleep, I had a nightmare.

Before I get into the dream, it needs to be said that most of my dreams over the years have followed a similar theme. They all involve me protecting others (or myself and even baby animals). Running away from someone, a group of people, or something (like a natural disaster).

In this dream, that person was my step-father. He was hurting my youngest little sister, and throwing her around the room. She was so tiny. Just a little toddler. It broke me seeing what he was doing to her. So I picked her up and ran. Suddenly there were other people with us who I was also trying to lead to safety. We climbed and jumped over walls and roofs, and crawled through barbed wire fences. Trying to stay out of sight of the monster who was hunting us. There were security camera’s, so it was even more important for us to avoid being seen. There were wide open spaces, which made us especially vulnerable. Other spaces were difficult to get through, as there were plants and trees surrounding us. We came across a house here and there, but I knew they weren’t safe to run into. That the people who lived there were in on it with my step-father. Every time I thought we were in the clear, I’d find that it wasn’t over, and he was catching up to us.

Suddenly a SWAT team appeared. They were helping us escape. But then we understood that they weren’t there to help us at all. They had their own agenda. Now there were more people after us. One of the guys running with us, picked up a dead snake, and told us that the SWAT team had been fooling us. Why a dead snake, and what that has to do with anything, I have no idea (some of my dreams have featured snakes- I don’t know what that represents). At the end of the dream, when I finally thought we were really safe this time, as there were normal people walking around, I realized that we were still in danger. I felt trapped.

I woke up crying. And I realized just how much my past has affected me, and shaped my life. For the first time, I can acknowledge that I haven’t yet fully dealt with it. I always tried to run away from my past. Pretending that it didn’t affect me. But now I realize just how much it actually did.

Once I was fully awake, I felt a combination of anger and deep hurt. I’ve always tried to be the protector to everyone. To take care of others. I took on that role. But who protects me? Who protected that little girl? The people who were supposed to protect her, didn’t, or couldn’t. And for the first time, I’m feeling the extent of that pain.

I could never truly connect to that part of myself until now. I’m grieving for that sad, lonely, and scared little girl. For the teen who had to deal with so much.

Those uncried tears, are finally being released. The hurt with nowhere to go, is being experienced and channeled. The secrets with no one to tell, are now being told.

It’s too painful to feel all at once. But the door has been opened, so I can begin to walk through it.

Dream: The Room Under The Stairs

It was dark. Quiet. So dark that I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. The only sound piercing the silence, was the rhythmic breathing of someone sleeping nearby. Confused and disoriented, I tried to remember where I was, and why.

Suddenly the door opened, and light illuminated the room. It was a tiny space, and I knew it was under the stairs. The silhouette of someone looming in the doorway, confused me even more. Who was he? He came into focus then, and I could see he was a doctor, with the usual white scrubs. He told me to come with him, and that it was my daily break from the room. I got up, and saw the sleeping figure next to me. It was Jasmine. That would be the last time I’d see her in the dream. I walked outside into a long, white corridor, that seemed to stretch for miles in both directions. I followed the doctor, and suddenly he started fading. I could see straight through him, until he disappeared completely. I was left standing in the hallway of the hospital, blinking in the bright light. All around me I could see people talking, laughing and hugging one another. But I couldn’t make out what they were saying. They seemed a world away. I was experiencing derealization in the dream itself.

A voice from behind me shook me back into the here and now. I spun around, my heart racing, my eyes struggling to bring the person into focus. It was the doctor again. He told me it’s time to go back. That my time was over. I begged him to give me my phone, but he wouldn’t listen. The more I begged and pleaded, the angrier he got. He dragged me to the door of the room, and shoved me inside. I hit my head on the ceiling, collapsing onto the bed. The door closed, and everything went dark again. The feeling of being trapped overwhelmed me, and I was struggling to breath. And this time I was alone…

In the room under the stairs.

Dream: Waves

I was going to start this post with an apology for my last post, and for not having written anything in a little while. But I don’t want this blog to become a place where I apologize for having feelings (or not feeling anything at all), or where I post because I feel I have to. I think I know myself well enough to know that once that happens, it will just become another thing I stop because I feel overwhelmed and like it’s a responsibility. Thank you to everyone who reads my posts, and for all your comments, likes, and emails. I appreciate all of you.

I’m still not in the head space to write anything ‘profound’ or uplifting, so decided to share another dream instead.

Last night I had a nightmare that I had so many times as a child and teenager, but over recent years hasn’t featured quite as much. Strangely enough, the dream is always the same, with only very minor differences.

I’m standing in a wooden house in what appears to be the middle of the ocean, because I can’t see a shore in any direction. The house is on stilts. Either I am doing something in the house, or I am just looking out the window over the ocean. If I am doing something, I hear a thundering noise, and go to the window, or out on the deck. I see this huge wave coming toward me. There’s a massive storm as well. I do not panic, but feel this intense fear. I want to run, but I know I can’t. That there is nowhere to go. So all I do is watch as it comes closer. I usually wake up the instant before the wave can hit the house.

A few times the wave would actually hit me before I woke up, and I would be struggling to grab a hold of any piece of wood I could find. Panic taking over, I would struggle and swallow a lot of the salty sea water. I was busy drowning when I would jolt awake, and find myself safe in bed, but feeling very unsafe, my entire body shaking and my heart beating in my head. This extended version of the dream played out last night.

I wish this dream would just stop repeating. Although I suspect it has to do with feeling overwhelmed with life and everything going on in my head. It literally feels like I’m drowning lately. I also can’t help but feel that even the wooden house represents something that I just can’t quite figure out. I guess that’s the world of dreams.

Dream: The Girl

I walk into the living room. It’s a mess. Broken plates and mugs scattered everywhere. The electronic equipment all but destroyed.

The room is filled with people. As they notice me standing there, they start shouting and laughing at me. Some whispering among themselves.

Shame and embarrassment settles over me.

Then, the anger comes. Surging through my body. Faster than a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun.

I see her.

A little girl in the corner. Watching me.

Barefoot, stepping on the broken plates and mugs, I walk up to her and grab her hard by the arm. She needs to be punished. She looks at me with big, scared eyes.

I am hurting her.

And I realize…

She is me.

The Dream And A Missing Psychologist

I find dreams fascinating. Even nightmares.

Growing up, I had a few recurrent dreams. They have stuck with me through the years, and every once in a while (very rarely at least) I have one of them again. I’ll write about each one sometime.

Now, I have a new dream. I’ve had it only once before, but even one repeat tells me there are issues I need to deal with.

The first time I had this particular dream was during one of my own vacations, and I couldn’t see my therapist that week.

I had the same dream again last night.

I go into my old living room and see my dad, a woman from our past, and my new stepmom. The woman has blood all over her face, and is sitting on the couch, which is also full of blood. He looks mad. And I know he did that to her. My stepmom is quiet and just standing there. My dad starts shouting and screaming. I tell them I’m just going to the bathroom and will be right back.

Terrified, I go out into the hallway, take out my phone and start looking for my therapists number, so I can call her and ask her what I must do. Do I phone the hospital or the police or both? Remember this is a dream, so even though the answer is simple in waking life, it didn’t work that way here. Anyway, my phone doesn’t respond, and does its own thing. Opening other apps and not allowing me into my contact list. I’m getting extremely frustrated and panicking.

Suddenly, I find myself outside. Everything is grey and there’s a heavy mist all around. I realize I’m standing in water up to my knees. I feel this urge to look for something. Only I don’t know what. There are big, tall buildings all around me, and I’m walking through narrow spaces between the buildings. I’m getting anxious, claustrophobic and overwhelmed. All the while I’m still trying to find my therapists number. I eventually manage to get into my contact list, but her number isn’t there anymore. There’s no trace of her anywhere on my phone. All the messages I had, also gone. As if I had never met her. As if she had never existed.

The water (that I’ve been walking through the entire time) starts getting deeper. Dark water, black as tar. My next step, I plunge down into the water, as if the ground had just given way beneath me. I struggle to the surface and manage to come back up for air. Just as I take a big gulp of air, something pulls me beneath the surface again.

I wake up in a panic, and check my phone. Everything is still there. Momentary relief.

It seems to happen when I don’t see my therapist for a week or more. I’ve only started seeing her at the beginning of last month, so the therapy process and these feelings toward her are still relatively new. By the time we have our next session, it would have been exactly 2 weeks since our last one. What is 2 weeks? For me… A lifetime. So I know this dream has a lot to do with my fear of her not being around anymore, of her not coming back. Of forgetting about me. Which is extremely frustrating because I know logically that it’s not true. But my logical center either suffers from memory loss or has a short attention span. The emotional part then takes over quickly, throwing me into a panic, and convincing me of the opposite. The fear is soothed (for a while at least) when and if being reassured that said person will indeed come back. It’s a special type of torture that only those who experience the same thing will be able to understand.

I follow Dr. Gerald Stein’s blog (which I highly recommend if you haven’t stumbled upon it by now), a retired Clinical Psychologist who often blogs about psychotherapy. It’s always helpful to read things from a therapist’s point of view. And this article I read seemed fitting for this post:

‘Managing The Dread Of A Therapists Vacation’

Feel free to offer any of your own interpretations of this dream if you wish. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s perspectives.