Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Wearying Journey…Some Days

I’ve been plagued with nightmares for as long as I can remember (way, way back to early childhood). They seem to be somewhat cyclical in terms of when they come. I’ll go for several weeks without any and then, I’ll hit a patch of a few weeks where they are every night, sometimes several in a night. Last night’s dream was a doozy. I’ve shared it with my brother and with three very close friends who were happy to offer their ears and support (thank you Andy, Laura, Dave and Martha). The details are not as complete here as I remember the dream…it would simply be too much to write it all out. Consider my memory of it to be about as complete as a written screen play, complete with costume direction, movement direction, etc. I can remember just about all of it in great detail. I’m a little nervous, I admit, about letting people who don’t know me in person into the psyche of my dreams, but well, the writing that will follow the dream may make more sense if you read all the meat of the dream first. I dream frequently about my mom…and they are sadly never pleasant dreams.

The Dream:
I dreamed that my mom told me to get out (of the house) the day before Thanksgiving. Family friends from NYC picked me up, we drove down to NYC and so I spent a couple of hours with them. Then they dropped me off at the bus terminal. I was there at the terminal trying to figure out how to get back to Boston. I had my cell phone and a credit card on me and nothing else. There was a bullet train that would get me to Boston fastest. In the line in which I was standing to purchase my ticket was this wretched adult daughter talking horribly to her father. She was really being a horribly selfish and hateful person to him, and he was being nothing but kind. I finally decked her because I couldn’t stand it anymore. That of course landed her on her ass, all the while people agreeing (including her father) that she had it coming to her. She got up, I apologized to her for my actions and she said she was fine, but wanted me fined. So the train place was going to fine me $250. I was trying desperately to find someone in authority to speak to about this fine and how it could be argued/fought. Somehow, I managed to get some street heroin and I was all prepared to actually shoot it up. Don't ask, I have NO friggin' clue how this got in my dream...I have never purchase or done or even seen heroin. I get on the train, worried I'll get caught with the drugs. There are two trains. I almost miss the first one I'm supposed to take which takes me to the second bullet fast one. But I do somehow make it to the second train. On the second train is an old friend (but someone I am no longer friends with) with whom I chat, as well as (of all people) Steve Martin. Yes, Steve Martin. And he’s not being goofy but rather being a very serious and upstanding person. I explain to them both all that has transpired with being thrown out of the house, the woman I hit, the fines, etc. I also explain that I have this heroin on me. Steve was actually admonishing me from using the heroin, telling me that if I bought it off the street from someone I didn't know, well, I was basically looking at junk and I'd probably end up dead. With all certainty now I know I must get rid of this stuff without letting any of it get into my (or anyone else's) body. So we're trying to find an open window to chuck it out of on this bullet fast train concerned that some kid in the general population will get their hands on it. I end up getting to Boston and I miss my commuter train to Salem by 10 seconds (I can see it pulling away). It is the night before Thanksgiving and the next train isn't for 3 hours. It was the 8 p.m. train I missed. Next one isn’t until 11 p.m. Trying to figure out the train schedule is impossible, they have all these kiosks that have touch screens to walk you through where you’re going, time of day, etc. At one point, all of them are broken or useless or in some language I can’t switch to English from despite pressing the language touch part of the screen many times. I get French, Spanish, Portuguese. No English. There's a train leaving sooner (a special) but the doors are closed. It's packed. A man tries to jump into this (moving) train through an open window and launches himself so hard we're all convinced that he has shot himself out the OTHER window on the other side of the train. And we’re quite certain he’s probably dead from being hit by another train on the track on the other side of the train he tried to get on. The father of the woman I hit shows up. He’s with his wife and other two daughters…the snotty daughter is nowhere to be found. He now looks like Al Roker when he was obese (he was a slim, white, older businessman earlier in the dream). He hands me his dry cleaning ticket asking me to pick up his stuff tomorrow (makes no sense, I know), says he has no money to pay for it and no account, so I should ask them to send him a bill. I'm wondering where I'm going to go when I get back to Salem. I can’t go to mom's obviously, which is where Andy (my brother) and Elizabeth (my sister-in-law) will be. But I call my brother and ask if he’ll pick me up in Salem. He says of course he will, he’d be happy to and it doesn't matter what time it is that I get in. I'm hoping I will figure out where to go from there, but I'm adamant about not seeing mom on Thanksgiving after this crap she pulled, and my brother understands completely.

That is the story of the dream. I’ve been in a therapy a really, really long time...the past 29+ years. I spent two of those years inpatient. I work very hard to accept and move on. And then I have dreams like this that make me wonder what I have worked so hard for. It was 6:15 this morning when I got up and thought “I am emotionally exhausted already.” These dreams leave me in quite a funk. Thankfully, talking about them/writing about them has actually helped distance myself a bit from that funk of feelings and see them a little more clearly.

But honestly, there are days when I wonder if this journey is worth it. No, I’d never give up my life…I’m way, way beyond that. But when I work this hard in therapy, on myself, to process things, do the right thing, accept, forgive, grow stronger, and then the events in my life cause an overwhelming sense of rejection, abandonment, unworthiness, lostness, anger, well, it makes me wonder if I’ve really made the progress I think I have. My brother, trying so hard to assure me he’s not meaning to sound cliché but wants me to know that in comparison to 20 years ago, I’ve come a long way baby. And you know what the bright spot of this dream was (yup, there really was one)? That in this dream, my brother was there for me. He understood. He would pick me up, regardless of the time. He was there for me. I don’t know…maybe I’m not so alone after all…

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