I’ve been getting EMDR therapy lately (I’ve done two sessions) and the therapist said I might be having some bad dreams. A lot of the ones I’ve had are not bad, per se, but they’re not set in the locations my dreams go back to again and again.
Two notable ones:
I’ve had two dreams about wanting to prove that I’m okay, or normal, and not being able to do it. In one dream I was going to go to a party with a group of people including this girl who I’d had a falling out with in Shanghai. I felt she looked down at me and I was filled with rage at her. I really wanted to beat her up, and even vividly imagined beating her up in the dream, but told myself that I couldn’t do it before the party because that would ruin the atmosphere — it was another friend’s birthday party and I didn’t want to mess it up. We had been staying in an apartment way up in a highrise, and it took like five minutes to go from the apartment to the ground. Throughout the preparation for going out, I kept trying to act not crazy, and like I was totally normal, but when we got downstairs and were ready to leave to go to a club or karaoke, I realized I didn’t have any shoes on. Then somebody told me my hair was messed up, I looked in a mirror, and found that it was all crazy and sticking out on the sides. I asked why nobody told me there was anything wrong with it, and nobody had any reply. I had to go back to get my shoes and fix my hair, but during that time, everybody left. I was supposed to come afterward, but it took so long to go upstairs, to fix my hair/shoes and would take so long to come down again I realized I would have missed a lot of the party. I thought it was futile to go, and stayed in the apartment, feeling like a failure because the person who looked down on me had been proved right, that I wasn’t normal.
Even the night after this dream I had trouble going to sleep because I could still so vividly imagine beating up that girl and I still felt really intense rage toward her.
Last night I had a dream where I was back in grad school in Michigan. I didn’t have a good reputation amongst some of the faculty in the department because I had complained about the way grad student TAs were treated, so being back was sort of a tense situation. I knew they didn’t think I would do well, but I wanted to, for my own self-respect and to thwart their negative expectations. As time went on, I realized that things were going wrong for me, mentally. My sanity was sort of slipping. I felt humiliated but had to decide what to do so things didn’t spiral out of control. I decided I should check myself into a hospital. I knew I had proved myself to be abnormal, just like they all expected, but on reflection I decided that I just didn’t care about their opinion very much. It didn’t really matter to me.
During the hospital/clinic part of the dream, there was a tornado, and when I realized it would happen, I took one of the people working there down into a basement for protection. We were down there sheltering from the storm, and while usually in my tornado dreams the storm passes by, in this time one actually came. The noise was incredibly loud, like a train was passing above us. We were okay in the end, though, because we were in the underground shelter.