When your dreams betray you

Dreams are great, for the most part. You can meet celebrities, travel wherever you want to go, be another person … fuck, if you want to you can fly.

Then come those dreams that aren’t so great. I had one of those just now.

Before I write about that, a little backstory for you:

I’m bipolar. It’s under control for the most part, but it’s there. It might even run in the family; I’m no doctor, so I can’t say 100% for sure. Nature versus nurture and all that. But I have family was has been committed and I’m a direct descendant of a man who died in an institution. The cause of death? “Exhaustion in the progression of psychosis.” Now, I don’t think about this much and haven’t in a long time, but at times it does come to the forefront and it troubles me.

This morning it more than troubled me. It terrified me.

The dream started innocently enough. I was at work, and I was about to check the blood sugar of a patient who was getting very lightheaded and becoming incoherent.

Then the shit it the proverbial fan. I got in trouble for not using the right sterile technique (even though I ended up not doing the blood sugar check–the patient’s friend did) and then my boss started yelling at me for a multitude of things I had done wrong, including not decorating one of the rooms in the office properly (hey, it was a dream, okay?) and boring everyone with little factoids I kept talking about.

Then she had me committed.

It was terrifying. I could only see my husband for a short while, during visiting hours, and I couldn’t see my family at all. The kitchen fucked up my dinner–they didn’t tell me my food was ready and the macaroni and cheese got cold to the point where it was inedible. So there I was, all alone except for the other patients (who wouldn’t talk to me), and all I could think was I wasn’t allowed to see my husband and my family and how devastatingly sad I was that all of my coworkers thought the things I said were boring. It may not sound that bad, but remember, in dreams things can seem more real than reality.

That’s when I woke up sobbing uncontrollably, and my husband woke up for a moment to find out what was wrong.

I’m still crying a little bit, more than half an hour later.

This dream just hit me like a freight train. I haven’t thought about the familial mental health issues in what seems like forever, and work has been going pretty well. The last couple of days (when I was in charge because my boss was on vacation) went fine. So why did my subconscious betray me?

It’s hard to say. Sometimes dreams just pull stuff from the deepest part of your mind and bombard you with ghosts that you thought you had exorcised.

I’ve stopped crying now, but I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to sleep. I don’t want to end up on that little cot in the asylum again anytime soon.