Confessions of a GAD Girl

welcome to my anxious brain

Dreaming With My Eyes Closed But I Can See

Let’s talk about dreams for a moment, shall we? Not life dreams, happy night dreams, or daydreams. We’re talking about anxiety-ridden dreams. The type of dreams that fuck you up in the head while you sleep, and then follow you around for the day.

Now, for the average person, these don’t happen often. Unpleasant dreams are part of the human experience. They remind you that there is something beyond your conscious mind; energy lurking below the surface of your brain.

For someone like me, however, a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, unpleasant dreams are a reminder that crazy things are happening in my brain that I basically have no control over. They wig me out and set me on an anxious path for the day. I’ve learned to cope with them, as I’ve learned to cope with so much else, but they still have a hold on me.

I can’t necessarily remember the details of the dreams, but I remember how they made me feel while I was dreaming them. They’re like lucid dreams, but not.

Last night, for instance, I remember dreaming about being on a river’s shore. It was perfectly beautiful out. The perfect amount of sun and wind surrounded me. The water was perfectly warm. I was with two people, one of whom was my boyfriend, but I can’t remember (or never knew) who the other person was. They both went into the water and told me to join them. I walked to the river’s edge then asked for assistance while entering the water as there were rocks, and I was barefoot – in fact, I vividly remember being annoyed that I had forgotten my rubber-soled water shoes. Immediately upon touching the water, I swam away from the rocks towards the center of the river, where I was gently taken adrift by the mild current. My eyes were closed, but I could still see where I was going. After lifting my head about the water, I attempted to open my eyes but couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, I could not open my eyes. This is where the dream became slightly lucid. I knew I was dreaming, and I knew I was lying on my back in my bed. I couldn’t open my eyes in either world.

My heart began to race and my breathing became rapid. Still my eyes wouldn’t – or couldn’t – open. Then I felt the sensation that was sitting up and getting out of bed. My eyes were still not open in either world, yet I could see. This happened three times. Part of my brain was telling me that I was out of bed, but another part knew that wasn’t true. Suddenly a banging noise came from outside that literally jolted me upright. My eyes were finally open, and as I became aware of my surroundings, I realized that I had in fact not gotten out of bed yet. It was such a strange sensation. Almost as if my whole body had fallen asleep, like a foot does, and I was slowing regaining feeling. Like coming off anesthesia.

I’m prepared for the fuzzy sensation to follow me for the day, and will cope with the uneasiness of it as well as I can. In the grand scheme of things, this dream is not nearly as bad as others have been. I’m finishing up a cup of herbal tea, chamomile and lavender to be exact, next I’ll take a bath. Then I’m going to soak in some sun rays and spend time with my boyfriend.

I will get through this day as I get through every day. One hour at a time.


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