Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Last night I had a dream that my mom and I were being chased through Times Square by a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was a game of cat and mouse, with this relentless unforgiving beast behind us knocking over billboards, street lamps, breaking glass store fronts with its thrashing tail, and plowing through cars and buses, long abandoned once the word was out that there was a T-Rex on the loose in the city. Concrete barriers, reminiscent of the Berlin wall, but three times as high, were up around Times Square after they had closed the T-Rex in, but the problem was that they had closed my mom and me in with it. We were expendable, being only two people in a city with millions. It was more important that the beast be contained than risk its escape for the sake of two lives. We had called out on a pay phone to tell them we were trapped, and they had informed us that we were on our own, but if we could make it to a certain part of the barrier, they would open the door to let us slip through.

That door was on the other side of the square, and hidden between side streets and alleys. And the T-Rex was between us and it. So the dream was terrifying, rounding corners, wondering if we were being stalked, ducking through subway access tunnels and emerging from the stairs, one step at a time as trash swirled around our feet. We stepped carefully around it, trying not to make any sound, but knowing that we were detectable by scent. The T-Rex would roar in rage as it stalked us, the overpowering sound echoing through the caverns of empty buildings. And then it would get quiet.

Too quiet.

And that was the most terrifying of all. Because that meant that it could see us, and was waiting to strike. And strike it did, from around a corner as we ran through the streets, its hot breath on my back and the confusion and terror when my mom broke away from my grasp and ran in her own direction. Running for cover in a nook large enough for me but too small for it to fit its head through. Another earsplitting roar in rage, seeing the scaly huge feet pacing back and forth, giant claws tapping on the concrete eager to disembowel me. Another attack on my shelter, my face inches away from its teeth, then more pacing, then silence.

Then footsteps leading away from me. Relief, then horror as I realized it was hunting for my mom. Not knowing if it was safe to stick my head out, if it had found another vantage point. Not knowing where my mom was once I was out. Looking over to my right and seeing the door open to freedom. A policeman stepping through and waving me to safety. The T-Rex roaring in the distance as it stalked my mom. I knew she'd want me to get out. But I couldn't leave her.

So I went back to find her. And upon walking through those deserted apocalyptic streets, I found another escape. I realized I was dreaming, and that I didn't want to be in this dream anymore, so I woke up. For a few groggy seconds, I couldn't believe that I'd left my mom in that dream, then as reality slowly came into focus, I realized that she was just down the street and perfectly safe from prehistoric giant lizards. I was completely drenched in sweat, and because I'd jerked myself out of sleep, very sleepy.

I have a gift that I am able to pull myself out of sleep if I don't like the way a dream is going. I say to myself in the dream, "this is a dream, and I don't have to be here." Then, it's almost as one does when they are preparing to jump straight upward. I ball my fists, squint my eyes, get ready to jump, and go. When I open my eyes, I'm in my bedroom. I can also fall back asleep if I have unfinished business in a dream and pick it up right where I left off. That's very convenient, especially if the dream involves Johnny Depp. ;)

My dreams have been mostly very intense lately. One, because I'm going through a major life change. And, positive though it has been, it's still a change. Lots of new information is flowing through my brain, and it must process in some way. Second, is that I've been off my medication for a couple of weeks. I was on a low dose in the first place, but one of the effects is very intense dreams when you miss doses. I'm closely monitoring my moods, and have a doctor's appointment soon, but I'm going to see if I can go on a lower dose than I've been on, with the goal to be free of it at some point. I've been feeling ok lately, but I'm not an idiot. I've been on a low dose anti-depressant for a very long time, starting when I started having panic attacks. It's been an incredible tool for me to move beyond them and manage my depression. A gentle ally, if you will, in my corner.

But now, because I'm a better ally to myself, I'm ready for that next challenge. And that challenge is a lower dose. If it works, great, if not, I'll go back to the regular dose. I'll only know over time, but know, I will.

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