I awake panicked and drenched in sweat. The duvet clings to me and I feel suffocated. As usual, dreaming is the catalyst for this dramatic start to the day. My dreams are filled with fear, humiliation, frustration and loneliness.
I am so used to these nightmares, I barely notice them anymore. The worst part is that the Mirtazipine stops me from being able to wake up properly. I am frightened into waking, only to fall asleep again, instantly returning to the horror of the dream. It’s like being tumbled in a rough sea, every time I just about find my feet another wave breaks and drags me under.
Last night was nothing extraordinary. The story followed several of my recurring themes; rejection, humiliation and abandonment. Particularly while my therapist (J) is on holiday (and for the few weeks before) many of my dreams have focused on her leaving or abandoning me.
This particular dream continues to haunt me as I sit in the office right now. In it, I went to see J and she was running group therapy sessions. She knew she had made the appointment with me, and could see me waiting, but wouldn’t acknowledge me. Eventually another therapist I had never met before appeared and said she had been asked to take over my sessions. I refused to work with her, as I didn’t know or trust her.
In the dream, I was so distressed by these events and by the rejection that I broke my sobriety. I went to a pub in London that I know well and got very, very drunk. My sister showed up and was appalled at the state of me. She told everyone I was wasted; my wife, parents and J all knew and were disgusted with me. Conspiring together, they abandoned me in London with only a pushbike and no phone or money. In the last part of the dream I was frantically trying to make my way home, but kept finding myself further away.
I hate these dreams. I hate that they torture me and I can do nothing about it. And the more I do the work of therapy, the more they seem to wreck my sleep. I used to look forward to getting into bed, it meant that I could escape from the toxicity of my thoughts; the repetition, the critical self-analysis and the frequent flashbacks.
Last night felt particularly bad because I’d had a break from it. I had almost a week of sleeping better and was starting to feel like my batteries had recharged. But now that familiar, drained heaviness is back.