Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
~Edgar Allan Poe
I’m not sleeping well. Not at all. There’s so much going on up there in my brain that it’s spilling into my sleep. I figure i’m getting enough restorative sleep, otherwise i don’t think i’d be accomplishing as much as i am, but still, the constant interruption is wearing on me. I’m getting crotchety in the mornings, and i’m not like that. Even when i lived the life of a nighthawk or had a blistering hangover, i was merely silent, not cranky or truculent. I had a feeling it was coming though, and had the sense to warn my husband and son. I asked them to try to cut me some slack if i seemed a bit testy, and assured them i’d be working hard on handling it.
There has always been a lot of conversation in my head, and i thought that was how it was for everyone until i was well into my 20s. I didn’t know that most other people didn’t have a constant running commentary going on in their head. I’d hear them say things like, “That’s my mother talking,” or “I can hear what they’re gonna say already,” or “I could hear their criticisms,” and it sounded like what was happening for me, so i didn’t question it. It wasn’t until i started getting the MPD/DID diagnosis that i began to realise that the voices in my head weren’t all exactly mine, nor were they some imagined comment from someone else based on relationship or personal issues, i.e. a random thought.
The talk in my head has meat to it. Personality. There’s a quality to it like i’m eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation. I don’t think i can communicate this very well, but there’s almost volume in the voices. I know it’s in my head but i don’t think them, i hear them.
My dreams are more intense than they’ve been in many, many years, and i’m taking notice. Something’s going on, and it’s important. Important to them, so i’ve been bringing a notebook and pen to bed with me. I wake from a dream and i turn on a small light (hubby works and needs sleep), sit up and immediately jot it down. Well, maybe not jot. I’ve been recording my dreams for 3 nights now and i have a lot of full pages. I’ll do it a couple more nights yet before i take a good, hard look at them.
I’m waiting because i’m seeing a pattern.
I think they’re telling me something, i think i’ve already got an idea what’s coming, and i just need to let it percolate up there a bit. Prepare myself emotionally, because what’s coming is details.
There came a day when i decided to entertain the notion that i might be multiple. It was after years of flat, terse denial. That should have been my first clue, as my affect is neither flat nor terse. At that time i was either very big, or very small – there wasn’t much in between. I was either right THERE! inches from your face, or nowhere to be seen.
I considered it because my counsellor at the time was a person i trusted. I started seeing her through my fundamentalist, charismatic church, but even though she worked for them, it wasn’t hard for me to see she wasn’t one of them. We both wanted very badly to belong, but (fortunately, says i) neither of us did.
I trusted her enough to let her suggest, gently and kindly, smiling and cocking her head sideways at me, that even though she knew how i felt about it, she had consulted with a psychologist friend of hers who specialised, who agreed with her diagnosis of multiplicity. And because she had built relationship with me, for the first time i actually listened, rather than left immediately or just never came back.
It was maybe a week or so later that i was thinking about my dreams. They’d been firing off in my trying-to-sleep brain much more often than usual. I was walking every hour or 2, and needing 5 or 10mins to get myself together enough to even attempt sleep again. My nerves were frazzled and my emotions in tumult already, and the disturbing dreams, coupled with lack of sleep, had me at a near fever pitch. I was rolling all the dreams around in my head, considering what they meant, when a voice i had only heard once before, said something that, like it had before, changed my life wholly, fully, and instantaneously.
When my oldest son was still a baby, and it was just he and i living in a cheap 2-bedroom apartment, i heard a voice. It wasn’t in my head – it came from the other room. It wasn’t male or female, and although not robotic, it lacked any emotion. It told me something my mother used to do to me when i was still in diapers. A terrible thing. I had never thought her capable of such evil, but as soon as the voice spoke it, i knew it was true. Years of certain fears and behaviours suddenly made perfect sense. I promptly ignored the voice and pretended it didn’t happen, but as i confronted my childhood abuse, i acknowledged that voice once again and the terrible truth it had told me.
That voice spoke to me again as i was considering my counsellor’s diagnosis. I was contemplating my dreams with this tentative new context. I heard it coming from another room, and it simply said, “Those are not dreams.”
I felt cold and hot at the same time. I started sweating, i was both nauseous and nauseated. I was dizzy, and my head felt split open by a sudden, thumping headache. My eyes were hot in their sockets, and my knees were suddenly weak and my hands were numb.
…And i dissociated quite quickly afterwards and tried valiantly, but in the end vainly, to keep that information in some part of my brain where i now knew i kept stuff like that. Just as it had happened before with that voice in the apartment as i changed my baby son.
So, i know i just did 2 flashbacks and those can be confusing. I even did a flashback within a flashback, but we’re back at present day now, okay?
The reason i think that details are coming is because these dreams i’ve been having remind me of some of those dreams that voice told me were true. They’re not quite memories, but they’re much more detailed and make more sense than my regular dreams. Plus, my regular dreams almost always fall into well-known categories. These don’t. And today, i’ll give you one more reason than i had yesterday.
I’ve taken a number of days to write this post, and since i wrote about how i think maybe my Peanut Gallery is trying to communicate through dreams, i’ve not been able to remember a single one. I know i’ve dreamed, as i tend to wake up after them.
Brief Aside: It’s a skill i learned very young. I suffered terrible nightmares all through my childhood, and i would just drift from one nightmare into another – trapped and unable to escape. Without any instruction, i taught myself lucid dreaming. I think it was a matter of survival, as my sleep was constantly disturbed, i slept walked regularly, and my epilepsy was becoming more of an issue because of it. Over the years i have become quite adept at waking myself from any dream i don’t want to have.
So yeah, i’m waking up a couple of times a night still, and i have that feeling that i was dreaming something, but when i try to focus on details it’s like my fingers trying to grab hold of smoke. I think what that means is i received the message, and so now they can return me to my regularly scheduled sleep program.
Thank goodness, because i’ve been a bit weirder than usual. Strange thoughts emerging as odd sentences that even make my family arch a brow and ask, “Say what, now?”
I’ll take a look at that dream log soon. I need a bit more time and sleep yet.
The last 2 nights have been fairly restful, so i came back to this blog post this morning and proofread from the beginning. I think it may not be the easiest post to follow, but i made a couple of revisions and moved some things around and hopefully it’s not completely nonsensical. It can be difficult to know if i’m making myself understood, as my brain sometimes works quite differently than other folks’ do, but i try my best.
It is a big part of why i began blogging, after all.
Y’all have a good Saturday, or whatever day, if you can.
The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
Love and Peace,