What If It’s All Just a Dream?

 

Do you remember the above scene from that famous movie, over 70 years ago? I was nine years old when I was in my elementary school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz”. I was in the chorus, and each time a musical number was performed, I was there with the rest of my choir mates providing additional vocals to make the music resonate throughout our auditorium. During scene changes, we were what held the audience’s attention. It was such a great feeling. Ever since then, “The Wizard of Oz” has held a special place in my heart. Not just due to the nostalgic memories of my school’s production, but also due to the meaning behind the movie. A movie about the happiness of just being home with family and friends, and most of all, the love that exists between them.

I remember watching that film often as a child, but I don’t recall my reaction to the first time I saw its ending. The fact that the entire movie takes place in a dream is something that has a great power to it. I’m not sure why exactly, but I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. Maybe my attraction is a result of their unknown origins (scientists still don’t know why we dream). Or, maybe it’s due to the fact that they exist in our minds in such a real state, until we wake up and realize otherwise. Whatever the reason, I just know that the subject of dreams has gripped my attention for as long as I can remember.

Since my diagnosis in 2009, I’ve often wondered if maybe this is all a dream. I’m pretty sure I’ve let go of all denial that I had in the beginning, and that this is just a thought that doesn’t want to leave my mind. But, then again, if I’m in denial I guess I wouldn’t really know that for certain, right? But, I think that after my psychiatrist gave me my final confirmation of my diagnosis, that I finally lost all denial. But, it appears that as much as I’d like to think otherwise, that confirmation hasn’t stopped me from wondering if this is all a dream from which I will someday wake up.

The thought has gone through my mind that maybe ten years ago I got into a car accident and I’ve been in a coma ever since. That all of this that has happened has just been a figment of an overactive imagination lost in a state of deep sleep. What if I’m in a hospital somewhere and I’ll wake up someday and realize that none of this has happened; that my life is just where it was ten years ago, before the accident? I don’t remember any accident. I don’t remember any traumatic experience, but I guess you don’t remember that kind of stuff in a coma. I’ve seen those stories before of someone who comes out of a coma after many years, and they don’t even realize time has passed. Could that be what’s going to happen to me?

I’m not saying that I really believe that, but I guess there is a part of me that must think it’s really possible, since that thought doesn’t seem to ever go away. Maybe that’s why my fascination with dreams has only increased since my diagnosis. Maybe it’s my comatose brain trying to tell me to wake up and see this all for what it really is… a bad dream. A nightmare.

Am I in the Twilight Zone?

One of my favorite television shows is the classic 1950s “The Twilight Zone”. My dad loves that show and I grew up watching it on TV whenever he would have those awesome reruns playing. Every year, I look forward to watching the marathons that the Syfy Channel has over the Fourth of July and New Year’s holidays.

Well, one of my favorite episodes is called “The Hitch-hiker.” The story centers on a young woman, named Nan Adams, making a cross-country trip to visit her mother. However, after a flat tire delays her journey, she begins to see a strange and ominous man watching her. Whenever she sees him, he has his thumb out in the universal hitchhiking pose. As she continues on her way to her destination, Nan is terrified of this small and shabbily suited man watching her at various points in her journey. Each time Nan passes him the man stands in his hitch-hiking pose, as if saying with just his body language, “Going my way?” Nan always continues on in fear.

Finally, after she can’t take it anymore, she makes a stop one night at an out-of-the-way phone booth (this large box in which you have to actually stay corded to a phone… trippy eh?). Well, she gets on the phone and calls her mother’s house, when this unknown older woman answers. Nan asks for her mother by name, Mrs. Adams. The older woman then states that Mrs. Adams is ill. Nan then gets worried and says that her mother was fine when last they spoke, and so she wants to speak to her. The older woman then tells Nan that Mrs. Adams suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of her daughter. Nan looks perplexed upon hearing this news. “Her daughter? What do you mean the death of her daughter?” she asks the woman. Then, the woman on the phone says, Mrs. Adams’ daughter was killed after losing control of her car from a blown out tire.

Nan walks away from the phone, both stunned and in disbelief. She has a look of vacancy in her face. Her voiceover can be heard narrating her thoughts as she slowly walks back to her car. She states that she has no more fear. She doesn’t really feel anything anymore. Nan then sits behind the steering wheel and adjusts her rearview mirror. The old and ominous man pops up in the reflection of the back seat. And, the episode ends with the man’s words, “I believe you’re going my way.”

That episode still gets me, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. It’s got a great ending, and it fits into my dream issue. Nan had no idea that she was dead. She was walking, talking, and feeling just like a living human being. She had no inclination that she was just denying death’s claim on her the whole time. So, what if that’s the case with me? What if it’s worse than just a coma-like nightmare, and I’m really dead, but just haven’t realized it yet?

But, if That’s the Case…

That makes me sad, more than scared. As I’ve said before, I’m not afraid of death itself, just the feeling of dying. But, this thought makes me sad because it means that everything that I have known to be true from the last ten years has never really happened. All of the relationships that I’ve formed these last years, and all of the positive events that I have experienced are just a figment of a brain that has blown its last fuse. That saddens me. I don’t want that to be true. I don’t want all that I’ve known these last years to be just a dream or something worse.

I guess that says something… something good. I think I’m in an ok place right now with my moods. I’m pretty stable right now. Not great, but not bad either. I know that I’ll teeter-totter back into one extreme or another again, but right now I’m ok. And, that’s all that I can really expect with this. I take it day-by-day, and some of those days are good, while others are not. These last years have sucked. Yeah, I know, I could probably find a better word to express myself, but guess what. I don’t care. It has sucked, and royally at that. But, as bad as it’s been, I think that it’s a good thing that I feel saddened when I think of possibly losing these last ten years. Through all of the bad, there have been really good times too. I’ve met new friends. New family members have been born and I can’t imagine my life without those little ones. I love them all… family, friends, all of them! Moments from the last ten years that I’ve shared with my loved ones have made an impact on me, and I don’t want to lose them.

So, maybe this has all been part of one long dream and I will wake up someday and realize that these last ten years never happened. Or, maybe I’ll see a shabbily suited man sitting in my back seat, informing me that I have indeed been going his way.

If those are my choices, then I’d rather be dead. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I have my reasons. If I am in a dream, then that means I’ll wake up and lose all that I’ve known these past ten years. That would hurt in such an unbelievable way. Whereas if I’m deceased, then although this has been me just walking through the motions of denial of that death, it would mean that I would wake up in a better place. No pain will exist, because no pain can exist in this place. And, I will be able to appreciate the good times that I thought I was having, since where I’m headed next is even better. Those good experiences (make-believe or not) gave me pleasure and enjoyment, and filled my life with love and happiness. And, what about the struggles and pain that have resulted from the bipolar, anxiety, and OCD? Well, when I walk through those gates into Heaven someday, I know that all of that will be gone. Mental illness does not exist in Heaven. But, all of the joys and peace do. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. I must keep reminding myself of that.

Heaven is the ultimate dream, and it’s one from which we can rest assured that we’ll never wake up.

Here’s Another Wrinkle for Your Brain

I’ll end this post with a fun fact (possibly). Have you ever wondered what dogs dream? As a child, I wondered this all of the time. Ok, I still do. Well, one day as a kid I read somewhere that if you want to discover what your dog dreams, then you only need a doggie pillow, and a bag of potato chips. You place a single potato chip under the doggie pillow where your dog sleeps at night. Then, the next night you put that same potato chip under your own pillow. You will then dream the exact dream that your dog dreamt the night before. I always wanted to try that with my dog as a kid. I thought it would be so awesome to discover what went on in his head. My mom said it wouldn’t work, though. I asked her why. She said, “He’s just going to eat the potato chip.”

How many potato chips does it take to get to the center of a dog’s brain?

“The world may never know.”

 

5 thoughts on “What If It’s All Just a Dream?

  1. Pingback: Why Does the World Keep Ending? « My Bipolar Bubble

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  3. That was my first thought, too: The dog would sniff out the potato chip and eat it!! 😀 I had a wonderful dog, Max, and I loved to watch him dream. My sister once said when she was visiting us, “He’s chasing rabbits,” because his legs would move and his nose would twitch. I countered with, “He’s never seen a rabbit in his entire life. He loves me more than anyone else and I think he’s dreaming of us playing together!!” I still believe that!!

    I love the way you write!! I’ve started with your first post and I’m working my way through. Although I’m much older than you are and I’ve (obviously) been ill for longer, we share some of the same illnesses and have experienced some of the same things, yet we’re completely different in our experiences (as you mentioned in a previous post.) It’s, well I hate to use the word “fun” because that’s not right, yet “interesting” sounds so boring, so I’m not really sure word exactly applies, but it is good to read what you’ve gone through. As I said it’s different, yet it also takes me back in time and I can remember what certain “first” things felt like. It’s also fascinating to see your reaction (again not a word that I really want to use, because it sounds like I’m watching someone in an experiment and I don’t mean it like that at all!!) while I remember mine. It’s obvious we come from completely different backgrounds yet we share life-changing things in common: We believe in, believe, love and worship Jesus, the Christ and we have mental and emotional illnesses that have totally changed the plans we had set for our lives. Out of these two commonalities comes our struggles to find out how God wants us to live our lives for Him with these illnesses and the question of how do we get through each day with Him never giving up faith, hope, joy, endurance and perseverance — the last two that I have come to see in my life these past few years are the most important to achieve and hang on to for me. I’ve sampled various blogs, once I found people who found my blog I wanted to check them out, which led, if I liked their blog, to seeing who they followed, etc. I’m very picky, I guess, ’cause I just haven’t found many I want to follow — yet — but that’s another subject. What I’ve found a lot of these bloggers with mental and emotional illnesses asking is, “Would I want to give up this illness/these illnesses if I had the opportunity?” I don’t know what your answer would be, but mine would be, “No way!!” Once I was properly diagnosed, I realized I’ve had this illness since about the age of 9. It got out of control a few weeks before I turned 36. I have a theory on why it started and I know for certain why it got out of control. What I also believe with all my heart is that God could never had taught me all that He has taught me and brought me into such an intimate relationship with Him that I never even knew existed were it not for these illnesses!!! Do I like having these illnesses? No way!! No one in their right mind (pun intended) would!! However I do like how God has turned them around for my good and His glory!!

    That’s why I write!! That’s what I believe God wants me to do on His behalf as He gives me the words and the forum to reach out to others that He can minister to!! I think at this point in my life this is the reason I am still alive and here on this planet!!

    Kathy

    • Aww, I really like your view of what your dog Max was dreaming. That’s a really cute and sweet thought. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your comment and following my blog. I appreciate your interest and that you’re getting to know my blog! I know what you mean about learning about people and how we can relate. It’s a strange sense of comfort to know that someone else understands what we experience. It’s not that we want others to have the struggles and feel the pain too, but it helps to know that we’re not alone in what we feel and deal with.

      That’s interesting that you have realized that you have had the illness since childhood. I’ve often discussed this with my therapist and psychiatrist. As I have learned more about the illness and especially how it presents itself in children, I can’t help but think that I too was already showing signs as a young child. I can’t pinpoint an age, but the thought is in my mind that I’ve had it for much longer than I initially realized.

      You also bring up a very good point. You say that you would not want to give up the illnesses. I’ve thought about that too before, and I feel the same way as you do. I wish I did not have them. If at birth I could have chosen to have them or not in my life, then I would have of course chosen the “no” answer. But, since I have not had the choice and have now lived with them for so long, I feel that to lose them would be even more detrimental than to keep them. They have become a part of me. They are not who I am, but the are indeed a part of me, and they have shaped who I am as a person today. I may not like everything about myself, but there are some things I do like. My creativity is something that immediately comes to mind. People can be creative without bipolar of course, but I’ve noticed from my reading about the illness, that a huge percentage of bipolar sufferers have a great amount of creativity too. I don’t know if my creativity would be existent without it or not, but I definitely wouldn’t want to take the chance of losing that. And, that is only one example. I feel God has chosen me to walk this path. I wish I knew why, but hopefully He will reveal the answer in time. My personality has been shaped by it, and if I lose it, maybe I’d become someone I don’t like. Or that it would change my identity in too extreme of a way. This point you bring up is a great one and definitely one that makes someone think. I love too that you write because you feel that is what God wants you to do. When I began this blog, I didn’t know where He was taking me, but I felt deep inside that it was something He wanted me to do. I just didn’t know why. I never imagined that six months later, I would be where I am today with my blog. It has been such a positive experience, and one that I am so glad I chose to follow.

      Thank you again, Kathy. I look forward in continuing to get to know you through your blog too. 🙂

      Summer

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