Living in a Fantasy World

 

For the past week, I’ve been pretty distant from my blog. I’ve been debating about writing on a topic that I’ve wanted to share, but have not had the courage. It’s not anything negative. As a matter of fact, it’s something quite positive in my life, but it’s also something about which I feel quite ashamed and embarrassed. What I’m referring to is my fantasy world. I’m not really sure how to start this off or how to even explain it well, but I’m going to try my best to give an understandable description.

It’s More Than a Bedroom

When I go into my fantasy world, I’m somewhere that doesn’t exist. A place that somewhere may be real, but does not exist in the life that I live. However, it exists in my mind. When I enter my fantasy world, my mind takes real life experiences, and molds them into a brand new one. The people in my life become mere characters in my world, saying and doing what I want. Their personalities unfold into images in my mind that play before me like life itself. Everything that exists inside of them – their personalities, attitudes, and values – are laid out in my mind. I take all of that information, and create something new with it. I create a world where people know what I really am, and aren’t afraid of it. I live in that world and it feels good. It feels pleasurable and real. I know that doesn’t make sense to the average person, but it’s clear to me.

My bedroom is more than just a place for being alone; it’s a place for make-believe. It’s a world of its own that no one would ever know existed. To everyone else, it’s a bedroom, with all the makings of such an environment. But, oh what people don’t see. How can they not see it? How can all of that beauty, peace and enjoyment, escape their narrowed sight? For me, it’s not a bedroom. For me it is a salvation on this planet. I believe that there is an eternal salvation awaiting me when I die. But, as I live on this planet, in this life, my bedroom is an earthly salvation. It’s the place where I can enter the world that exists in my mind… the very mind that God has given me. Therefore, if God has given me this mind, which gave birth to my fantasy world, then it must be an earthly salvation. A place to which, for hours on end, I can escape from the invisible real-life force in my brain that continuously drags me down. Unless, I’m just crazier than I realize.

The Double Exposure

People just don’t understand. I’ve seen kids playing within their imaginations. They physically live in the world around them, but their minds are elsewhere. That’s what it means to be a kid. To often live in a make-believe world of your own, as you gain your bearings in the real one around you. But, then it’s supposed to end, right? The real world takes over and you’re left with just that… the real world. Our fantasy worlds disappear, along with the happiness and comfort that accompanied them throughout childhood. However, that doesn’t happen for everyone. I’m one of those people who has never lost my fantasy world. It’s in my mind, body and soul. It’s a part of who I am; yet no one ever sees it. Unlike creators of theater, movies, and music, my worlds are hidden from the rest of society. It is a shameful place. After all, I’m not a kid anymore… I shouldn’t still be living in my imagination. But, there’s a problem with that assessment, ‘cause well, I am living in my imagination during these times.

The average person might think I was completely out-of-touch with reality, if he or she caught me. That very moment when the world around me blends into another time and place is when I am most gone. Therefore, it’s also then that I’m most vulnerable. My physical self is present, but not my mind. My mind is somewhere far away. It’s what I call the double exposure moment… the point when the real world and fantasy world blend together to create a whole other time, place, and atmosphere. My bedroom is no longer my bedroom. It is a theater. The performance world is where my fantasies take me most often. Broadway musicals to be more exact. My full-sized bed suddenly becomes the orchestra, mezzanine and balcony seats that stretch to the back of a large theater, complete with lobby and entrance. The rest of my room becomes both the stage and the backstage, with my mind switching from one setting to the next without any hassle or second thought. I move from stage, to the seats, to the backstage, and into the lobby… all in the small vicinity of my bedroom. But size does not matter in my world. In my world, I can move about my small bedroom, with freedom. There are no obstacles, because my mind does not see them. Objects in my bedroom that should be obstacles instead become objects inside my fantasy world. The edge of my bed becomes the edge of a row of seats. I don’t see a bed. I see an aisle, and it’s clear as day.

How Can No One Else See It?

It’s so real. It’s so amazingly exciting. The audience. The voices of all the men, women and children resonate across the theater, as they sit in anticipation for the musical to begin. My family and friends are sitting front and center, eagerly chatting amongst themselves as they await the rising of the curtain. I see my family talking with my friends. They are discussing how exciting it is that I will be onstage. My family whispers to themselves how they cannot believe, “Summer, of all people, is going to be performing onstage.” I look out from backstage, anxious and excited to show them all that I can do. I look at the strangers, whom I’ve never met, yet whose faces are clear and detailed. I wonder what they will think of me. The theater lights start to dim, bringing a hush over the crowd. A friendly voice speaks to the crowd from beyond their sight, informing them of the final theater rules about phones and cameras. The orchestra then begins to play the overture. The show is about to begin.

The curtain rises, and the cheers rise with it. “That’s Summer! That’s Summer!” My family and friends whisper in excitement. My heart quickly races. It’s so real. It’s so very real. I can actually feel the nervousness. I feel the bright lights beating down on me. I look out at the sea of faces staring back at me, with eyes filled with hope that they will be entertained. And then, it is show time. My cast-mates and I begin, and that whole world of auditions, rehearsals, the make-up, the wardrobe… now all of it comes together. The show is now underway.

Yet, no one else sees it. It does not exist for anyone, but me. It causes me such pleasure, happiness, and relaxation, though. I feel good about myself. I actually am someone in my world. I’m not a loser. I’m not a pathetic waste of space. I’m not alone in my world. In the real world, I’m alone. I’m not alone physically, but mentally, I’m all by myself. But, in my fantasy world, I am not alone. I am someone with a purpose, with a meaning, and with something to show for myself. I’m more real in my fantasy world, than in the life that exists outside. My post on How Gaming Saved My Life discussed how gaming gave me a purpose and a place where I could belong. Well, my fantasy world is my own “gaming” world that I create in my head. However, it isn’t a game. It’s very real. It’s more like an alternate universe of living.

For this reason, it’s jarring to be suddenly removed from that fantasy world. It feels like someone is physically yanking me out of my world and into his or her own. They are forcing me to leave the world where I exist, and live in the world in which they are able to successfully survive. But, they don’t care. They don’t care, ‘cause they don’t know. They can’t know. Even if I tell someone I know what I see, that person still cannot know. It is impossible for that person to understand, because he or she cannot see it with his or her own eyes. Therefore, I would purely be seen as “crazy”, if I told someone.

 

What Does It Feel Like?

I wish there was an easy way to explain it. I wish I could find that perfect combination of words and phrases that can describe what it’s like to exist in a world that’s not real. Even more so, I wish I could find that perfect way to describe how it feels to want to go there, and never leave.

The best that I can do is to compare it to being a child who knows he or she is about to head to an amusement park. That feeling of excitement knowing that the day is going to be filled with fun and thrills. The enjoyment the child feels as he flies through the air on roller coasters, or the smile that’s glued to his face after winning a stuffed animal. The feeling of accomplishment for finally daring to get on that ride that his big brother always teased him about. It’s a sign that he’s growing up. He sees himself as finally stepping up that ladder in life. He’s no longer a little boy… he’s getting older, and has taken that next step toward becoming a full-functioning member of society, by denying his fears and taking a chance. He’s someone special in that park. Every so often, as he defies gravity soaring high over the park on rides, he catches a glimpse of the real world continuing beyond its walls. He doesn’t look, though. He turns his eyes away, because that world is not his. That world is unwanted and needs to stay as far away from his mind as possible. He manages to keep it at bay.

But, then it’s time to leave.

It’s that time when the day has come to an end. He’s not ready for it to be over. He wants to stay. The walk back to the car is the worst. The real world is becoming ever more present, as the laughter and screams of those still on the rides pierce the night’s sky from behind. The boy turns around. He looks at the lights that illuminate the park in the evening, and he wishes he were one of those people still enjoying his time. He turns back around, continuing his walk to the car with his family, who seem to enjoy the fact that the long day is over. The real world awaits them, and they’re content and at ease with that. Even his older brother can’t wait to go home. But, not the young boy, he wants to stay. He listens as the park’s sounds grow ever so distant behind him, and as the quiet suddenly engulfs his head when the car doors slam shut.

His parents are talking softly, and his older brother is just checking his phone. But, not the young boy… he continues to yearn for the clock to turn back to when he and his family first arrived at the park. The car pulls out and makes its way out of the parking lot, while the whole time, the young boy’s head is turned in the direction of the lights and high roller coasters that reach far above the walls surrounding them. He struggles to keep any sight that he can in his view. He holds onto each and every image that remains in his vision as the car moves farther and farther away. He must watch it. He must keep it in his grasp as long as possible. But, unfortunately, he can’t hold onto it forever. Against his will, his family’s car passes that final landmark in the city that obscures what’s left of his day. The park is gone, and the boy is now thrust back into the real world.

Sadly, the car ride away from the park becomes my reality each time I exit my fantasy world, and it’s difficult and jarring each time. However, it’s not for the reasons that one might think.

That young boy isn’t sad ‘cause the fun and games are over. He’s sad ‘cause the world that existed behind those walls is no longer his reality. The emotions attached to all of his day’s experiences have now been taken from him once again. To his mother, father and older brother, they will regain that feeling elsewhere. Something at home, in the real world, is going to provide them with that pleasure once again. But, for the young boy, his pleasure is gone, until he can once again return to the park. Unlike his parents and brother, it’s more difficult for the young boy to reincorporate his body and mind back into the real world, because that world is foreign to him. There is no success, pleasure, or understanding out in the real world. Out there, he’s alone, as no one understands his thoughts, feelings, or actions. He’s an outcast in the real world, but in that amusement park he is a star. He’s brave, a winner, and a functioning member of society. He’s more real within those walls, than beyond them.

I was that young child. Each time we’d leave an amusement park, I would hang onto it as long as it remained in my sight. I would not look away, until I could no longer see some piece of that park’s existence.

It’s Just So Real

It’s a sad realization when the fantasy world you’re living provides more happiness and contentment than the real one that everyone else is living. It’s a lonely and confusing feeling. It’s not supposed to be like that, and you can’t understand why on earth those around you don’t feel the same way. How can they not feel the same way? They just can’t see it. They can’t see what I see. They can’t feel what I feel. They can’t understand what does not exist before them. So, once again, I’m left alone if I stay in the real world, rather than just move to my fantasy world where everyone whom I care about surrounds me. They appreciate me for who I am, and don’t look down on me. I am someone of whom they are proud, and not the failure that their real life counterparts see. I have that smile of winning a stuffed animal, each time I stand on that stage. The feeling of accomplishing the terrifying ride hits me each time I hear the applause in my head. And, that next step up the ladder of life seems to be not so difficult.

Most people will never get it. They think it’s merely daydreaming. But, it’s not. A fantasy goes beyond the realm of daydreams, the moment it becomes so real that you can see it, touch it, smell it, and feel it. The moment you can physically walk from one end of a bedroom to the next, and never see the bed or desk in your path, is the moment that a fantasy becomes more than just a daydream… it becomes a world of its own.

So many people in this world think that they know what goes on in other peoples’ heads. These individuals think that others have to see the world in a specific way… right down to imagination. We should be able to snap out of imagination as adults, ‘cause that’s what all other adults have done. Those individuals cannot fathom what it must be like to live in a world that doesn’t exist, because the world in which they live is physically and tangibly real. What these individuals can’t understand, is that my fantasy world is just as real to me. It is physically and tangibly real to me. When I touch that bed, I’m touching a front row orchestra seat. It’s real to me! It’s not anything other than that. I can look before me and I see rows of people. They are alive! They breathe, talk, laugh, cry and even think! How do I know this? I know this, because they are me… I am them.

Many of the human beings that I see in my fantasy world are people whom I love and care about, but their thoughts, actions, conversations, and emotions, come from me. I can be performing a song, and part of my brain is centered on that performance, while another part is focused on my audience’s reactions. I’m able to switch my thoughts, vision, focus, and emotions to whichever person is in my sight, and then quickly switch back to my own role in my world. It all happens so quickly, that my mind sees them all as living individuals, with independent minds of their own. And, this can go on for literally hours.

I can ache to get back to my fantasy world. As I lie down at night, I can slip into my worlds that I create outside of the performance themes. These worlds range from the simplistic to the complicated. I will fall asleep, then wake up, picking up right where I left off prior to nodding off. When I’m in a hypomanic state, then it can continue to engross my mind at almost every waking hour, making the real world fade from existence more and more, with each passing minute.

How is it possible for an imaginary world – a fantasy – to yield so much enjoyment, for so long? I wish I had the answer to that question. I think that actually may be the one missing piece that could help others to understand. For now, though, I guess the best way for me to answer that question is with another question.

Would you want to leave a world, in which your life actually exists?

 

Why Does the World Keep Ending?

 

The World Keeps Ending!

… At least in my recent nightmares. I’m not sure what’s going on, but within the last week, I have had similar world-ending (literally) nightmares for three non-consecutive nights. I’m really getting sick and tired of them, as they cause me to awaken with horrible anxiety, sweating, and I become emotionally upset.

Each one involves the same reason for our extinction… Nuclear Weapons being fired at us. I have no idea who fires the weapons, as that is never stated. It’s just known that an enemy has fired weapons at the U.S. and in turn we are firing back… hence the all out extinction of life, as we know it. I debated writing about these dreams after last weekend’s first two, because I just saw them as random nightmares. However, after having a third similar one this week, I finally just want to write about them. Hopefully, that will maybe stop me from having them? I don’t recall the third one much, just that it was about the same issue. But, the first two are still pretty clear.

So, here they go…

The First Destruction

The dream began simply, but with a sense of strange eeriness. I was out running errands as the sun went down and the sky had that twilight blue in it. It was then that I hear on the radio that we have missiles coming our way, aimed to hit and destroy the United States. I immediately start to think of my mom and realize that I need to hurry home and get to her.

Once I arrive home, I remember asking her where my dad is and she says that he’s on his way home. We’re sitting in the dark in their bedroom and they have windows that are open up to the sky. In reality, there are no windows up that high in their bedroom, but in the dream, the windows are up near the ceiling. I remember looking up and outside the windows and just waiting for my dad to come home. Suddenly, I hear my dad and other family members coming in the house so I turn my attention to the bedroom door. My dad and other family come rushing into view and are yelling, “They’re coming! They’re coming!” I then look up and out of the windows. In the sky, I see countless missiles flying overhead. I realize now that it’s happening. We’re all about to die. We all huddle together in that darkened bedroom. We’re gripped together in one huge hug, as we just hold each other and pray. The last thing that I remember in the dream is looking out the window and seeing a missile coming down in our direction.

It was then that I woke up.

I was not feeling well when I woke up. I felt scared and my anxiety was skyrocketing. I couldn’t get back to sleep for another couple of hours and just lay there thinking about the dream. It scared me so much, and I just couldn’t wait for the sun to come up.

The Second Destruction

As mentally screwing as the first dream was, it felt like a cake-walk (seriously, where does that phrase even come from?) compared to the second one a couple of nights later. I went to sleep with a horrible headache that night, which is why I think that I had the nightmare in the first place. However, once again, it was the same theme of the world ending due to nukes, so I couldn’t understand why that theme popped up, yet again.

Overall, the dream started off quite normal. It didn’t even start off as a nightmare, and it definitely did not have the usual aura of darkness, fear, and devastation that most of my nightmares – including the first dream – have had from the get go. I think that is why this one was so disturbing for myself. It seemed so innocent, but quickly turned into a horror movie. I was in our backyard, walking around. It was a beautiful and sunny morning, and the air was peaceful. I was alone and could not hear another voice within earshot, and that was nice. I liked the calmness that surrounded me. I did not have fear or anxiety in the dream.

The serenity did not last long, though. I began hearing a plane off in the distance. I walked to an area of the yard where I could see the sky more clearly beyond the trees, and there it was. A jet was wobbling from side to side and suddenly began to nosedive behind the trees that obscured my view. I could tell that it was about to crash into the next street over. However, then I see something out of the corner of my left eye. I look up and realize it’s one of the jet’s engines that had somehow made it to that side of the sky and was coming right at our street. It looked just like a jet engine, and I knew it was one in my dream. Yet, when I saw it coming toward our street, my mind did a strange visual comprehension switch and said it was a bomb that was going to explode. It was at that moment that I knew it was a nuclear bomb that was about to explode and wipe us out. I immediately turned around and quickly began running back toward the house. It was such a quick thought, but I went from thinking that I had to hurry and get to my mom, to thinking that it doesn’t matter, ‘cause we’re all going to be dead and together in Heaven in just a few moments.

It was then that the bomb exploded behind me. I could see the bright orange flash bounce off of the house and I felt the horrible heat on me. Then, the shockwave hit and I went flying. I remember just lying there, motionless and feeling like I was on fire. My head felt like it was going to explode (probably due to the headache that I had in real life). I began to realize that I was dying. I could feel life slipping away in the dream. I felt like I was going to sleep, but I knew it would be for the last time. As it happened, I kept trying to talk, but the words didn’t want to come out. I wanted to say, “Lord, please take me home.” I think that I was trying to talk in reality though, because all that I could get out was, “Lord”, and the rest was like trying to blow molasses out through a straw.

Once again, that’s when I woke up.

This one was so disturbing for me due to the fact that I was so close to death that time. In the first dream, I knew I was going to die, but I couldn’t physically feel it. I just saw the missiles coming and I knew that was the end. However, in this dream, I felt it. I heard the explosion, I felt the heat and fire, and I experienced the motion of having my body thrown against my will from the shockwave. And, worst of all, I felt my life slipping away. My eyes were closed and I was in complete darkness, as my life just seemed to slowly dwindle out of existence.

As I’ve said, I unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you view it – cannot remember the most recent dream. I just remember how I felt when I awoke. I remember that it was once again about nuclear weapons destroying life as we know it, but I just can’t remember any other details from it. I do recall the anxiety that I felt upon awakening, though. I was sick to my stomach again, and could not get back to sleep. Maybe I’m subconsciously blocking that dream out now, I don’t know. But, I guess it’s a good thing I don’t remember too much about it.

A strange occurrence regarding these dreams is that they all seem to happen around the same time of 3-4 in the morning. And, once I wake up from them, I’m too unnerved and upset to go back to sleep. So, I end up staying awake until 5-6am. It’s been the same exact situation for all three dreams. I find that strange. As I’ve said in previous posts, I don’t believe in coincidences, so it makes me want to figure out why that time of night has been host to these awful dreams. Anyone have any ideas or theories? I’m all ears!

As I have stated in one of my past posts, What If It’s All Just a Dream, I have always been interested in the topic of dreams. I find them fascinating at times. So, these series of dreams – as disturbing as they have been – have made me really wonder why they are happening in the first place.

Can Our Dream-Selves Die?

I just cannot seem to forget the feelings that I had in those final moments of the second dream. It all felt so real, as many dreams and nightmares do. I cannot remember where I read it, but I once read that it is impossible for us to die in our dreams. We can dream that we are getting ever so close to death, or that we are living in an afterlife, but we will never dream that we actually die. The reason, according to what I read, is that our minds can’t fathom it, since we have not experienced our own deaths. Therefore, our minds do not have that experience to create a dream scenario for it. It is said that if we die in our dreams, then that means we have died in reality (in our sleep).

Supposedly, this is merely a myth and people have reported their dream-selves indeed dying in a dream. I have always come close to death, but never reached that pinnacle point in my state of sleep. I still find the myth to be somewhat intriguing though, because it makes quite a bit of sense. But, I guess myths do, which is why they survive in the first place.

How about you? Have any of you dreamt that you’ve actually died? Have you witnessed the actual experience of living and then that life being taken away from you?

If anyone would like to share those answers, or any dreams that he or she has had, then please do so below. I’d love to read about them.

 

My Top 5 Music Choices

Aimer Shama suggested that I post my top 4-5 music picks that I really like. I love music, so this is going to be tough to narrow it down, but here it goes! If some of the links don’t play due to copyright issues, then just click the windows and they’ll pop up in a new window on youtube.

1. I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon – Ernie

Ok, so this one isn’t that tough to put as number one ‘cause it’s my all-time favorite song. I know it’s a kid’s song from Sesame Street, but it’s always had a special place in my heart since childhood. I still tear up sometimes when listening to this, depending on the mood I’m in at the time. I love it, and it speaks to the love of family and friends.

 

2. World Keeps Turning – Brett Dennen
Brett Dennen is one of my favorite artists. His music has meaning as he puts thought into every word that he writes. He’s not as well known as some of the so-called musicians of today, which is too bad ‘cause he really deserves more recognition. This song hits a chord (no pun intended) with me. For me, it’s a song about life and how struggles exist all around us and mess with our lives in often-unpredictable ways, but the world still continues to move forward.

As a side note: My dad came in the house one day after borrowing my car for a quick errand. He loves to use it for the easier parking since his vehicles are larger. He came inside the house and started humming the song for me. He asked me what it was called and who sings it, and continued to hum it so that I would know which one it is. If you knew my dad, you’d know that him humming a song isn’t something you hear everyday. He loves his music, but he’s more of a silent listener. Anyway, I told him who sang the song and what it was called and ever since he’s been a fan of Brett Dennen. I think it’s cool when you can have the same interest in music as your parents. It kind of merges the age barriers and gaps a bit.

 

3. Maybe I’ll Catch Fire (Acoustic Version) – Alkaline Trio
This song grabs me each and every time I play it. I have had this one on repeat many times, as it just gets to the very core of all of the thoughts and darkness that exist inside of me, that no one in my family or friends want to really hear. Its words are perfect for the pain and the thoughts from both the bipolar and OCD that intrude into my life all of the time. I always feel like this song was written just for me. Many people feel that way about different songs, and for me, this is mine.

 

4. The Beauty in Ugly – Jason Mraz
Another one of my favorite musicians is Jason “Mr. A-Z” Mraz. I love this song so much! It’s one of my favorites due to its message. Beauty is more than just skin deep and the world needs to realize it. As someone who has always struggled with my self-esteem and body image, I find this song so inspiring.

 

5. Dancing at a Funeral – Brett Dennen
This song is another favorite of mine. I want it to be played at my funeral. I don’t want people to remember the sadness of my funeral, but rather happiness for me finally being truly happy and at peace.

 

Henry’s Music

Have you ever wondered what causes the brain to enjoy music? Can you remember that time when a song played at just the right moment and lifted your mood? I’m not referring to the physiology or what brain scans show when someone is listening to music, although that is fascinating information to be certain. But rather, what I’m referring to is what makes music sound pleasurable to us in the first place. Sure, it triggers a part of the brain that gives us that pleasure, but why is that happening? What is the reason that some music resonates with one person, while another person will not feel anything special. Why is it that we can hear a song and it creates a feeling deep inside of us that makes everything suddenly seem ok. When that perfect song plays and your body and mind feel its pleasant rhythm, is an experience to which we can all relate.

Mathematically Confused, Bpshielsy at The Bipolar Place, and Eileen at But She’s Crazy have all recently written similar posts about this topic. You can view their posts at those links. I highly recommend you read them, as they are interesting and enjoyable reads. So, when I saw this video today, I thought that it was a great follow up to my fellow bloggers’ posts.

The video below is a short clip from an upcoming documentary called Alive Inside. It’s about music and how it affects the aging brain. It centers on various individuals who are living in nursing homes, with various degrees of memory deterioration. One such person is Henry. He’s an elderly man who usually stays silent and to himself in his wheelchair all day long. However, when music from his era is played for him, he lights up and displays a personality that is almost unrecognizable from his initial appearance.

Well, that’s all that I really need to say, as this clip will say the rest.

 

I find it beautiful how music can affect our moods and minds in a way that we can’t even fully understand. There’s something magical about that. The sudden look of awareness on Henry’s face and the almost instant happiness that is expressed in his body language just screams, “I’m alive!”

If this video proves just one thing, it’s that the elderly – no matter what ailments from which they may be suffering – are still vibrant human beings, who deserve to be treated with dignity and love. And, with that fact comes another… no matter what is going on inside of all of our brains, we all have a vibrancy that still exists. It may be hidden deep inside, but it’s there. I don’t know about all of you, but this gives me hope that my broken and malfunctioning brain still has some valuable life left in it.

Have any doubt? Turn up those speakers.