Since we are currently in the midst of mental health awareness week, I thought I would take part and add what little I can offer. I have been feeling really hopeful about finally being able to move forward with the “OverThinkers Anonymous” series, as it’s already taken me over two years to be able to work on the emotional and technical difficulties attached with this project. A HUGE goal that is driving my want to produce comics is to not only bring attention to, but also to learn even more about the simple and complex issues that plague us.
Dream Anxiety: This is a topic that I find interesting, not just because of personal experience, but also because it has taught me so much about the strange and mysterious world of the brain, dreams, it’s and processing/coping mechanisms. For the last year and half, I have been experiencing an interesting sleep life, we’ll say. Ever since I forced myself to commit to facing my fears and anxieties (regarding common interactions such as going to the grocery store… talking to people without shaking… standing too long at the checkout stand without sweating…) my tensions have been expressed in my sleeping life instead of my waking life. Even though while awake, I felt as though I could play a pretty good game of pretend, as soon as I would fall asleep it would all come rushing back. I would (and still do from time to time) wake up 8 to 10 times a night in a full sweat. This morning actually, I woke up sweating about how I was experiencing dream anxiety in my dream… that was a new one. There is some irony in all of this- up until just a couple years ago, I used to only be able to sleep every other night due much in part to my anxieties. These days I almost wish that I could just sleep every other night- back then I’d fall into such a deep stupor when I finally would fall asleep. I would turn into a dead, heavy log- few things could disturb me.
For the first full year after I started experiencing this, I would dream over and over again, that someone was trying to talk to me. Or I’d be at a party where people would be trying to talk to me. Someone was trying to find me- to talk to me. I’d be obliging- nervously. Or I’d be running. Or at work trying to make everyone happy. My brain would focus of a specific topic regarding my social inabilities until I faced the issue in real life. Then it would move onto another similar topic until I learned to face that issue. This pattern continued repeatedly until finally now, partially out of exhaustion from sleep deprivation, but also out of exhaustion from being mentally pushed constantly by my own brain, I can finally be around people and really, give no fux. Most of the time.
To be clear, this is not a plea for pity. It is just a small attempt to help others understand that just because something is cool or fun for you, it may not be the same for someone else. I wish I could enjoy dreaming. I used to wish I could dream more or remember my dreams more- but as they say, be careful what you wish for. We all struggle in our own ways, and I myself, am still learning to truly understand and respect the difficulties of others that differ from my own.
If any of you have experienced anything similar (or different!) I’d love to share notes or questions, and learn more about brains and being human!
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