Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Anxiety dreams

Posted by Lissa on July 20, 2010

Dear Medulla Oblongata,

Sure, change makes me nervous, and sure, I’ve been thinking about animal shelters lately, but dude — there is no excuse for the bat-sh*t absurdity you just put me through.

I mean, sure, making Mike and me catch our eight foster cats and bring them to the vet is rightfully worrisome.  And tacking on the requirement that my ENTIRE FAMILY go with me was a nice touch.  Oh, and let’s not forget making me late for the appointment by 1) causing me to do my hair and makeup and THEN remember I hadn’t yet showered; 2) making me drop my selected shirt into the stream of water so that I had to pick out another one.  Those were artfully executed as well — stress-causing, but realistic enough that I didn’t know I was dreaming.  Well done!

However, there is no excuse for the weirdness that followed.  Magically increasing the number of cats from eight to about fifteen?  Not cool! Changing the vet’s office to an unholy mix of petting zoo and carnival freak show?  Not crikey, man!  The huge ants that alternately sleep and spit fire out of their arses?  Where in God’s name did you get THOSE from?  We’ll just skip right over the little reptiles with snake bodies and crocodile heads.  It’s better that way.

The grand finale of having the cats driving go-karts around a track, racing against my sprinting younger brothers — well, I refuse to dignify that freak show with any further discussion.

The bottom line is this: I use sleep for rest and escapism.  Dreams that cause me to wake up UTTERLY confused and bewildered are of no use to me.  Kindly remove the nonsensical anxiety + insanity dreams and replace them with nice rainbows and butterflies.

Or perhaps Joscelin Verreuil.

Best regards,

P.S. I’ve no idea if the medulla oblongata is the part of the brain that causes dreams, but it’s such a funny-sounding name that I can’t resist using it. More coffee, please!

One Response to “Anxiety dreams”

  1. Brad K. said


    Sometimes dreams are stimulated by various foods – peanuts and other nuts are often associated with this. Some various herbs have been known to contribute to “visions”, too. Changes in prescription or over the counter medications can be sources of some really weird dream experiences.

    When a knowledgeable horse person is grooming or otherwise working about a horse, and the horse lifts his tail and passes gas, the response of the person is often on the order of “Ah. He is just reassuring me that his digestive system is in good order. That is good to know.”

    Vivid dreams relate a lot of things, including that your metabolism is fairly well balanced – you have the energy to dream, and also to maintain a healthy, light state of sleep.

    You might try focusing and deliberately de-stressing before turning in at night – such as “nothing electronic or electric for an hour before bed.” No Kindle or other reader, no checking email, no texting. Maybe a journal entry (an essay-version of a diary) to consider and note one or two most-prominent thoughts at the moment. Let the extended sequence of the dream reassure you of continue physical and mental health.

    I ascribe to the theory that everyone in your dreams is really you, expressing some facet of relationship, of concern – of identification. You know you can’t care for every cat that needs a home. My personal view is to take full responsibility for everyone at home – that is, never bring home someone or some animal that you cannot provide adequate care for. With cats, that is a very, very small number, regardless of their apparent ability to provide for themselves. You have a wonderful companion in Rajah – there is no way to add fuzzy faces to the household, without denying him the emotional support he craves. So even though you visited the shelter at NewLissaVille – acknowledge that bringing home another cat would mean shirking part of the responsibility you exchange with Rajah. Perhaps after the move you would have time and energy to provide a good home for one more – but every relationship, even cat ones, suffers in a move. Now is not the time to worry about caring for others, until after you have again established a safe and secure home for you and those you care for. Leave the cats at the shelter to enrich the rest of their community.

    The shower sequence is likely worry about getting everything done, done well, and without wasting time, energy, and resources. Make lists of things, make ordered lists to keep track of what things need to be done in which order. Moving companies all have literature and handouts and check lists to help reduce the overwhelming mound of details to an orderly effort.

    The cats in go-carts chasing the brothers – you are worried you are identifying with the needs of cats in the shelter and abandoning your family. Neither is true. Life takes us various places; we can be further from a family member living next door than a friend across the continent. We have letters (you know, those things you write out on paper, and fold into an envelope and take to the post office and put a stamp on, and it shows up a few days or weeks later at the home of someone you care for?), and telephones, and take trips, to keep relationships alive – whether next door or several states away.

    Yes, you cuddled the waif kitten. Stop it. You have other things, things important to those you care about, to take care of first.

    And do thank your medulla oblongata for assuring you that your metabolism is in good order.

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