I have been gripped the last few nights by a singularly bad dream I allowed to harrow me. The way it took over was when I'd fall asleep I would be under the impression I was watching a movie, and these were its terms, this was what was in the movie. Why I had to watch it I cannot say, perhaps a reflection of the book project I've been submitting myself to for a couple of years now, and at least 2 and 1/2 summers. This morning when I awoke I was still in its terrible plot and it seemed the movie was coming to an end, when I realized there was no such movie. I felt intense relief. I didn't have to finish it.
My guess is I have been able to throw it off because I slept 6 hours and was more rested than I've been for several 24 hour periods we call days. For about a week now I've been able to stay sleeping only 3 and one half hours at most. It didn't matter when I went to bed, I could not sleep longer. Stay up to do a blog and go to bed at 2 am and I'd wake at 5; go to bed at 11:30 and I'd wake at 3. I would get out of the bed and read in order to calm myself, using comfort books, books that absorbed my mind, then back to bed for a half hour's doze. But it was not enough, for whenever we'd go out to a play or sung event (opera) I'd fall asleep and be half sleeping for at least the first half. Yesterday I could not read the Graham book I was on (Four Swans), one I like very much and is enormously readable for me. I was just too tired. I tried little snacks to keep myself going (a piece of fruit, a piece of cheese) or coffee, and I did manage somehow but it was tough. Finally last night I went to bed at 10:30 and have slept until about 40 minutes ago, about 6 hours; I also laid in the bed for another half hour before getting up and it was 10 minutes ago I realized what I had been shaken was just a dream. Not real. I didn't need to do this.
I also didn't admit to myself how much it was shaking me. I must've steeled myself to endure it. i don't know why I do these things to myself. Probably I was only able to sleep 3 hours in a row because to endure this dream for longer than that (the rem periods during the three hours) was too much for me, too distressing and I'd wake.
What a relief. Maybe I'll return to sleeping better now. Usually - or for a number of weeks at a time, I can sleep say 5 to 6 hours a night. I can free myself of dreams by remembering them as I rise from the state of sleep-dreams. Sometimes what happens is I fall asleep again and find that instead of being at its center, I am watching someone else having this emotional torture, but then my mind becomes aware that I am fighting a dream by this displacement. I wake and am freed.
What was it? I can scarcely say.It is partly gone from me. I become breathless as I realize this. It had to do with this theme of friendship that I trouble myself over. The last thing I can remember is I'm standing on top of this mountain and could jump off. That would be suicide because I would tumble so deep down into one of these caverns of rocks that one sees in movies. But I don't jump. I see a friend or someone walking not far off and call to him (he has someone with him,just in front, smaller than he) and, while most reluctant and irritated, he comes over and helps me down. There are a group of houses not far off; they are arranged like a college campus,and it's the state of Virginia. I wish I could be elsewhere but this is where I have to be and I do accept it more or less. The houses are not bad; they are clapboard. Maybe there is some tasks I have to get through, rather like some woman at the center of mythic stories. Each time it involves other people and is so tough to do, and each phase I've managed to get through, just.
I cannot remember more just now but I will try over the course of today's light. (It's not light yet, the sky is still that awful pitch black I so detest waking with during the dark mornings forced on us by the extension of "daylight savings" [I wish I could think of a better term for this cruelty] into October and November in the fall. I know the obvious interpretation will be that I was teaching, telling myself how much I had come to hate my book, had not succeeded in writing something with an overarching trajectory that anyone else would see as something they want to know but rather a series of obsessive re-readings of a group of movies compared to one another but I do think that's superficial. The outline is that but not the content. I realize the man I call to could be the Admiral and we did have a sort of satisfying conversation over the long hard year I've endured this past year that at least made the terms of it less hard to bear,but he did not free me of this plot. Similarly the place could be Virginia and how I long to return to NYC, but when I'm sane I don't as I surmise my longing here is a variant on Chekhov's Moscow to Chekhov's characters. Were we to move, we would not find a world of friends or associates to belong to; we would be in more crowds of impersonal associates probably. I would not be able to replace my job and its very real satisfactions. We'd have less money. We'd have to live in a much smaller place whose space we could not control the way we do this.
The place I can't escape is rather my life. The man at the end of the dream is another of several figures I appeal to or interact with. They count too and he is a variant on them. Why I have to set forth and what I do is the question. I can't reach it just now. It could be it's about the efforts I have made for the last 7 months to do something for Yvette and have failed and failed and failed; there is no help out there that is effective, only pretenses and lies by people whose salary such lies depend upon. It may be my dream told me to stop killing myself.
More narrowly, it could equally be I'm glad we've stopped going to these Aspergers dinners and now extra-curricular trips. I see from the listserv there's two more "extra" ones planned, one the National Book Festival (this is a event that occurs on the mall where people who sell books put them on bulks and stalls in the mall and others wander about looking at these and maybe make contacts? who knows), and the other at the Zoo. We didn't go to that Boat Ride whose aftermath (the vaguely indicated dinner or snacks out together) had caused me such anxiety. It could just as equally be this. I'm sort of relieved because there was something that did bother me about the experiences: a group of mostly men I don't know anything for real about. What am I doing there with them? and nothing emerges. It might be it is this way for Alcoholics Anonymous and other such support groups. I don't know.
The thing that is funny to me is that I believed it was a movie, that I had this movie I had to watch and it was that my cunning enemy (profound depression) used against me. How easy it is for my enemy to think these things up, but I've got this one and it won't do any more. If I fall asleep and think to myself I've got to go through this movie, then my mind will know it's a dream from the get-go the way I do when I manage to wrest myself out of the center of some of these nightmares and that then tells me I have succeeded in throwing the the claws off.
The burden of this dream is at least is gone. I've slept 6 hours and more. And gentle reader, I did it without any pills. I do have a bottle of fiornal and one of restoril Dr Villafuerte supplies me with but I know if I take one the sleep I get (and I do get it, it works, a fuel comes across my mind and shuts it down) when I wake I'm groggy for hours, half head-achy and I feel for certain that had I done this last night I would not have had the clarity and strength to recognize that I was being tortured by just a dream.
Oh what a relief. I'm just so relieved. I feel lighter.
A little later: I feel a headache coming on, reaction formation so I had better leave this alone for a few hours and go read now. It's still dark though I begin to hear sounds of morning (slight bird sounds, insects, a pulsing outside the window). Or maybe I should just return to bed, rest, and then up to a book.