I know that I am a little early for celebrating Ground Hog’s Day but I had a repeating dream last night. I was not in a deep sleep because after the dream repeated itself I realized that I was aware of the dream and could think about it. I began thinking about the dream and trying to analyze it. I immediately thought of the movie Ground Hog’s Day because the dream would repeat itself over and over as if it were a recorded loop. After a while I decided that I had to get up and write things down if I was ever going to release myself from the grip of this dream and actually sleep. At 2:30 this morning I got up. I grabbed something to eat, made something warm to drink and sat in bed with my steno pad.
It was the kind of dream where you wake up and wonder where you are. How did you get there? What happened to the time that you are missing in your mind? I often find myself wondering where the time went. One day I am a forty-four year old woman and the next I am fifty-eight years old. I spent so much time and energy fighting constant illnesses and infections, battling allergies and sensitivities, going through surgeries, living in isolation, fighting for validation in court, and fighting for my life, that it is hard to grasp where the time went. It is as if I went to sleep young and healthy and woke up old, sick and gray. There are no major events or excursions that one might have to mark the passage of over ten years. Yes, my daughters graduated from college, one got married and grandchildren were born. Yes, I had birthdays and anniversaries but these birthdays and anniversaries weren’t really celebrated in a way that would leave a positive impression. There were no big parties to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary. I didn’t go on any big trips across country or to Europe.
This dream may have been precipitated by a book I am reading, Before I Go to Sleep: A novel. In this book the main character has had an injury that allows her to retain memory as long as she is awake but once she goes to sleep those memories are gone and she wakes to find herself in a strange place and in a body that is older than she remembers. I can sympathize with the character in this novel. There are days when I look in the mirror and wonder who the person looking back at me is.
The loss of time topic, so to speak, is a conversation I have had with others who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and other Invisible and Chronic Illnesses. We all share the same sense of loss of time. When asked how old I am, I have to think because it is hard to fathom that time went on without me fully participating in a “normal” life.
I don’t sit and bemoan this any more, but I did. It used to fill a lot of my waking hours. There are times as in last night’s dream that these questions haunt me. I realize that things happened during that time. I lived through it but there are a lot of painful and scary moments during that time that may act as a sort of amnesia and thereby leaving me with a sense of time lost.
With any luck after sitting up this morning writing in my steno pad and typing it here, that sense of loss will be gone and the woman in the mirror will feel more familiar and less a stranger.