Gasping for air in the (sub)conscious

Life is pretty fucking insane, man.

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I’m not someone who gets really superstitious about, or obsessed with, dreams. I do not believe that my dreams secretly hold the key to me as a person, to my life, to my understanding of the future. That said, I find dream fascinating, and I do believe they can tell us humans just a little bit about what is going on below the surface of our oh-so-complicated minds. Dreams are a rare and valuable glance into the subconscious.

Early yesterday morning I had a dark, unsettling dream. “Nightmare” is an appropriate term to use in this case. This nightmare began in a large hallway, or a sort of complex of hallways. Picture a high school lobby, with a large space that eventually separates in different directions. I was standing in the middle of this hall/lobby space, surrounded by people. It was crowded, crowded to the point at which basic movements and maneuvers of the body became difficult. So many people.

It was ok, though, it was uncomfortable but safe… until suddenly it wasn’t safe anymore. A commotion erupted out of nowhere. People started to panic, they squirmed as they tried in vain to move and run. I heard shouting. Looking to my right, I saw officers of some sort rushing through the crowd. They were pushing past the panic of people, trying to get to some doors somewhere. These officers had, hoisted over their shoulders, dark and heavy body bags. The weight of the lifeless, zipped into black, moved with them. Commotion continued to evolve. People continued to panic. I panicked. I tried to push forward in the crowd. I do not know what I was attempting to reach, but I was intent on reaching it. The people around me got closer and closer, tighter and tighter, and moving became harder and harder. Suddenly bodies started to fall into me, knocking me to the ground. I tried to stay standing but could not.

The bodies were too many and too heavy, and I was too weak. I raised my hand up toward the ceiling light, somehow trying to grasp at air and freedom and life, but my hand fell, and the bodies around me closed off my window of vision. I realized suddenly that I could not breathe. I could not move. I was dying, quickly. Weakness, heaviness, darkness enveloped me.

Terror filled me. Sheer helpless terror.

“This is my last breath. My life is over. I am dead.”

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I woke up in a panic. Disoriented, I struggled to accept the reality that I was not dead or dying. Turning on my bedside lamp and taking a sip of water did not jolt me back to “life” as quickly as I had hoped they would. I was as safe as ever in my bed, in my house, in the quiet green neighborhood hidden from the highway. But the dream– the nightmare– had felt so real, perhaps more real than any dream I have ever had before.

Overanalyzing this dream will not do me any favors. That said, I think it is appropriate to make the inference that my having a nightmare of this nature, during a period of my life in which I really feel I am drowning, is not mere coincidence.

The subconscious is funny, no?

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As always,

Tanya

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