I Dream of [not Jeannie]

GhoulsI decided to have a little nap after I got off work on Thursday — just long enough to get through the evening without feeling like I was dragging my ass, I thought. But my “D-induced” short fuse ensured that it didn’t turn out to be a restful nap.

In addition to having my brother and sister-in-law visiting for a few days earlier in the week (that was the good part), I have had several repairmen come to my apartment to look after sundry problems (that was the bad part). Also, since July 1, I have new neighbours directly above me — an East Asian family with at least 2 if not 3 small kids. Plus, the beginning of the past week was hot and humid, so I kept the air conditioning running in my office despite it being noisy and leaving me feeling drained (with headache) by the end of the day, as somehow that’s still better than feeling drained from oppressive heat and humidity.

So, I went for my nap around 5:00 and fell asleep pretty quickly, which was a sure indicator that I needed it. However, clearly the sound of the kids running above me filtered into my dream and my frustration about being stuck with living in an apartment building. For at one point, I dreamt that I got up and went upstairs to try to reach a compromise with my neighbour. When I knocked on the door, it opened. Inside I saw the parents to my left, sitting on a couch in the living room, letting the kids go amuck, while to my right I saw the little demons kids running into a bedroom and jumping on the bed. Upon which I screamed, “Okay, that’s it for tonight. No more!” And then I ran back downstairs to my apartment and quickly slammed the door, as if I were being chased by someone.

But my apartment door wouldn’t close; it was being forced open by a bunch of male and female ghouls/goths, who finally stormed into my apartment and started telling me off for being out of line for what I had just done. Uncharacteristically for me, I started not only telling them off myself but also hitting them, dousing them with pitchers of water that mysterious got placed into my hands, then hitting them with the pitchers. However, they continued to talk back to me, insisting not only that I had been out of line earlier but also that my behaviour towards them was further evidence of my being out of control. What’s worse, their claims resonated in me; I felt that what they were saying was true, but that only made me angrier and more violent towards them.

I woke up abruptly from my dream, most likely the result of a particularly loud thud coming from upstairs, and I felt just disgusting and awful. I don’t hit people in real life, and only rarely do I fly off the handle. And if I do fly off the handle towards someone, it’s because I’ve been pushed beyond the edge. The reason I emphasize “towards someone,” it’s because I recognize that I do have a very short fuse these days but I don’t let anyone see it. That’s the reason why I avoid driving these days: for fear of engaging in road rage.

On the one hand, I’m no expert on dream analysis and, on the other, I don’t like reading too much into dreams. However, it seems rather transparent to me that I’m feeling locked in and powerless, not to mention guilty. I’ve come to understand that this feeling of guilt, though irrational, stems from the need to take care of myself before others. I know in my mind that it’s wrong to feel guilt about this need, but emotionally I feel that I’m being selfish — hence the guilt. It’s all very crazy-making to say the least.