Last night I dreamed of emotional anguish; my sleeping head was full of terror and suffering. I had come home from British Columbia and kept looking up at the vast blue beautiful sky. I would say, “the sky is so blue today” and someone would respond “no, Shannon, the sky is yellow – it always has been”. I felt so confused why I was viewing things differently than everyone else. I would see a dog and say, “oh, look at that brown dog!” and would immediately be told the dog wasn’t brown, but black. Eventually the people around me in my dream told me I was schizophrenic and that I needed help.
I was so afraid. I thought I had come so far – why was a suffering yet another mental illness? I kept trying to wake up, kept telling myself it wasn’t real, kept pinching my arm and nothing would happen. I was trapped in this dream with my loved ones telling me I was ill.
I woke up in a panic, gasping for air, tears streaming down my face, sheets soaked in sweat. It was a dream. Thank-you, it was just a dream.
The dream kept re-occurring through the night, and I continued to wake up fighting for breath. It was a sleepless night to say the least.
But what does the dream mean? Maybe it means that I’m not the same person who left six weeks ago, and that now I have a different perspective on life. This doesn’t mean that anyone elses’ perspective is wrong, but mine has shifted. It’s hard to explain. I see the world in a different light. I see more beauty each day, and more kindness in people. I see more hope for the world, and I feel hope for myself. I’m moving further away from the sick girl who cried herself to sleep every night for months, and I’m growing like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Of course the butterfly will see the world differently than the caterpillar did – she is a different creature now.
The dream was powerful. It rattled me to the core. But there is always another way to look at a situation.
I’d like to leave you with this poem (I might have even posted it before, but it’s one of my favourites!)
The Guest House – A Poem
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.