One thing they tell you when you’re pregnant, is to prepare for really strange, lucid dreams. Well, the midwifery industry has clearly never encountered many really anxious people before, because that’s nothing new for me!
Last night was a terror. The combination of pain, medication, missing out on fun in the gorgeous unseasonal sunshine with my family and going stir crazy in the house resulted in, at least what always feel like, a full night of anxiety dreams.
University is often my brains go-to anxiety dream. It’s never my actual uni campus or house, always different ones my brain invents. Sometimes my real uni friends are there, sometimes not. But it’s always the same narrative – I have to get to class but I don’t know my schedule; term is starting but I have nowhere to live; I have to hand in an essay but not only have I not written it, I don’t know what the topic is, or even what subject I’m studying.
Last night, I was trying to find the campus and there were no signs (except one to New Zealand?!) and no one to help – eventually a woman huffily told me that my building “was at the northern point of the main diamond”, which of course was no use to me at all.
I’m sure a psychiatrist would interpret repeated and unresolved feelings of being unprepared, out of my depth, alone.
University was a difficult time for me. I had some of the most wonderful experiences there and made life long friends. But it was also where I was often at my worst – the three years were framed with terrible depression, an eating disorder and repeated self-destructive behaviours.
I think that’s why, every time I’m stressed, tired or nervous, my brain goes back there. If I’m feeling sensitive, I might say my brain is being cruel, adding insult to injury. But maybe, just maybe, it’s trying to help me out, by reminding me of just how far I’ve come.