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My Dream

January 6, 2010

My last post contained a stream of thoughts and feeling about my life situation that frequently runs through my head. As I am experiencing that thought process I believe that I have been wrongfully oppressed, harasssed by the police as a result of my family's calling them about me (sometimes without reason and other times for very valid reasons), and being forced to pretend a religious conversion to satisfy treatment professionals -- whose satisfaction I must achieve to be quite allowed to serve out my probation in the community and not in prison. All of those thoughts and feelings have some valid content.

At the same time, they fail to take into account that the first call to the police was because sue loves me and was genuinely afraid for me. She was sadly mistaken, but there is a centuries old classic bit of Shakespeare that recounted the tragic consequences of, "She loved not wisely, but too well." Shouldn't there be some major mitigation of blame for someone who sincerely believed she called 9-1-1 to protect a love she feared was in danger? The police abuse that ensued was not her intention, or her responsibility. The rage that I reacted with to that experience was most certainly understandable if one knows my history and background. My sense of betrayal at seemingly being set up for what ensued at the hands of the police by someone I felt was my trusted soulmate was devastating. Unfortunately my abusive and drunken response was equally, or perhaps, even more out of proportion than what I endured, however inappropriate that may have been. I was abusive, violent, and drunk in a manner that was hugely amplified by my Roux-en-Y gastric bypass altered gastrointestinal sytem. My two loves were legitimately frightened for themselves and me, and they sought help from the police again. Again too, the police were worse than useless, abusive, unprofessional, and ignorant ....................... but they are police. They did what police do. Ignorance and ham-handedness are their stock in trade. Then after my first imprisonment, in fully blown PTSD, I became chronically enraged, depressed, unendingly drunk, and finally alcoholically psychotic. The police were sought, in desperation, to protect my family and myself. I should certainly have been hospitalized not incarcerated, but life didn't go that way, and again, it was police who were involved -- not health care professionals or quite frankly anyone who cared what was right in the situation. It was the police. So, even as I recount my previous thought process, there is today ............... just recently, a competing thought process that runs along these lines: I was an alcoholic. In two years I underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over half my body weight (175 pounds lost) and resulted my body's ability to metabolize alcohol being degraded dramatically; I lost my 35 year career; I lost both my parents and my mother in law; I had a daughter end her relationship with me; and I came to feel like a pretty huge failure. I now know from subsequent therapy, that I had a history of childhood abuse and trauma that predisposed me to PTSD. All of this led me to behave horribly, not out of malice, or sinfulness, or character defects, but just as dangerously to my family and myself nonetheless. I needed, and need now, to not drink. I needed to be protected, and they needed protection from me. None of us needed what was done -- which made matters inestimably worse. But my feelings of being completely abused and wronged at the hands of my two loves are distorted, and those feelings deny how hurt and frightened they were, and my own responsibility for what occcurred. Those feelings also ignore and discount how lovingly and loyally my two have gone through the treatment I had to go through with me, and have listened to my endless recriminations and anger. They made mistakes in all this but certainly none more than my own. There was not one of us that was not motivated by huge love, pain, and tremendous fear. The loyalty they have shown me, despite how difficult I have been, is heroic.

This new pattern of thoughts and feelings currently co-exists in an uncomfortable disunity with the very critical, negative thought process in my previous post. Then, with all of that evolving, I had an amazingly intriguing dream. This is a transcription of my logging it yesterday morning...

So, I had this dream last night -- that left me feeling sort of "weirded out" when I awakened.

I was in a very homey, intimate restaurant. It was in the second story of an older residential home that had been renovated into a restaurant.

It was not a large place -- maybe 8 or 10 tables. Good food was served, nicely, understatedly, classily. The place was pretty much full. Other guests were quietly enjoying their food and each other. The room felt warm and convivial. Guests were into their "own thing," but also open and friendly. I think I was with sue and teresa but I am not certain. After dinner, I know we paid with a credit card.

After we left, I became aware -- I think someone else leaving, or who had eaten there before told me -- that the people who operated the restaurant were all really dead; were ghosts.

Oh yeah, there was a youngish guy who worked in the restaurant who came over to talk with me -- related to me in a very friendly way when I was still in the restaurant. I realized that he must actually have been a ghost.

I went back again; I think the next night. I don't think I was alone, but i don't recall any other "actors" in my party either. As I ate there, and I think drank, the young man I'd talked with the night before came over and talked with me. We were very friendly and small talk-ish -- and then I told him I knew he was dead, and was a ghost, as were all his colleagues. He acknowledged that and seemed to not be disturbed or unhappy I knew their secret. He confirmed for me that the food and drink I was eating, or had previously eaten, was not real, and that my meal's payment was pretend as well.

He had me stay after closing in the restaurant. His family (I don't know if they really were relatives or just family-like) all came out into the living room and were all "hanging out" together after the work day. They became aware I knew they were all ghosts, and felt no need to maintain their facade. We all related like social friends. I was relating mostly to my new young friend and an older black man (ghost) who had worked in the kitchen. Suddenly, at one point, the older man looked sort of dizzy or disoriented and said, "Oh no, I am clouding." His head dissolved into mist and then disappeared altogether. he wrapped a white towel around where his head had been and moved about the living room and in and out of the surrounding rooms sort of randomly or hysterically. Then, suddenly, he flung himself through a second story window, right by where he and I had been sitting, and crashed to the earth, as in a suicide. He didn't move again, although I knew if I came back to the restaurant, he would be there again.

Then, I was outside the restaurant and I met people on the street whom I didn't know who were headed into the restaurant. I told them it was an interesting place; that all the restaurant staff were dead, and actually ghosts. The food was good but was not actually real, so they would not gain weight, and the charges they would pay for it were pretend and would not really cost them anything.

I don't know if the dream ended then or if I just don't remember anymore after that.

I believe I awakended once or twice during this dream, feeling very "weirded out" by it -- the only way I can think of to describe my emotion. It wasn't a nightmare and wasn't at all comforting or a "good" dream either -- far from that. When I went back to sleep, the dream resumed. This didn't end altogether until I awakened completely this morning and got up feeling a little "weird" and slightly afraid.

I had therapy yesterday after all this. And I discussed this with my therapist who has a good bit of experience with dream analysis/interpretation.

First of all, the dream and ensuing therapy have worked to shift my own thoughts from feeling so judgemental of sue and t in all this, to ones of appreciation for their loyalty to me and their seemingly unending love.

I feel this dream is a metaphor for my old life's status in my present circumstances. My drinking, my weight and health issues, my career, my/our dead parents, my daughter, my ex-marraige, my child abuse are all ghosts.....ghosts which I experience as though real, but which are mists...without reality any longer. I am like the guy who has worked in the kitchen of the ghost restaurant, and my seemingly never ending blaming of sue and t and the police and the treatment professionals for their roles over the last two years are evaporating, as did his head when, suddenly "clouding," these old thought processes in my head dissolve. Like him, as this no longer necessary "head process" dissolves, I become frantic and run about with a figurative towel where my head had been, until I leap from the window to the death of these out-moded cognitive defense mechanisms. And as in my dream, my cognition will live again tomorrow, because all of this "drama" is only a vivid dream, "filled with sound and fury and amounting to nothing." This is the status of my never-ending railing and melodrama.

It is amazing but this dream, and my recent values clarification work has allowed me to reconstitute my thought process from what you read here to this new that I think will allow me to go forward to live and to thank my loves for their struggling through this terrible period for our entire family.


In Life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.


  1. Weird dream? Yes! But the interpretation makes a lot of sense. :-)


  2. Dear Tom,

    In dealing with my own PTSD, sometimes I find it hard to tell what is real and what is part of the mysts. The overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and terror with a throat choking panic can all make it hard to focus on reality's of the current day, and where one stood, and where one stands, and choose the less painful memory and way to be. The rage and fury I feel at the ones who betrayed and wronged me.... well.. I can either hold on to that poison and let it destroy me, or I can let it go.. and with it, the thorns imbedded within me. I choose, with mindfulness, to let it go.

    I find to avoid personal pain, I try to live in the present, and focus on a glorious future where I feel full of happiness and joy due to the choices I make and control over my self and emotions, and not by the whim of others.

    My ever faithful and devoted Paladin has certainly had to rescue me from myself more then once. Usually a rapidly downward spiraling depression. In our relationship, the only time he can trump me, is in the realms of health. Mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. I have come to count on his wisdom when I don't know what's best. I do know that he always has my best interests at heart.

    I know, especially in my cloud of pain, I cannot see clearly. Like you, I must count on my dear therapist to help me see things more clearly. She has not been wrong in the advice and if I trust her, then I trust the direction she is taking me, and that it does feel better.. more peaceful. Between her and Paladin, I am learning to choose to let go of my wrong thinking and learn new, healthier and happier ways of thinking. It is my choice, so I am in control.. and I do like to be in control. It is a truer thinking then my past toxic thinking. And as I choose these better, happier and more optimistic thoughts, I can feel the clouds breaking and the sun.. beginning to shine.

    I wish you the same.. and all good things and hope that you and your loves find a way back to a true peace together. Sending you all the positive energy possible.

    Safe Paths,

  3. Anonymous10:58 AM

    The line you quote from Shakespeare (written more than a century ago) is "i loved not wisely but too well, and it is said by Othello after he has murdered Desdemona for what he (wrongly) believed was her adultrous behavior. Faced with the fact that she was, in fact, innocent, he begins a litany of excuses about why it wasn't really his fault. You sound a lot like Othello to me.

  4. Anonymous3:29 PM

    Actually, I am wrong. The line is "let it be said of me 'he loved not wisely but too well.". Othello was not only laying out all the reasons he wasn't really to blame, he was also worried about his reputation. He also spent a lot of time blaming Iago. Hmmmm

  5. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Wishing you peace and contentment. It seems as though you are slowly moving from your ego-centric existence to embracing a more optimistic existence with those you love and who obviously love you. Good luck on your journey.


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