When Anxiety Visits Your Dreams

Last night’s dreams were all of water. Cold. Murky. Gray. No shore. Just instantly deep when you stepped off the land. At times, there were was no land in sight, just endless water. I know enough of psychology, have read enough “dream journals” to know that water is a signifier of one’s emotions. I think even without that knowledge, I would know it’s my anxiety just based on how I have felt ever since I woke up this morning.

In all of the dreams, I was already in the water. Treading water. Sometimes the land was in sight- salvation, just on the edge of my vision. But in some of the dreams, there was no land there. In the worst of them, it was not me alone, but my family.

“How will I keep my children afloat?” I fretted. “How will they survive? There is no shore, they cannot wade in, slowly, as they are comfortable. It is simply sink or swim.” Hostile.

In the worst of the worst- another family is there- but they have a safe haven. A sort of strange square mat, that floats, just below the surface where they can play and feel safe, secure in their footing. And I have to tell my children that I don’t know where they got it, but it isn’t ours.

That’s what being a parent with real anxiety is like. Hostile. No shore. Gray. Murky. Cold. And in the midst of it, you have to somehow find something of value to offer your children and make them not only feel safe, but BE safe. You have to find security for them, even when you feel like you have used everything inside of you to merely tread water.

I have felt sick to my stomach all day. Even in the waking world. Even after researching if such a floating mat even actually exists. I feel like I’m treading water even as I sit here. What will we do now? What is coming? Is that land I see there? Is there a shore? Or must we simply keep afloat as long as we’re able………………


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