The return of anxiety dreams

For the first time in quite a while, I had anxiety dreams last night. The were not the ordinary run-of-the-mill anxiety dreams I used to have either. These had one particularly nasty ingredient added to them: they were recursive. Or as the kids today like to say, meta.

I used to have two types of anxiety dreams, all centering around a single theme: a fear of heights. Why I should be afraid of heights in my dreams when I have no such fear in my waking life is beyond my explanation, but there you go. In one set of dreams, I’d find myself up on top of an impossibly tall building with no easy way of getting down. In another of these dreams, I’d find myself in an elevator. The doors would slide shut. Then the lights would go out and the elevator would sink into some sub-basement and stay there. There was actually a third type of anxiety dream I’d have, from time-to-time. In this one, I’d rent an airplane and go flying, after not having been flying in a very long time. I’d take off, and as I was leaving the runway I’d suddenly realize that I forgot to contact the tower and get a clearance.

Last night, it was none of these.

In the dream last night, I had a car that was similar to the Kia Sorento we got last fall. I was driving along a road and my control of the car was like molasses. If I stepped on the brake, it didn’t really seem to slow the car down. The harder I pressed the brake peddle, the worse things seemed to get. There was a fork in the road. I wanted to go to the left, but I couldn’t turn the wheel fast enough and I ended up on a ramp to the right. The car spun out and started going backwards down the ramp. The brakes didn’t seem to do much. They slowed the car just enough to make me worried. Finally, the car rolled back into a river and I had to bail out.

I stood there at the edge of the river in disbelief. How could this happen? I realized that I had a lot I had to do. I had to tell Kelly. I had to call the insurance company. I was distraught and as I walked back up the ramp, I remember clearly thinking how I wished this was just a dream. Wouldn’t it be great if this was a dream? But it wasn’t–or so it seemed. At some point later on in the dream, I was recounting to someone what happened to the car and told them how I wished this whole thing was a dream. And here’s the creepy part:

I then went on to recount the fact that on occasion I would have these anxiety dreams and that this felt just like one of them, except I clearly wasn’t waking up from up.

I don’t recall what they said in response, but eventually, I did wake up and it was a dream, to my great relief.

But why the sudden onset of these unusually devious dreams? Well, I imagine it is a combination of things:

  • The Little Miss is now due to arrive in less than a month.
  • Work has been particularly stressful. I am working on half a dozen projects, all of which seem to be high priority and I can’t seem to get good traction on any of them.
  • I have been unusually stressed about this ridiculous mess that our leaders have gotten us into and the ongoing battle for who is going to come out on top.
In any event, it was the first anxiety dream in a while, and hopefully it isn’t the start of a trend. I like my sleep to be anxiety-free.

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