|George Clooney in Michael Clayton|
It’s hard to call them nightmares because – while they do ruin a night’s sleep and leave me feeling freaked out – they don’t really scare me. I prefer calling them “anxiety dreams” because that helps me file them away in the “weird crap my Generalized Anxiety Disorder does” which in turn helps me get over the way they freak me out. I suppose, technically, they are nightmares.
Last night’s were exceptionally weird. In order to get over some writer’s block on a Savage Insider article, I drank some coffee yesterday morning. Caffeine sets off anxiety and coffee really sets off my anxiety, but it helped me get over that hurdle and I was prepared to accept the consequences. I wasn’t quite prepared for just how weird one of those dreams would be.
(As an aside, let me just say that the biggest benefit of being diagnosed with a mental disorder is knowing you have one. You can look at your behavior objectively, say “This is my disease acting up,” and compartmentalize the real you from the bad you. I probably use it to ride the ragged edge of disaster a bit too much, but generally it works.)
The first anxiety dream was wrapped up in some deep, weird personal issues. My first girlfriend, my brother, and I went to see “X-Men: Apocalypse” (an anachronism not just because the movie hasn’t come out yet, but also because we were in high school). There were projection problems and I went to get it fixed, but people had taken my seat when I got back and Karen and James didn’t want to sit with me anymore. I burst into tears and walked home, eventually finding myself lost when I got to my neighborhood.
(My relationships with those two went south years ago, so they frequently show up in anxiety dreams as kind of personal demons.)
The second dream, on the other hand, was like a sizzle reel for a movie that hasn’t been made. I was an American businessman played by George Clooney who worked at a manufacturing plant of some sort in Japan. The character George Clooney and I played had recurring nightmares – premonitions – of drowning, but didn’t know what to do about it due to his isolation as an American abroad. Eventually, the kami of the lake near the plant caused the dam to burst and the valley the plant was in flooded. All of the businessman’s co-workers drowned (as did a dog the businessman befriended), and the kami confronted him, saying all of it was the businessman’s fault for not believing in his premonition.
And that’s when I woke up.
I should really try to turn that second dream into a story or screenplay.