Monday, 29 June 2015
Grief and bad dreams
I tried to get some sleep last night but no matter how hard I tried to clear my mind and drift off I was unable to sleep for most of the night. I’ve been having trouble sleeping ever since my beloved cat, Merlin, passed away so I’m not exactly surprised that my sleep was disturbed for yet another night but I have to say that I’m getting a little pissed off with it. When is this going to go away so I can get back to my depression-induced disturbed sleep pattern?
Grief is insidious as it creeps up on you and attacks you when you are least expecting it. Grief also manifests itself as horrifying dreams and upsetting memories that just pop into your mind when you are concentrating on something else (if you can concentrate at all that is). That’s what happened this morning when I finally managed to drift off to sleep at about 7am.
I don’t usually dream - I know this conflicts with accepted wisdom on the way the brain and mind work but I know when I have dreamt because I always remember that I’ve had a dream even if I can’t remember the details – but this morning I was awoken by an extremely upsetting dream.
As I always found it easier to sleep with Merlin draped over my leg or laying against my chest trying to keep warm I came to rely on his closeness to help me sleep. Obviously I can’t do that anymore so I had to make do with holding onto the box containing his ashes in my attempt to get some rest and to some extent it worked. However, my unconscious mind knows the difference even if my conscious mind tries to force me to believe that Merlin’s presence is anything but an illusion. Not one to like such attempts at subterfuge, my unconscious mind threw up the most upsetting dream it could to wake me up.
I can only remember the most upsetting part of the dream (which is always the way with such things). In the dream I was holding the box containing Merlin’s ashes when I noticed that the raised section of the top with the engraved plaque with his name was coming loose (in real life it can’t because it is part of a solid section). I took the section off and looked inside to find that there were no ashes inside. This was upsetting enough but then the bottom of the inside of the box appeared to shift and underneath was a squirming form that pushed its way through the false bottom. The form was a black cat accompanied by the stench of burnt flesh and fur. The cat was full sized as the dimensions of the box were exaggerated as is the nature of dreams. It was at this point that I woke up after only a couple of hours sleep.
It is 23 days since Merlin died and I’m afraid that my grief is worsening as time passes. Am I going to be bedevilled by such dreams that get steadily worse until I go completely to pieces? I already suffer from the recurring memory of his body going limp in my arms as he drifted off into Oblivion; I don’t think I could stand a series of dreams in escalating levels of horror and distress.