I’ve always been puzzled by dreams and their meaning.
I remember dreaming of David Beckham (in a so not sexual way) and thinking about the weird fact that this guy doesn’t even know me and yet here I am, snoozing away with him on my mind.
If you think about it, sleeping – dreaming – is a fascinating state, mysterious even. You lie down and – if you’re lucky or take the most amazing antidepressants ever (like moi) – you’re zoning out within minutes.
And then what?
Last night, I dreamt of my mother.
She was younger than she is now, or at least her hair cut was the one she sported when she was in her thirties.
She had gone on vacation by herself and when she returned after two weeks, she was a mere shadow of her usual self: her cheeks and eyes hollow, her arms like sticks, her thighs nothing but bones and skin.
It was horrible to see to her that way. First, I was shocked. I did not know how to react, what to say or even what to think.
What had happened in those two weeks? Why was she not relaxed, rejuvenated, happy and energized after having spend fourteen days in the sun? What in the world was going on?
After my initial shock, I started to realize that nobody around me, my sister, my brother – even my cousins, aunt and uncle were there -, seemed to notice what was going on right in front of their eyes. I began to feel numb, I tried to get up, but couldn’t. I tried to talk, but no words left my mouth.
I wanted to scream at the top of my longs, but had no energy. I felt imprisoned in my own body.
This numbness held on for hours, maybe days, I don’t know.
What I do know though is that in that time, my sister started getting closer and closer to my mom. When I finally snapped out of my state of shock, I had no chance of bringing my mom to her senses. She ignored me. When I talked to her, she did not listen, not even look at me.
In my desperation, I asked my sister to confront her. “She says, she wears completely different cloths than those who struggle with anorexia. So, everything is fine.”I couldn’t believe her ignorance. I wanted to know whether my sister and cousin had looked at her thighs. “Did you really look how terribly skinny they are? Can’t you see what’s going on?” I felt lost, so lost. Terror came over me, “What if she is going to die? What if I cannot help her? And why was she doing this? Wh?.” “To spare you the pain” was my sister’s cryptic reply.
I didn’t understand.
Then, suddenly a completely different feeling arose. A wave of anger came over me: “Why now? Why did she starve herself now that I was so much better? Why is she making it a million times harder for me not to relapse? Why does she hate and hurt me so much? ”
A skyscraper. My mom and I. I am holding her with one hand. I pushed her. Or did I? I am holding on. My arm hurts, I feel sick, but I won’t let her go. I save her. My husband’s iPhone plays the usual classical music, which means it is 6am. Time to wake up.
Incredible. The power of dreams.
Never have I felt so helpless than during those brief minutes, moments, seconds (?) of this dream. For the very first time I understand how unimaginably worried my mom must have been during those 14 years of my having an eating disorder.
Mommy, I am sorry. I cannot even put into words how terribly sorry I am for every single day I put you through such misery. I never wanted to hurt you. I never wanted to make you cry. I wanted to listen to you, but I was scared, so scared. I couldn’t stop. I just had to continue on this journey of ruining my body and therefor myself.
I did not know though, how much I destroyed YOU too. With every kilo I lost, I made your heart at least one kilo heavier. I did not realize it, had no space for these kinds of thoughts in my mind. I tried to survive, but almost killed you.
However, I needed to experience your worries, your terror myself. I needed to feel your pain, think your thoughts to fully understand the position I put you in. I wouldn’t have been able to grasp it without this dream.
Mommy, you never said a word. Was I this quiet? Was I this cold? So absent? Your indifference in this dream scared me, terrified me even. Was I like that too?
I know the answers to these questions. Yes, I was. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Mommy, I am all better now. You will never have to worry about me again.
Even though the terror of relapsing is obviously still very real in my subconsciousness, I will not let it happen. Maybe this was a message to be especially aware in the coming days and weeks. I will be. For me, but also for you! So very much for you!
Mommy, I am glad I understand now. So glad.
The power of dreams.
Mind-boggling, isn’t it?