Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dark dreams

It is a sunny morning and I am blogging and answering emails whilst my hair dries. I have been signed off work with exhaustion and bronchitis, so I now have a period of quiet time to look forward to, which is a great relief. I am still not sleeping very well, but I expect if I practice not stressing and try to take steps back from it all this may improve. Things run round in my head, and of course the more tired you get, the harder it is to concentrate and the more anxious you feel. I have felt recently that I have been letting myself and everyone down which is silly when I think about it, I have done a lot, it is just that however much I do, there always seems to be more and more piling up. I had the dream again last night. This dream keeps coming back to me, I have it about twice a week. It makes me afraid to sleep, sometimes.

I told my psychologist about it, and she gave me some ideas for how to take control of the dream. I also think perhaps writing it down might make it go away. So here goes.

I wake up and it is dark. The flat is full of evil and darkness. It is like a black smoke or fog that blots out all familar surroundings. The walls, the floor, have all disappeared, there is only the blackness, which is more than blackness, it has a presence and an intelligence and it wants to smother me and pour into me, penetrate me, my eyes, my nose, my throat, everywhere. Only the bed is there. I turn and reach for J, but he is gone.

I want to stay under the white covers, where the evil dark cannot get me, but then I hear screaming. Terrible, endless, agonised screaming. It is coming from the sitting room. I know that I must go and see what it is. I get out of bed and I am filled with foreboding. I press my mouth together to stop the black smoke getting into it. I wander down the hall, disorientated, reaching for solid surfaces to guide me, which are not there. In the sitting room, J and I have a very large aquarium with two koi carp and five goldfish, which we have looked after for seven years. I am very fond of the beautiful golden fish, who eat from our fingers each morning. The water has drained out of the aquarium and the fish are lying and writhing on the gravel floor, in about two inches of water, and they are screaming and screaming and writhing and helpless. I run to the sink and look frantically for a bucket to fill. There is no bucket, no water in the tap, I cannot help them. The fish scream and scream, and I think about whether I can carry them in my hands to a neighbour's house, and put them in the bath or sink there, and save them, but I have no way to carry them, I will drop them, they will die. The black is suffocating me, now I am going to die too. I am alone. J is not there. Where is he? I must find him, and leave the fish. I force myself to leave the screaming, flapping fish and I try to find the door to get out. Sometimes I find the door and I am crying. Sometimes I start to scream myself, and the smoke-stuff chokes me, and I die.

Then I wake up. If I find the door, I wake up almost crying. If I don't find the door, I wake up covered in sweat and about to shout out for help.

I feel cold just typing that. My psychologist told me to imagine, before I go to bed, a torch by my bedside, to dispel the dark, a bucket full of water, ready by the aquarium, to rescue the fish, keys in the door, to escape from the house, J by my side, to help me. Maybe tonight I will actually put a real torch by the bed, a real bucket of water in the kitchen, leave the keys by the door. J will think I am mad, but I will explain, and maybe tonight I will break the dream.

I know what the dream is about: the tunnel, the train, the morning of 7th July. I was told that if you tell a dream, it breaks and dissipates and loses its power. So, goodbye dream, off you go across the internet, time to leave me in peace. Over and out, and thank you for reading and helping me break my dream. I will let you know if it returns.

And if it goes away, it will be another victory for the power of blogging!

10 Comments:

Anonymous Joon Flowers said...

Dear Rachel, I have said before that I pray for you. I don't know if you believe in the power of prayer, but I do. Anyway, you must know that there are so many people who wish you well and among those are people who read your blog. I visit your blog every day. It means so much to me and your words have such a powerful effect on me. I contacted my MP about getting his support for a July 7th enquiry because you asked people to do this. He wrote me a wonderful letter. He does support an enquiry and does not think the proposed "narrative" is sufficient.

Be strong and don't forget that many many people wish you well.

March 25, 2006 11:25 am  
Anonymous Jo said...

Dear Rachel

I have read your blog for months now, and I wish you well and for you to be restored to health.

You're a really brave person to do this, I'm glad we have people like you in our country.

March 25, 2006 11:47 am  
Blogger RW said...

Wow. Good luck dispelling the darkness, Rachel - I know that it will get better in time. Just remember that there are great many of us out here rooting for you.

March 25, 2006 11:50 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you very much every body. I really think this is going to work and the dream will sod off.

:-)

FJL, I loved your latest piece and have linked it upstream.

March 25, 2006 2:38 pm  
Blogger Ally said...

I am constantly surprised how powerful it is to actually step up to the plate and work with ones subconscious, rather than letting it just chug away and do its own thing. I hope you sleep well tonight!

March 25, 2006 4:06 pm  
Blogger Bumble Bee said...

Hey Hun,
Definately leave those things in the house before you go to bed Rach. Whatever helps, is not silly.
My nightmares seem to have gotten less and less frequent. I too told my psychologist about them in the beginning and she recommended the exact same course of action.
Make sure the bucket, the torch etc are the last things you think of and it will work. I promise.
You are in my heart darling and I wish that this break brings you back happier and stronger.
Please use my number whenever you need. xx

March 25, 2006 4:49 pm  
Blogger Cheryl said...

This is going to be intensely personal and I apologise.
I am trying to understand why your subconscious thinks there is something to tell you in this, something that you are missing that makes it keep coming back.
In the real event, all you could do was hear, you could hardly move or keep your own eyes open and but for your heroes you would be as dead as the passengers who didn't make it.
Now you go back to a dream where you frantically explore any way at all to help, and every time your dream says 'No, that might have helped but the equipment wasn't there'.
Stuck in 'if only'?
Are you being asked to forgive yourself for being helpless?
Sorry to play armchair psychologist on you, its just that you are such a fighter for justice, peace, forgiveness and the rights of others, it makes perfect sense that you would put yourself to the back of the queue, keep beating yourself up with 'if only I could have', even if it only surfaces in your dreams.

Wishing you torches, heroes with torches, guides and guardian angels to take you home to J and faith in them that they won't ignore your darling fish.

March 26, 2006 12:07 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

That's very powerful, Cheryl. I think you are right. I think a lot of what I do, the survivor group, the campaigning, the wanting a public enqury to learn lessons, the speaking out with others at the London Assembly, asking for funding and more equipment for more rescuers, the trying to communicate what it was like, and to and help people - all goes back to that fact that I could not help those I left behind screaming in the dark. The equipment, the tools, the ability to help just wasn't there, in every sense of the word. The dream does keep telling me, save yourself or die, you *must* leave behind those whom you cannot save, however hard. It is immensely painful to go through these feelings, and I do not do so in waking life apart from when I cannot stop them, and they overwhlem me. I spend a lot of time and energy fighting them back. You can read all the different ways I do so in this blog. But of course, the fact that I lived - and they died - and they screamed, and I walked away - remains. So, of course, these feelings I cannot face in my waking life haunt my dreams, repeatedly.

In a way, all the action and fighting and expenditure of energy has been a survival tactic and a coping mechanism, which has shielded me from just being with the enormity of what happened and my utter helplessness in the face of violence and murderousness. The hardest thing to do is to stop, slow down, and let the feelings hit. But I am realising that I will have to do it, because my health is now affected - I'm ill, I'm signed off work, so my body has forced me to stop, and deal with it I must or it will come at me in my dreams, when I have no defences.

Last night I was so exhausted that I did not dream at all. I feel very physically tired, but mentally, more uplifted as bashing away at a brick wall is shattering, but when things sdo tart to happen it is exhilarating. It feels like we are at the start of change, mometum, answers, which is of course, for me, the start of healing. At long bloody last.

Thank you, and thank you everyone for helping me break the dream.
(touch wood)

x

March 26, 2006 12:28 pm  
Blogger steve said...

Just to let you know I have read about your dream. I think just knowing other people have read it, shared it and seen it is one of the best things in overcoming it. It is no longer in just your mind, it's in 'our' mind.

March 26, 2006 2:08 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

A week after I wrote this, I have not had the dream. Yesterday I slept for most of the day, without dreaming. I am starting to feel much better.THANK YOU.

April 01, 2006 9:15 am  

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