Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do dreamers really live forever?

"Loose your dreams and you will loose your mind
In life unkind".
Rolling Stones, "Ruby Tuesday".

I never have had a problem not dreaming. I love dreaming. I keep a tape recorder and a note pad by bed when I wake so I can write down my dreams.

Lately, all my dreams have been like something out of a Jungian nightmare, old family trips, school, all surrounded  in symbols. But nothing about the future. No dreams, no hopes, no nothing.

The other day I got a piece of spam that said in the header 'Are you living or existing". Oh that was easy. Existing. Not living. Because I don't have any dreams to live for. Not anymore.

Or in other words, I do not know what dreams to dream to live for.  The ones I had as a child and a woman in my twenties are gone. I can re build them again, like the Six Million Dollar Man, stronger and better than they were.

"And if your hopes should pass away/
Simply pretend,
That you can build them again". 
Simon and Garfunkel,  "Hazy Shade of Winter".

I always was able to take shattered dreams and rebuild them. Not a problem. Easy.  But now, it's all the dreams have shattered my hands like holding on to broken glass. My writing, bits and pieces, lie in the trash can, like some type of abortion. Just a little mouse click, and they are gone, forever. Little whispy ghosts on the ethernet of the hard drive. I know my illness has turned me into a gifted and talented writer in my 20s, with so much promise and a book offer, to someone who can barely string two sentences together. I doubt now I can even write, let alone see that level again. What do I do if my brain turns on me and this last desire fails?

...Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build....
Anne Sexton, "Wanting to Die".

I'm not suicidal. I just don't know what to do with the remaining 40 years of my life.

How do you rebuild if you don't know what to rebuild in the first place?


Ana said...

I noticed that many people are saying that their living each day - the carpe diem rule.
I'm not sure if it's only a question for those who's life has changed due to some problem.
I believe that young people are having to cope with so many problems that they are also having troubles in dreaming.
How can you dream about your future when you have to think which is the best way to pay for basic needs like housing and eating?
I dunno.

P.S. I know what you mean because I'm at the same page.

susan said...

Ana, I am sorry you feel the same way. Maybe this is a more common condition then we think.

Pyrs said...

This was a touching and very well written piece. You are a good writer. In my DivorceCare group, I have heard over and over by those who attend and on the video segments we watch together that it was like the death of a dream. Life for a long time lost all meaning.

The feeling can be so pervasive that its as if a heavy, dark, suffocating canvas has draped itself over your house, your apartment, your bedroom… over your very being, dragging along the floor, the pavement, the sidewalk like a funeral pall accompanying a coffin to the grave.

I hear from everyone that the canvas eventually wears thin, decays and begins to fall away, sometimes unexpectedly. Not that those of us who suffer from depression will be cured, but that there will be a new sense of wholeness in who we are and we will begin to look more toward the future than we look back our past. We will realize that we can exist and find purpose without the things we’ve lost or had to part with… people, marriages, careers, things we thought defined us… our dreams. New dreams replace the old.

The world does actually need us. There is a place for each of us. For now, keep writing. There are so many distraught and hurting people who can benefit from our stories and experiences. Some of the most healing moments I have experienced have been when I have been reading something or talking with someone, or been a part of a group, and I hear things expressed that make me realize that I am not alone in my despair, or a loser because I hurt so badly and have taken so long to walk through my darkness.

When someone takes the time to share their experiences with others, healing begins for those who hear or read and find out that they are not alone in their despair. Someone else has felt, or is still feeling, the same indomitable darkness. And that often means for them, that a small hole appears in the black canvas and allows a narrow beam of light to poke through and remind them there is something brighter outside of their prison.

Broken people help broken people. All of us are broken. Some just don’t know it yet. Surrounding themselves with gadgets, McMansions, SUVs, bed partners, booze, drugs, relentless activity. But everyone will find it out eventually. And thank God there are others to tell us we are not alone in our sorrow.

One of my favorite lines from a movie comes from The Princess Bride. (I think it was Andre the Giant’s character, but I could be wrong.) It goes something like this, “Life is pain. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying or trying to sell you something.” Its quite disappointing to us when we finally succumb to that truth. But it is also the most healing conclusion we can come to for now. And the people who can help others the most, are those who also know its true. Not to say that there is nothing beyond this life. But that’s a different story, for another time.

Stephen said...

You'll be ok.

Radagast said...

"...How do you rebuild if you don't know what to rebuild in the first place?"

Ana, Susan: Ah, yes! The "big picture" can be so daunting, that one doesn't know where to start. Well, I'm reasonably satisfied that there are very few people, if any, who get to plan their lives with any kind of certainty, particularly if they want to do something outside of the format that is prescribed for them.

So, given that you've placed yourself in a box marked "has-been," or perhaps "never-was" (I'm paraphrasing what you wrote, incidentally), you should also be aware that you're not thinking any differently to when you were 20-something. That is to say, you still have your dreams, and they are still achievable, except that you seem to have come to the conclusion that you've tried every means of achieving them, but still haven't. This must mean that they are impossible. Except it doesn't - it just means that you haven't tried everything.

A change of perspective is required, I think! Let's say that your wildest 21 year-old dream came true. Let's say that you simply can't think of anything else that could possibly top the thing that you've just achieved. Will you be happy? And if you will, then why? Because you've achieved something that few others do? Or because you set yourself a goal, and achieved it, even though you may have believed it beyond your capabilities/resources, when you conceived the idea? Or something else?

Life's not for regrets, Susan, it's for shrugging your shoulders, maybe identifying what you may do better, if there's a next time, saying "tant bloody pis!" and trying something else.


sisyphusgal said...

"In America, there is endless talk of the importance of having a dream — that is, a dreamed-up self that you will to become: a millionaire, a surgeon, or maybe the next Dylan or George Clooney. But master of suspicion that Kierkegaard was, he goes on to note that while the man who has failed to become Caesar would have been in seventh heaven if he had realized his dream, that state would have been just as despairing in another way — because in that giddy self-satisfied condition, he would never have come to grasp his true self."

Radagast said...

sisyphusgal wrote:
""...because in that giddy self-satisfied condition, he would never have come to grasp his true self.""

But, then, whatever one is is one's true self. One may have gone through life seeking to achieve and acquire things that others regarded as valuable, only to find that they weren't all they were built up to be, but at the end of it, the sum total of one's experiences is who and what one is.

In any case, in order to be Caesar, one must do what is required to become Caesar... One then knows only too well what others are doing, in their attempt to usurp one (because it would be the height of arrogance to believe that the approach one took hadn't been considered by others). There's no escape from that kind of knowledge.


Red Pill Junkie said...

I do believe that this feeling of having no dreams to hang on to is not only being suffered by you, or the rest of us depressed individuals.

I'm getting he feeling that this has become a global affliction.

How else to explain all this obsession with vampires we're seeing in pop culture? Is it not perhaps because young folks don't know what to do with their lives, so they want to hang on to their youth indefinitely, to stall that dreaded decision?

The paradox is that we're all going to die, and if vampires did exist, they would be miserable because the world would keep changing while they remain stagnant.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Susan,
I believe the way we rebuild our writing careers is one step at a time. While it seems simplistic, I know from experience that it works.

It only takes selling one article to relaunch a career, just like it sometimes only takes one comment on a blog to feel we're helping someone.

And, I also think there can be "baby step dreams." A dream can be to finish writing one article by the end of the year.

It can be to spend more time with the people we love. It can be to adopt an animal, or to volunteer on a suicide hotline.

I know you have dreams inside you just waiting to be realized. When we're depressed it sometimes seems like even our dreams abandon us.

When we're well, they usually reappear. At least, that's how I feel.

With love and hope,


Sandy Naiman said...

If there's a voice in your head, listen to it. This post is proof that you write exquisitely.
Listen to your mind. Transcribe it. Put it away, don't click it away. Keep it. Perhaps another day, a morning perhaps, it will spark something. You never know.
I'm a journalist, so I write about what's happening around me. I muse or react or spin ideas around in my head and heart, as you do, though I do not remember my dreams.
You are such a fine writer, but you're so hard on yourself. Don't judge yourself in the midst of writing.
Just write. Even if you don't like what you see. We're not objective about what we write.
And writing is rewriting.
Please keep writing.
Your voice must be heard. You have worlds to share with us.

SelfHypnosis said...

Choose something that you really want to do or achieve in your life, something BIG. Write it down on a piece of paper and list things you can do to help you achieve that goal. Never let a day go by where you don't do something to reach that goal.

This will give you a new purpose in life and should help lift you out your current funk.

susan said...

Thank you Self Hypnosis. Just did that and posted it on my bathroom mirror.

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