I started taking the natural hormonal supplement melatonin to help control my SAD symptoms. I wrote about that in this post. One thing taking melatonin has done is give me very vivid and strange dreams (I know all dreams are strange, but the ones I’m having are stranger than usual and I’m remembering more of them.
Most of the dreams I haven’t bothered to write down, and I can’t remember them anymore. But one in particular, which I had a couple of nights ago seemed important and relevant enough to my recovery that, half-asleep, I scribbled it down in a noteback I’ve been keeping next to my bed. The feeling of the dream (which was unpleasant and frustrating–though not really nightmarish) is almost lost to me now, but the details are still clear.
I was traveling by myself to some kind of camp in the wilderness–like a summer camp, only for adults. I would be staying there for several months to several years. It was in a region I was completely unfamiliar with, and I knew I had to arrive there before it began to get dark so I could find my way.
When I arrived in the town bordering the wilderness area where the camp was located, I suddenly realized I had forgotten to bring my makeup, my hairbrush, my hair straightener, any good looking clothing–basically, anything that made me “look good.” i was hundreds or thousands of miles from home and could not go back to get these things.
Frantic, I searched up and down all the streets of the town I was in for a store that sold these things. I still had my makeup on for the day, but knew that once it washed or wore off, I would feel that shame of “nakedness,” of looking my worst. It was growing dark, and every store I stopped in told me they did not sell such items. The people were very friendly and pleasant, but no one could help, or knew of anywhere I could buy such items. I remember feeling panicked and very frustrated.
When I woke up, I realized almost immediately what this meant. The cosmetic items represent my “aluminum foil false self”–the thin narcissistic defense layer I’ve developed over time to protect myself from the ravages of my underlying BPD and C-PTSD. It’s a thin layer and easily torn, since it was developed pretty late in life, and it could just be narcissistic “fleas” but it’s caused me a lot of problems since it’s a barrier to real connection with both my own emotions and meaningful, deep relationships with others. It’s mostly caused me to avoid other people and situations that make me feel to vulnerable, because of fear I will be hated or shamed for being my real, vulnerable self (which I’m constantly fully conscious of).
The mysterious camp represents where I’m going in my life–a place of learning and adventure, and a place where I also have no idea what is going to happen. The store owners in the area didn’t sell the things I desired because those things (narcissistic defenses) would hinder and hold me back during my “camping experience.” These things were not necessary but it scared me that i would have to enter this camp “naked”–as my real, genuine self, not dolled up to “look” better than I actually do or hide behind a kind of mask.