By: Ariel Fixler
Dreams for many patients are a true form of escapism. It is our way to close our eyes and effectively close our minds to our reality and our pain. In our dreams we can be living the life we were supposed to be. We are not actively jealous, angry and feeling we are missing out on every life moment that matters. We can internally dialogue which can be the most effective way of communicating with our inner selves, our wants, desires, needs and wishes. We are living our lives before our illness. The future and present we were supposed to have and watch it like a wonderfully unscripted series we can binge watch, pause and return to and absorb.
In our dreams we are surrounded by our family or friends. Everyone you love can finally meet, come together and band together for you. There is no hyper scheduling and planning for visits and other people’s schedules and needs. Your dreams are selfless and accommodating of all your needs. You come first and you drive your life home. You are a leader. You are not a silent observer.
It is a place where no one asks, “How Are You Feeling”? It is a place we are able to swallow, understand what a synced and in tune body and mind is. There are no side effects in your R.E.M cycle. There is only effective living. It’s a place where we can just exist. It’s a place where you do not want to interrupted. It’s place you don’t want to leave. It’s a safe haven where words cannot hurt, where actions cannot touch us and where our body cannot fail us.
When we wake up from our dreams our mind is clear but our body is heavy. We debate if our awake world is as complimentary and generous to us as our dream life. In our dreams we can have moments with people who are no longer with us. We can eat what we want to eat and have quality time saying what we always wanted to say. We can mute the interruptions and white noise. We can eye roll privately and snark in silence. We can poignantly observe others and peek inside them and ourselves in a way we can’t do in our alert and awake hours.
Being awake and present makes us face our reality in a painful and visceral way. In a way we may not want to so we put our head down and close our eyes. In this escape, we are out of our mind and our body (albeit briefly) and enter a world of “What could be and What Ifs”. We even can see what has been, visit our past, write a new ending and make peace with any roaming hostility in our formative years and current life. Dreams show us we can still grow, make amends and make peace with our anger, passive aggressive thoughts and general indifference. Actions we may not be able to undertake in our waking hours. There is more room for personal, professional and emotional growth in our dreams.
So every instant a patient is asleep (whether it be a few hours or up to 24 hours) try to let the patient be. This may be there only real reprieve for their body, mind, spirit and soul. Sometimes sleep is a better way to normalize us. It can be more comforting and an escape tactic that is more effective than visitors or any form of binge viewing. We don’t have to be “on” for people. We are finally allowed to put our finger on the off switch and see ourselves lit up. We can see our wishes ignited in our dreams. In the same way we power down our devices to unplug and refresh the functioning our computer’s operating system. Sleep is the best form of escape. Sleep can also be a glimpse into a better overall functionality and communication.