A lot has been going on in my life lately and having OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, hasn’t made the changes any easier. What may be a simple change to a ‘normal’ person is not such a simple change to a person who has OCD. The type of OCD I have is a fear of contamination. I was diagnosed with OCD thirteen years ago and since then, I have systemized my life and my home to accommodate my OCD. Any change causes an OCD fear. In the past, as I tried to manage my OCD, I went to psychotherapy on a regular basis – 2 times per month. I haven’t been to psychotherapy in a few months, so I am facing the changes and fears on my own. It’s hard to ask and expect immediate family members to help me through these changes, so I keep the feelings inside me. These past few days they seem to appear in my dreams. I have been having so many bad dreams, which wake me up and because they are horrible to me, I refuse to go back to sleep.
Last night alone I had these three bad dreams. Before I explain the dream, I’ll describe the situation that led to the dream.
I recently went on vacation and when I saw our vacation pictures I thought I looked very ugly. I’m 55 years old and I thought I looked 80 years old in the pictures. I hate most of the pictures that are taken of me. I don’t think I’m aging well in my face. I might be a bit more self-conscious than others, though. As I slept last night, one of the dreams I had was that I broke 4 teeth. In the dream I tried to contact my dentist to immediately get them fixed and the receptionist told me that I couldn’t see my own dentist. She gave me another dentist’s telephone number, who I don’t know, to see. Just like in this one, I often have dreams of not being able to get help when I need it.
We changed some furniture around in our house, which will take me – a person with OCD, awhile to get used to. As I said before, I had decorated the inside of our house to accommodated my OCD. We’re expecting an out-of-town visitor. Because I have OCD, I haven’t had anyone besides repairmen in my home, since my mother died 16 years ago. That was when my OCD became exacerbated and life-inhibiting. Not only is it a big change for me to redecorate the inside of my home to accommodate others, but it also a very big change for me to have anyone inside my home. Last night I had a dream that someone came to my home and was inside of it. In the dream I asked her, “How did you find us?” In the dream I felt very uncomfortable having someone inside my house and I hated it. I felt like I lost my privacy, which my OCD has me feeling lately when I’m awake because of all the changes.
I need to make extra money. OCD has been life inhibiting to me, which inhibits me from working regularly. Almost two years ago I also had open heart surgery – a triple bypass. I have a visible, long scar going down my chest because of the heart surgery. Last night I had a dream that as I was making a few extra bucks, another person saw my scar and I remember thinking in the dream that now they thought I was incapable of helping them.
Every time I have what I consider to be a bad dream, such as the three above, I wake up feeling very depressed. I don’t seem to resolve the issues in my dreams. It’s horrible to wake up and start my day with a ‘bad’ or ‘sad’ feeling. If dreams don’t resolve the mental issues we struggle with during the day, then why do we carry them on into our dreams? Why do we dream about them too? We would love to make the conscious decision to have a good night’s sleep, if we’ve had a ‘challenging’ day. We would never choose to have a bad night’s sleep.
My ex-sister-in-law says we can change the outcome of our dreams, to resolve our real-life issues. I’m going to ask her how. She’s very spiritual, so maybe she will suggest a way to put our minds in a ‘happy’ mode before we go to sleep, so if we dream, we will have good dreams.
My psychotherapist’s method of therapy is Freudian Psychotherapy, so she loves to hear about dreams and she writes them down. I remember learning in my college Psychology classes that when dreams are analyzed, they are interpreted to relate to our daily struggles while we’re awake and living life – that which we choose not to deal with. With me, I can usually analyze my dreams to know exactly where they came from that is going on in my life – as I did with the three dreams I wrote about above. I’m still stuck with the question, does dreaming about our mental issues help in any way, when we know exactly why we had such a dream and the dream didn’t end happy? During my next therapy session, I’m going to ask my psychotherapist this exact question.
What is your opinion about dreams?