Fear of change is unescapable during sleep

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

It is early morning, probably four a.m. I am driving. I get the sense that I am headed north. I see nothing but freeway lanes in front of me. Bright city lights line the distance of my rearview, but I do not know which city I am driving away from. I keep thinking Atlanta, but there is nothing definitive to suggest that. I am alone on the road, in the car, and I feel alone. But I do not feel that loneliness at heart. My family is still in my heart and somewhere. Suddenly, I take an exit, the wrong exit. I start to feel a panic arise as I know I am headed in the wrong direction. I try to remember the way I am supposed to go, but I cannot remember where I am headed. The exit twists and turns around many other exits and freeways. I am left driving back and forth, almost in circles, lost and fearful. Then, as I feel the anxiety rise, I remember I really do not have anywhere to be or any definitive direction. Immediately, the road splits and I feel the urge to get in the other lane. The morning sun has emerged, and it is mid-morning. There are cars driving around me, passing me, swerving in and out of the lanes. I cannot merge into the other lane and I miss my exit. I panic again, as I know that once I miss that exit, I can never turn back. I will forever be lost. I want to slow down but fear getting into an accident. I keep trying to stay with the flow of traffic but try so hard to get into the other lane. I must get in that lane, or else I will never get where I am going, although I still do not know where that is.

Then I awake, feeling as if the breath had been yanked from my lungs. I jump up from the bed and have the urge to check on my children. More and more these dreams come. The finale is always unresolved, and I am left with an uneasy awakening and lack of air. I imagine that a bedside spirit has reached into my chest and stolen the air from my lungs.  Although these dreams have significant relevancy of current life decisions, I cannot shake the aching suspicion that I may be developing sleep apnea.

Now that I have cracked my daily joke, analyzation of the above dream is necessary. My family is undergoing some major changes, none of which are negative. I often find, right before major changes occur in my life, whether planned or not, I have lucid and predictive dreams. Many times, I have not understood them, as the change was unplanned.

In my twenties, I dreamt I was in a public restroom. Every stall was disgusting, all the toilets had backed up onto the seats and the floor. Toilet paper was covered in urine and stool. I could not walk or sit or use the toilets, as they were completely unsanitary.

At another time during my twenties, I dreamt that all of my teeth suddenly cracked and crumbled. Every single tooth slowly cracked and fell from my gums in pieces. There was no pain. There were no obvious medical reasons. I had simply opened my mouth to respond to a friend and my teeth crumbled away.

From reading, mostly personal blogs by so-called experts on dream interpretation, these dreams are very common. The Dirty Toilet and the Crumbling Teeth dreams both represent a strong dissatisfaction with one’s current life and/or situation. They represent a strong desire, sometimes subconscious, for change. Looking back, they represented my intuition telling me to sprint away from the possessive and abusive relationships I was in during that time.

The current dream is a representation of the changes my family is currently undergoing. We are considering a bigger house, my husband has been given new opportunities at his work which will alter our lives, and there are many other changes occurring.

Recently, I told a friend, I felt as if my family was on a speeding train that was headed straight for a cliff. I felt as if we would jump from the train right before it caught fire in an explosion, but we were still on that train and going to go over the cliff with it. But it was the train we were meant to be on as it still was where we were meant to go.

Anxiety and fear is not always a bad thing. Getting lost, lacking direction, dirty toilets, crumbling teeth, and exploding trains may not always be a bad omen. Change is scary. But more times than not, it is more than just fear. Fear pushes us beyond our comfort zone. It can cause us to shed our security blanket and move into a life, a better life, we were meant to live. Embrace fear and anxiety. Without, we would not seek change.

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.”
― Søren Kierkegaard