I don’t normally dream. If things are going well for me, I just “pass out” for my eight hours and wake up with my alarm none the wiser as to what my subconscious has been up to. But if things aren’t going well, or I have something on my mind, my dreams get weird.
You see, I’m a prolific anxiety dreamer. When I get stressed, it becomes subconsciously apparent to me well before my brain is ready to admit it.
I’m about to move. And as you all know, I’m excited about this move. For starters, I’m going to have an entire fridge and freezer to myself. No more mixing up open jars of pasta sauce, no more mystery packets of wrapped leftovers, no more endless bags of frozen vegetables purchased and forgotten. I also won’t have to deal with overflowing trash bins (I recycle nearly everything), still slightly dirty dishes, and lights left on in every room. There’s a lot to look forward to when you’ve been living with roommates for eight years, so I’m definitely ready.
But I’m still anxious enough about the whole thing to dream.
I’m worried that I’ll be lonely. When you don’t live with other people, it’s easy to spend a whole day at home on a weekend and realize you haven’t actually spoken aloud to anyone. There’s no one to check on you when you’re sick, no one to make sure you’ve come home safe at night, no one to just watch TV with you after a long day. And for me, that’s my number one depression trigger. I’m an introvert, but only to a point. Too much time on my own and I end up entirely in my head and then it spirals. So I try to stay busy. I’ve made a point of signing up for a new kickball season (even though it’s a million degrees in Washington) simply because it’ll give me somewhere to be. I just hope it’s enough.
I’m also worried about money. I know I can afford this place. I’ve done the numbers enough times to be more than sure. I even have freelance work that I can do if I start to get behind. But I’ve felt the stress of two years living at or above my means and I don’t want to bring myself anywhere near that again. The bigger the buffer, the better I feel about it. Moving puts a dent in my buffer though so it’s probably going to nag at me for a while. Especially since I’m in the middle of paying a lot of bills right now (double rent for a week, buying furniture, etc.).
Work is pressuring me somewhat, too. My boss has laid this benchmark for me to meet by the end of the year and, if I can make it, there’s a title change and a raise at the other end. But there’s a lot of hoops to jump through and I’m afraid to get my hopes up. My last job was so awful that I think I’ve been conditioned to expect the worse of people. So when the decision making is almost entirely out of my hands, and there’s no guarantee I’ll get it even if I do pass the benchmark, I get unsettled.
And then there’s just the “normal” anxiety that comes with moving. I’ve lived in six places in eight years and every time I pack up I get that empty, gut-wrenching homesick feeling. Even when I’m excited about the move or when I hated the place I was coming from. I think it just has to do with pulling up your roots, no matter how shallowly they were planted, and forcing them down somewhere else. It takes a little while for plants to adjust to their new pots and to flourish again; same thing with people. But,“It will pass. Homesickness is like most sicknesses. It will make you feel wretched, and then it will move on to someone else.” (Brooklyn, 2015)
The dreams will stop eventually. If the past is any indication, I’ll probably be fine around Labor Day. I just wish they’d settle down now. I could really use a good night’s sleep.