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Fear, Pain & Facing the Sadness of Life

Posted Mar 20 2009 3:11pm

My alarm clock blinked 3:57 a.m. I had just awakened from a dream in which my now deceased best friend visited me. The gist of the dream was me going to the building where we had worked together. Strange that in dreams what is supposed to be my home, office or other familiar places never look like the real thing but it doesn’t matter in the dream. In last night’s dream I drove under part of the building and the driveway was paved with asphalt that extended up the walls of the building complete with the broken white line painted down the middle.

My friend showed up but never said a word and I found myself sitting there overwhelmed with sadness at losing him and feeling “If only I could go back and change things…”

Your body and your mind are always giving you messages about your physical and mental health. I had thought I was finally accepting things but the dream shows otherwise. It’s so easy to bury things deep inside of you and think you’ve dealt with them only to have them crop up in unusual ways. Dreams /nightmares, headaches, dizziness, strange aches and pains can be signs of physical problems but they can also come from your emotions.

Several years ago I had a very vivid dream in which my daughter died. I became so distraught in my dream that my crying & sobbing woke my wife. She thought something was terribly wrong and woke me to make sure I was alright. I’ve never been so shaken by a dream before. It was pretty apparent that I was still distraught over the estrangement from my little girl. In my waking hours I was not conscious of it but it was still there buried like a seed in the winter ground, just waiting for the right moment to sprout.

Most things will only grow when exposed to sunlight. Depression is one of those things that actually grows in the dark. It’s so easy to ignore the painful moments in our lives, but burying our emotions doesn’t work. We have to bring them to the light of day for them to finally loose their power over us - hence the value of a good therapist.

To use the analogy of a cheezy movie it’s a little like Rocky telling Mr. T in the ring, “You ain’t so bad! Is that all you got?”

My father saw many friends killed in the 3 wars he was in (WWII, Korea & Viet Nam) and consequently he pulled back and didn’t allow himself to get close to his men again. I didn’t find out about this until I was an adult. It made perfect sense and explained alot about his personality.

He said it was too painful to have his friends taken from him so he made a point of not getting close to anyone again. Unfortunately I was to some extent included in that. He wasn’t cold and indifferent but he wasn’t real warm and fuzzy either. Little boys don’t understand that.

I wonder how different things would be if my father had taken the risk to get close to others. I wonder how different my black dog would be if I take that risk now . . .

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