Dreaming of Catatonia

I had this nightmare last night. You know the kind. It drags on for hours and hours (or as I tend to think of it, sleep cycle after sleep cycle), interrupted only by my work alarm which shouted, “Get the fuck up! You don’t want to be going through this anymore you dumbass!!!” and of course you realize you probably should jump the fuck out of bed when you’re alarm is swearing you out.

I dreamt I was in a relatively new romantically inclined relationship with someone, let’s call her symbolic dream mystery woman #5,219. I don’t recall most of the details of the dream as it was of mini-series as opposed to movie or dream sequence length, but long and short of it, the experience brought out emotions and behaviors I, for the love of the gods, have worked past–or at least I’d like to believe I’ve worked completely through except every blue moon these reminders pop up that say, “Hey, this shit is still lingering, you’ve got some work to do!”

Here’s what I do remember. I was in some apartment in some tall, downtown building. It was my birthday. People were coming in out of the room (including symbolic dream mystery woman #5,219) as they were socializing/partying. But the party wasn’t about me and my new romantic interest would pay me just enough attention that I was effectively staying put, not complaining, smiling while knowing I was being strung along. I recall walking into a room where everyone was gathered. They were happy and smiling so I started to explain I was depressed and lonely and deserved to be treated better (not an uncommon element in my nightmares since at least my teenage years) and, as is nearly always the case, they ignored or criticized me. I began to explain to them that I’d recently determined I’m on the spectrum and how they were treating me was abusive. Some shrugged. Some walked away as if I hadn’t said anything. A few chuckled. I could hear them in my mind saying, “So what if you have a ‘pre-existing condition’, you need to take it like a neurotypical.” Dream, dream, dream, and I’m on a public transportation train in the back. There’s #5,219 w/ her bestie and they’re both laughing and joking and ignoring me completely as I sink deeper and deeper into a depression. It’s getting so bad I shrink to the floor then slunk to the front of the train where I’m sitting in a fetal position, nearly catatonic. I can’t do this. I can’t cope. I need to get away. Someone sitting in the front seat sees me and starts to rub my head and shoulders. It gives me the courage to get to my feet and jump off at the next stop and I’m running, running, running (something that’s unusual in my dreams—while I can fly quite easily, anytime I try to run it’s like my legs are stuck in mud), running through a touristy area of this fictional city that shows up in my dreams a lot but this is a place I haven’t been before, it looks like some kind of bad copy of a medieval English village and I’m getting away, I think I’m getting away, but I look back and there they are, #5,219 and her bestie, and I fall down beside the concrete path on a patch of grass and I’m thinking how I’d found the balls to break up with you but you’ve caught me again and then…the alarm went off.

Now normally I’d do everything in my power to go back to sleep because a) I love sleeping, especially when I’m sleeping deeply, and b) I like to figure out what the hell my dreams are about. Today I did the wise thing: I listened to my alarm and got the fuck up.

So catatonia.

I looked up the “official” (Wikipedia) definition of it today. While not the DSMV, one definition caught my eye:

Withdrawn Catatonia: This form of catatonia is characterize by decreased response to external stimuli, immobility or inhibited movement, mutism, staring, posturing, and negates. Patients may sit or stand in the same position for hours, may hold odd positions, and may resist movement of their extremities.”

Well holy fucking shit, if that wasn’t spot on.

So, for those who didn’t know me during my late teens and twenties, I was eyeball deep in a depression so suffocating that on any number of occasions I was so overwhelmed by the depth of emotional pain and despair that the only way I could respond was to go in a quasi-catatonic state. I never thought of it as true catatonia, given that it’s depicted almost like a coma in movies and television, but this morning’s dream and my subsequent Googling lead me to believe yes, indeed, I did sometimes revert into a form of “withdrawn” catatonia and for one simple reason: to protect myself when I felt no one else would.

And that’s it. That’s my entry for today. Cheery right? I remember being told by a coworker who had read my posts that my site was “dark”. But I don’t think so. I think this is just life and I’m not afraid to talk about it. To me it’s neither “good” nor “bad”, “light” or “heavy”, “light” or “dark”. It just is. An experience. Another day. One life story, or snapshots of it, at least. Yet it does say something when some will, after trying every other avenue to resolve an ongoing trauma, will, consciously or otherwise, choose to hide so deep inside their body they barely move, think, or make a sound. Trauma will do that to a person. And I’ve had more than my fair share.

Another day, another post.



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