I sit quietly at the table, feeling small and insignificant. My head is bowed and my heart heavy. My Mom sits to my left. Her arms crossed and lips pursed into a thin, tight line. My father sits to my right. He is talking, low and fast. So many words spill from his mouth but all I hear is “We are disappointed in you.”
His words sink in and mix with my blood, flowing to every corner of my being and choking the best parts of myself. This news does not surprise me. I always knew, deep down, that I was a disappointment. A gnat to be swatted and forgotten. My belly responds to this knowledge with a sharp pain of confirmation and I shift uncomfortably in my hard chair.
Looking at my parents, their frustration and regret is evident from the clench in my Mom’s jaw to my Dad’s furrowed brow. How embarrassed they must be to call me daughter. They are so good; I am so bad. I want to slide off my chair and lay on the cool linoleum floor. To wither away until all that remains is bits of ash.
A disappointment. That’s me. A disappointment. Me. Me. Me. Tanya is a disappointment.
Again and again. Over and Over. I am a disappointment.
My pain rescinds as the dark abyss beckons, and I consider surrendering to the numbness and sanctuary my depression offers me.
A soft breeze flows through our stale kitchen. I feel a light caress and a calm voice whispers gently in my ear. “Look outside.”
So I do. I see my Dad’s shop, the barn and a tractor.
I do. But still all I see is my Dad’s shop, the barn and a tractor.
This time I really look. My Dad’s shop, the barn and a … tractor. But that’s not our tractor. That’s the tractor from the photo I used in a website I was designing.
I don’t understand but the calm voice continues to tell me to look closer. I turn my attention to the kitchen and reevaluate what I see. My parents are still at the table with me. Still upset. Still disappointed but … the fog is starting to lift and the truth lies underneath.
“The kitchen table, “I whisper”. “It’s not right. It’s the one from my childhood, but my parents remodeled the kitchen years ago. I don’t understand.”
I shake my head, trying to clear the lingering wisps of fog. “Is this a dream?”
I hear a faint “yes” as I wake-up in the here and now. I’m in LA, not my childhood home. Max is sprawled next to me, asleep and blissfully unaware of my fading nightmare. My heart still hammers and my stomach still aches, so even though it wasn’t real, my heart and soul believed, “I am a disappointment”.
Your Mind is Both a Friend and a Foe
I’m sharing a very personal dream with you because it has been two months since my dream and I’m still dealing with the aftermath. That day and many days afterwards, I could still hear echoes of “I’m a disappointment” in my head. I know it’s a lie but it still hurts, more than a knife to the heart ever could.
I have to remind myself that it not true; my parents are not disappointed in me. They have been extremely supportive and make a point to tell me how proud they are of me. To buoy me up because they know the water is murky and rough for me some days.
Our minds are truly magical. Mine paints such vivid pictures and spurs my imagination to great heights. It makes me believe in possibilities; it gives me hope. It can also be a real douche bag too. I must never forget that either.
I am the Captain of My Dreams and Nightmares
The unfortunate reality is that we have many dreams that we don’t remember. Ones where we get our asses kicked and lose big-time. The remnants of those dreams, especially those that mimic reality or our deepest fears, can really wreak havoc on our well-being, whether you suffer from depression or not. Our dreams or nightmares can affect us in little and big ways — to just feeling a bit off to believing the lies they tell us.
I am the Captain of My Dreams and Nightmares. I can control who the victor is and it will always be me. There may be times when a nightmare envelopes me when I am not aware enough to fight back in the moment, but I can pay attention to how I feel every morning. To recognize when a nightmare left some unwanted deposits in my soul like — doubt, fear and anger. I can fight those enemies. And most importantly, win.
Have you ever had such a vivid dream/nightmare? How do you combat them when they feed you lies?