Mental Health

Six Cats and a Black Dog: Banana Keyboards and Other Unsettling Thoughts/Dreams

Donna Brown1681 views
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Update 13/5/2016: After reading this week about how Mendeleev conceived of the periodic table in a dream, I’ve decided to trust my dreaming thoughts a little more. Of course, I’m no Mendeleev, as my “banana notice” dream pretty much illustrates…

Blog for Mental HealthLast year I made a Blog For Mental Health pledge. Sadly, there is no pledge in 2016 and the Blog for Mental Health site is no longer being curated, though it is currently still accessible. However, this was a wonderful project (and it ran for several years) and I’m truly glad it got me blogging about this subject, albeit less regularly than I’d like!

Banana Keyboards and Other Unsettling Thoughts/Dreams

I have never been a particularly good sleeper. I have long since been a particularly good dreamer. Or bad depending on your perspective. I have woken up terrified or in tears or angry or frustrated. Ridiculously happy or buoyed up too, so it’s far from all bad. I thought (hoped?) that the vivid dreams would eventually pass but they haven’t. I’m left wondering if this is such a bad thing. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise and I need to find a way to make better use of this nocturnal adventuring.

I once had a dream that I was typing my letter of notice on a keyboard but the keyboard was actually a banana. It was rested in my palm and every time it smushed up too much I would rearrange it and then continue. At the time I was having a difficult and frustrating period at work so I understood the notice letter. The banana? Not so much. (Please don’t mention Freud. Please.)

PenguinOther very strange dreams I have had include visiting an iceberg with my grandmother where she shook hands with some penguins. This was long after my grandmother had died and I had no idea how we got there or why we were there. But, hey, penguins…

Dave once woke me and got a real telling off. I can’t even remember what I said but something about how I was trying to work out the economics of something for school children and didn’t he understand how important it was. I only know this from what he has told me. It is one of many conversations I have had with him and have no recollection of.

Sometimes, however, I have very vivid and real dreams that don’t include bananas or penguins or economic lectures and for reasons I can’t explain, these unnerve me much more. You know that feeling when you’re sure something really key has happened and you just can’t put your finger on it? They leave me feeling like that. A hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach as the thought ‘What am I missing?’ lingers.

Often I have dreams that I am more than happy to let go. Fear or anxiety dog me over breakfast and I am relieved to shake those off. Some dreams I want to hold on to and maybe those are the most unsettling. I have a life full of possibility and interesting times. I don’t need to hold on to something my imagination has conjured up. Or maybe I do. Maybe that’s how we push ourselves ever further forward. The problem with never really feeling like you can fully trust your brain even in your waking hours means you are far less likely to pay attention to some strange witching hour ideas you might very well have pulled from thin air.

When is a dream not a dream? Maybe when it’s a hope that we’re not brave enough to recognise in our fully conscious times. Maybe a better question is how do we know when to trust a dreaming thought any more than we trust a waking thought? How do I really know I have never had a great idea in a dream that just returned to me more coherently during my hours awake? The more I think about it, the more I want to explore these ideas (perhaps that’s my summer project calling).

Or maybe I just need some more sleep. With no bananas or penguins, thank you very much!

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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