Last night I had the most vivid dream. Seeing inside a small attic I was watching a variation of different personalities. Some male, some female. Different clothes, different styles. Assertive, submissive, angry, feminine, individual, flighty, arty, professional, controlling, even a drunk in the corner that didn’t want to be part of any of it. In my dream I was aware that these were representations of the different parts of me. I have no idea how I knew that, I just did, and the attic was my mind. I stood, unknown, an unseen, listening and watching these characters all that I could identify with living in the attic, becoming strong at different times. Being needed at different times. Sometimes becoming uncomfortable to watch.
Then the attic began to clear out, and I was left in the apparent emptiness. I stood for a while considering all the parts of me I had witnessed and then I heard a voice, strained and slight.
There curled into the foetul position was young adult. Naked aside from a dirty blanket, too small, part covering her. She was bloody from old, untreated injuries. She was terribly malnourished, her skin almost transculent. Her eyes dark and sunken. So weak and frail. A bony arm tried to reach out. She saw me. And I realised in that instance I had forgotten her. I crouched next to her and knew her chances of survival were slim if barely at all.
I wanted to apologise. I knew her degraded state was my fault. Her sadness was breath taking.
I knew that this must be the representation of my inner child.
There has been a lot of talk in the group therapy and in my counselling about the inner child. At first I was cynical. But gradually I have warmed to the idea and it makes a great deal of sense to me. Over recent weeks I have tried to connect more with my inner child. To learn about myself, my tantrums and fears and to an extent where I have become emotionally stunted to an age where the trauma and my upbringing had stopped me from growing.
This dream is the first type of it’s kind for me. I found it harrowing to say the least.
Although I haven’t suffered severe neglect or malnourishment, my body has been treated brutally. As a child I wasn’t given the affection and consistency that a child needs in a healthy environment and I struggle with the possibility of abuse in childhood. Being raped as a young teenager took its toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. In my abusive relationship I was physically hurt, sexually hurt and humiliated, locked in rooms, stripped of my clothes, my dignity, feared for my life.
The toll of this trauma has been self loathing, self harm, breakdowns, relying on various medications. I have been in so many states of depression, numbness, psychosis, denial, anger, confusion, fear, mania-the whole spectrum that I sometimes doubt my true mood.
The only truth I know is that deep down there is a little girl inside of me. And she’s terrified. She’s lonely. Her tears – when she’s allowed to cry, her painful and unrelenting grief. She’s confused.
But I have stifled her. Like so many others have.
So I consider in that dream I saw a representation of her, of me. The forgotten. The left behind. The dirty, shameful secret.
When I woke up I was in a cold sweat, wrapped tightly in the feotul position, presumably for some time, my back ached painfully. My limbs felt like I’d been on a long car journey. I had to get up and walk around, properly stretch myself out. The image of the girl still strong in my mind.
Sleep was hard after that. I felt anxious. Haunted. Uncomfortable.
I’m not sure how to move past that dream. It might all have just been a meaningless dream, but my instinct tells me there is more to this.