Skip to main content

Ten Plagues

I dreamed about ants this morning.  Little black ants, covering every surface.  Gnats, too -- so thick I had to breathe them.  There was some kind of family gathering going on, pretty much oblivious to the ants and the gnats.

I woke up and thought -- the ten plagues.  [See Exodus, the second book in the Bible.  The Prince of Egypt was based on it.]  Then I remembered, last month in Costa Rica I woke up one morning from a dream and thought -- the ten plagues.  I don't remember which plague that one was.  Frogs?  Blood?  It wasn't the deaths of the first-born.  I would remember that, being one myself.

I get these dream series every so often.  For a couple years before I went back to school, I dreamed about vehicles that broke down.  The tire went flat, the axle broke, the runner fell off the sled... The first couple years of my current episode, I dreamed of a young man.  I thought his name was Steve.  I thought he was my depression, though he didn't like it when I called him that.  He always felt threatening in some way.  Then I took a leave of absence from work and learned to work with my dreams.  And in the end, he was always helpful.

I don't remember ever having a series of good dreams.  Why is that?

This morning I told Helen about my dream.  Helen is a spiritual director, and her favorite thing is dream work.  She said, "If you have a bad dream and do dream work with it, you allow it to be instructive and productive, grace-filled and gift.  If you don't do dream work with it, it will continue to feel like just a bad dream."

That proved true with Steve.  So I did a bit of work.  I carried the story forward.  I wonder which plague comes next.

Let this woman go!
photo in public domain

Comments

  1. I wonder if Steve will show up again as the Orkin Man. (Sorry to sound flip about this, but in dreams, anything can happen.)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Mental Health Care as our Institutions Fail

There are twelve psychiatrists in Zimbabwe for a population of 16 million people. When Dixon Chibanda, one of the twelve lost a patient to suicide because she could not afford the $15 bus fare to get to her appointment, he did not blame her for breaking the appointment. He came up with another system to deliver mental health care. He trained grandmothers.



We also have barriers to psychiatric care in the US. Some of these barriers are similar to Zimbabwe's, distance and lack of providers.

There are less than ten psychiatrists for 100,000 people in eastern Oregon, an area with one of the highest suicide rates in the country. An overworked psychiatrist in eastern Oregon came home one day to find seven cows in his driveway. They were not his cows. It was not the first time. Who knows what his day/week/year had been like. He snapped. He shot seven cows, killing six of them.

Unfortunately, he botched the job. The community might have been understanding if he had shot them in the head. …

A Common Struggle - A Review

In A Common Struggle, Patrick Kennedy tells the story that only he can tell.

There are many memoirs of depression, bipolar, co-morbid substance abuse, families that keep secrets, and recovery. Lately there are memoirs that combine a personal story with a cause: get help, get the right diagnosis, find people who can support you, advocate for better treatment.

Kennedy's unique perspective is the insider's view on the long-term national political work of improving mental health care.

His aunt Eunice lobbied for better care for people with mental disabilities and started the Special Olympics. That issue was combined with mental health care in the Community Mental Health Centers Act signed by his uncle John in 1963. His father Edward spend his whole career advancing the cause of universal health care.

Patrick's contribution to his family's record of public service is The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

For political neophytes Kennedy's book is a master c…

Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain

Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

David L. Conroy had me at the opening sentence.  I read it first at Metanoia.org and knew it came from somebody who had been there.  I recommend the website for help and insight from the insider's perspective.  If you are thinking about suicide, read this first.