I often feel like I have another life…. one that I can only access when I am asleep.
Although I can sometimes feel frustrated about the amount of time that I spend in bed, it is needed for me to be able to function and feel vaguely human, as many who have chronic illnesses will understand. But there is another aspect to sleep that I appreciate – the dreams. And this is where my other life comes in.
In my dreams, I do not have multiple sclerosis. I have my old life back, one without tiredness, mobility problems, a scooter. In my dreams I walk. And I walk and I walk. Usually around cities. Its almost like it is a subconscious thing – like my brain knows that I can’t walk well so it gives me every opportunity to do it when I am asleep.
There is a quote from Cinderella that makes me think: “a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you are fast asleep”
I think that sounds about right – in my dreams, I don’t have MS, because I wish I didn’t have it. But more than that, in my dreams, I don’t have MS, because MS is not me. Ok, so it plays a big role in my life, it makes it challenging and difficult, but it is not who I am. I am still the person who loves to explore and loves to walk… I just find it challenging. In my dreams, I never talk about my MS. In reality, I sometimes feel like it is the only thing that I think of and often conversations with others revolve around how I’m feeling, about how I am struggling with work, due to my MS symptoms.
I had a lovely night out last week, when my husband and I went out for dinner at a local tapas restaurant. The theme was ‘hygge’ – the Danish word for the feeling of cosiness. Think low lighting, warm socks, sharing with friends. We shared a table at the restaurant with people that we had never met before – normally one of my eek! moments – but it was lovely and relaxing and I didn’t mention my MS once!
So, I’ve decided that I need to embrace these dreams. Embrace the fact that they allow me to live my ‘old’ life, even if it just for a short while and accept the fact that I will wake feeling wistful for the way things used to be. And I need to make sure that I don’t let my MS to take over my life – no matter how hard it tries. Regular catch ups with friends, picking up a new hobby or two, doing more of what I love, within my limitations, will all help with this, so adjusting my work-life balance may be in order.
I do wonder sometimes if MS will factor in my dreams at some point. To be honest, I don’t want it to, but I guess as time passes, it becomes more likely.
For those of you with illnesses – do they ever feature in your dreams?