Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anxiety and dreams

After the way my day started yesterday, I thought that I would have nothing but a great evening and some good sleep.  Unfortunately,  I had a sad conversation with a friend, slept badly and had terrible nightmares.

I have written before about my friend D. who has been in a recovery program for nearly two decades.  Because of the decline in demand for the type of work that he does, he hasn't been employed for a while.  He has had a long-time dream to get his Captain's license.  And for the past few months, he has been studying hard to sit for the exam.

That all sounds good, but he doesn't have a good grasp of even the fundamentals of algebra.  A simple equation such as the 60D=S x T equation makes no sense to him.  I have gone over this with him, showing him how to solve for S and T.  He just can't seem to grasp it.  Last night, he was trying to work on some basic problems for the piloting part of the exam.  He felt utterly defeated because he did not understand the math concept.

I listened as he explained that he never did have any scholastic skills but was simply passed along in school.  And now, he thinks that his dream of becoming a captain will not be realized.  He has no idea what he is suited to do, other than dig ditches.  He is out of money and down on his luck.  Of course,  I felt terrible for him.  And I have suspected for some time that he may have ADD.  I want to encourage him to keep trying but can see how frustrating it is to not be able to understand some of the concepts needed to pass the exam.

School was easy for me.  So when I see a good friend struggling, I want to help.  But the math that comes easily to me, seems like Greek to him.  I am sure that there are tutors who work with learning disabled people and would do a much better job than I at explaining the basics.  But I realize that it is not up to me to make these suggestions to him.  I cannot fix this problem.  I may want to, but I can't make him succeed and achieve his dream.

So after our conversation,  I read for a long time hoping to relax.  I suppose though that the old anxieties of mine were awakened.  I had one terrible nightmare after another.  I was being chased by people who were trying to kill me, including my own mother.  I was being shot at and running for my life.  I jumped out the second floor of my childhood home and ran next door to my grandmother's house to escape the killers.   But my grandmother didn't believe me and let them in.

These dreams are in vivid color and seem so real.  I woke up, pulling myself out of the terror, and stayed awake for a long time not wanting to go back to sleep.  What kind of snakes are coming out of my head to cause such dreams?  I don't know but thought that they had something to do with anxiety awakened in me--fear of failure, unease about people, new challenges that are coming?

Thankfully, today has been laid back.  I went to a birthday party for a friend, went down to the marina and talked with some friends there, talked with D. who feels much more positive today, talked with my sponsor to make sure he is okay since there have been some health issues lately, and am now getting ready to read a bit before turning in. 

I am glad that I have a much more positive feeling tonight than I did last night.  I know that all will be okay for those that I love.  I have a lot of trust in my Higher Power.  I am not the solution, simply a fellow traveler on the road.

Sweet dreams to you.


  1. i am glad you are feling better as well...those are some nasty dreams...shame about your friend...question...are you saying it is wrong to make the suggestion to him? it would be up to him to follow but i struggle with not offering a friend that is struggling an idea that may help would that be different than suggesting AA or Al-anon to someone...

  2. The hard part is he doesn't accept that he has a LD. I have made suggestions in the past about being tested for ADD, but he scoffs at that. Not much that I can do other than listen.

  3. may you have a more restful sleep tonight. dreams can be quite unsettling for me- good or bad, I try to figure them out which can be fruitless.

  4. I agree with Brian....a friend can share what they see and leave the action part of the equation up to the individual. Btw...I would be lost if I had to math work like that in my real life to. Poor guy.

    I'm sorry about your bad dreams...a bad nights sleep is like torture! Glad you are feeling better today.

  5. I make suggestions to friends but then having to detach from the outcome is difficult for me. This care giving is sometimes not asked for but I seem to know what is best?
    I am not sure giving up my role is going to be easy these days it has followed me deeply into a couple of friends lives. Oh well glad I have a program to guide me through it all.

  6. I tutor two 5 year old's. neither of which can get all the way through the alphabet. You are so right Syd. I am not their solution. Until they succeed. Then I guess I will become their solution because I will not quit on them.

  7. I am quite certain that I would not be able to grasp the algebra your friend is struggling with either. Funny, I can do statistics like crazy, but cannot understand algebra... and they say you cannot do one without the other. I wouldn't think I have a learning disability though.

    I hope you had sweet dreams last night Syd. It looks like you are getting younger!

  8. I totally understand D's issue with algebra. I'm afraid in that area I'm in the same boat.

    I can do simple math and if there is an artistic pattern involved I can see in pictures so I do well with spreadsheets, but algebra... has never been easy for me.

    I'm glad there are careers that can use other gifts and I'm glad I'm willing to pray and seek out the talents and gifts I've been given.

  9. Sorry to hear about your dreams Syd. I understand when you explain how vivid they are and in color. I get those as well.

    It is great to hear your an AlAteen sponsor. That is really cool!

    Blessings and HUGS,

  10. Perhaps something in your interaction with your friend touched a soft spot in your mind causing the bad dreams. I have been the receipent of many shaken dreams where I was fearful of going back to sleep.Its very frightening, but thank God it passes.

    Its too bad he wont agree to be tested, but I guess his denial is going to have to hurt before faced. He is lucky to have you as a friend.

  11. Yep. Anxiety is a bugger and no matter how well we think we are, it can come out to remind us that our minds can be murky places. BUT, it's not real, we know that, we can look forward to better dreams.

  12. I hope you slept better last night, Syd. I hate those sorts of dreams. You wake up more tired than when you went to bad.

    I have dreams where I am being chased a lot.

    Love you.

  13. i know how he feels, i do not get math. i am willing to try but i feel i would fail as well i do not have a scientific brain. my "A" and my wes both do.

    my sister is struggling through her simple algebra and when they were talking about the equations i could actually follow along a little. but she does not understand the work from the previous chapter and it is a linear equation. right now she is at 80 percent which i think is wonderful, however we learned that her daughter did her homework for her. this is an online math class and i was not happy to hear that.

    we just need to let them make their decisions. it sounds like your friend is more healthy than my sister and may actually be willing to hear a suggestion. my sister will beat her head against the wall for a while and then probably let her daughter do her homework.

  14. Sorry to hear that you had a bad night.Sadly stuff happens like that.

  15. I'm pretty sure I have ADD, and I can't do algebra to save my life. I am, however, an A English student and can write some killer essays. Some people are great writers, others are good at small engine repair. I think everyone has their forte, you just gotta find it and go with it.

  16. Sometimes offering a hand can mean helping show someone another path and sometimes it means patting them on the back as continue on their path. I think you are a good friend and I am glad that dark night has passed for you. Sweet dreams...


  17. I had to comment on this algebra issue. I was always told I was terrible at math and I believed it. I didn't go to college in my 20's for a lot of reasons but mainly because I didn't think I could do the math. I did finally go back at 40 and actually got all A's even in Algebra. I just had to find the right person to explain it to me. I have a creative mind and with the right teacher, I did get it. My ex would try to explain it and would end up yelling at me and that made me feel like a child. So don't give up on your friend, if you want to help, just use a different approach. I actually loved Algebra when it was all over.

  18. ? might be that you were picking up on his anxiety. i cn become keenly aware of strong emotions in other people, and can get their feelings as if by osmosis if i am in the same room as them. not nice if they are disturbed or very sad. Can happen at work.

    yes sounds frustrating trying to help him. not easy.
    well there are many ways to make a living that may not involve having to learn algerbra.
    Over here university lecturers are retraining to become plumbers because the pay is better. so who knows eh?

    soaking for 10mins in a salt bath is good if you have been in close contact with disturbed or negative people.
    Google sea salt bath. there are many references online.. Mind you, you are right next to the sea which is the same thing :) but baths with tons of salt in are good too..–-a-nurturing-way-to-wash-away-negative-energy-and-debilitating-thought-forms


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