Last night, while in a pharmaceutically-induced sleep, I dreamed I was in an MRI machine (a frequent occurrence) being sprinkled with salad toppings by various relatives (a less frequent occurrence). I kept insisting that they needed to let me out or I would miss my American Idol audition, which is ridiculous because American Idol is no longer on the air.
These sorts of wacky dreams are common for me. I daydream like this as well. All the time. During grad school, I passed (or failed depending on how you look at it) the tests that confirmed ADHD. “H” is for hyperactivity would make an amazing Sesame Street episode. I believe that my various physical struggles limit my musculature from expressing said hyperactivity so it all bottlenecks in my nervous system, creating monster dreams, too many words that could ever come out of one mouth, and daydreams that make me ideal for hanging out with 7-year-olds but tend to limit my professionalism with grown-ups.
All of this makes me quite anxious or maybe I was anxious in the beginning. Either way, I’ve tried for a long time to shut off my dream world. I believed that denying all of this impulsive mental pinballing would help me fit somewhere. (You see some anxious people start to label stuff as broken in them and this makes it harder and harder to believe they could ever naturally belong…so updating your personality to a newer version will finally eliminate the bugs.) Suppressing dreams only seems to have intensified my struggles, however.
Years ago, I met someone who would eventually become a mentor and friend, to be called Dr. Mentor in this story (which looks a lot like dementor when I type it…did Rowling mean for these creatures that truly terrify me to represent the exact opposite effect of what a true mentor does…like Dumbledore is to Harry…mind. blown.). Anyway, Dr. Mentor has this laugh. It is a wonderful, infectious laugh. Dr. Mentor has wisdom, but is not flashy with it (though has every right to be). Dr. Mentor has gone through tremendous heartache and modeled vulnerability, faith, strength, humility, grace, and through it all, how to keep dreaming.
Dr. Mentor likes my dream world and makes it feel safe to express it. I would even say that Dr. Mentor nurtures my dreams. Then dreams turn into action and I’m living in a world of possibilities instead of limitations.
I hope everyone gets to have a Dr. Mentor and then eventually gets to become one to someone else. It’s a game changer.
Reflections on lessons learned from being a therapist and adoptive dad.