The anxiety dreams play out like an absurdist suspense film

Yesterday, I was thinking about the dream I’d had a few nights ago of being shot in the head.

I was in Mallorca involved in some sort of espionage. I was shot by a man in civilian clothing while a man wearing an army uniform watched on. They were on opposite sides. I was slumped against a wall watching an exchange between them. After the men had left in separate vehicles, I managed to get to my feet, seemingly undead and entered a bar where I received help. I was taken in a taxi to the place I was staying, a disused farmhouse and I collected together my belongings.

At some point, I was transported to London. I found myself disoriented in an underground shopping arcade. People looked at me strangely and I had persistent pain on the side of my head where I had been shot. I wore a tailored grey suit and a black raincoat but I felt out of time from the people around me. Disoriented, I felt I needed to get to Euston station. I searched for landmarks I recognised but the landscape shifted continuously. At one point I was near the Barbican but couldn’t get close to it because I was frightened of the towers.

I managed to find my way to high ground. To the south, London stretched out below me and to the north, I could see Sheffield in the distance. I sat down on a bench feeling defeated. I don’t remember anything after that.

I don’t think there is anything to understand from this. The only reason it received more thought than any other dream is the fact I was shot in the head and this the only time I can remember this happening.

My escitalopramic dreams are often coherent, very vivid and absurd. Sometimes even the anxiety dreams play out like an absurdist suspense film. The nightmares can be rough, though.

5.51 am. A soft rain is falling sending icy air in through the window. The light is grey. The occasional car passes. I want to be asleep. The brown cat is restless.

I should give in and get up. I’ve been lying here awake for over an hour now.

I should have got up! I fell asleep and dreamed I was cannibalised! First time for that too!

Rainy day. Rainy night. Hardly seems like August. Although, for a change, the dreary weather hasn’t left me depressed more indifferent. Is that an improvement?

Blue morning. 5.53 am. I can’t hear the rain, just your breathing. The light is bluey through the curtains. I can hear the rain now on the window. Another rainy day ahead.

Should I get up? Make a cup of tea and some toast. Or should I try and fall asleep?

6.06 am. Simon’s sitting at his desk with a cup of coffee. It’s another night he hasn’t slept. Outside his fourth floor flat, the landscape is brightening, it is raining and the light is grey. He swallows the rest of coffee. The world is waking up and strangely he feels less alone. He looks out at the rain, the distant hills and cars heading towards town. He goes to the bathroom and brushes his teeth. He gets into bed. He knows he’ll wake up at midday feeling awful but there is something about this time just before falling asleep when everything feels like it’ll be all right.

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The withdrawal effects of reducing escitalopram continue

2 am. Drunk on bourbon. In bed. The television is loud. I feel disoriented and strange. 2 am. 20°C. Summer. I am in limbo. I don’t know what to feel. How to feel.

I can hear the clouds moving across the night sky. Obscuring the stars. Obscuring the planets. Passing under satellites and other astronomical objects. I can feel their movement it comes in through the window and moves across my exposed face. It is cooling and soothing.

The television voice is loud. I don’t like it.

Thunder rolls. The sky is the colour of slate with a band of white where it meets the distant houses and trees.

When the rain has stopped I walk to the shop and buy a bottle of wine. On the way back the sun shines on the wet roads and pavements. My trainers shine so brightly they look like that ’80s music video. Each time I pass a puddle the reflection of the sun dazzles me. Clear sky above me now.

I have been cutting the escitalopram dose down for 5 days now. I would like to be able to function on the lowest dose by the time I restart university in September. I hope the reduced dose will combat a lot of cognitive difficulties I suffer with. Furthermore, the escitalopramic fog. Trouble is I am experiencing some mild side-effects from reducing the dose, sometimes, I feel a little disconnected and I’m getting brain shivers.

1.26 am. The whistling in my ears is unbearably loud.

11.01 am. Doctor’s surgery waiting room. The bus took ages. My head feels fuzzy. I have a dull headache. The world feels off today. The waiting room is warm and close. A man is debating with his toddler daughter whether seaweed is edible or not. She insists it’s not. But he explains it is and full of iron. She’s not convinced. She thinks daddy is being silly.

I feel strange: distant and disconnected. The flooring glitters, I’m not sure what the material is, something hard-wearing I suppose. My head thuds without much spirit.

The children in the waiting room all seem at ease. When I was young I always sat very still feeling very anxious. It all seemed very clinical, the tubal metal and wood chairs, the white tiled walls; my memory of it is a vast space of whiteness with rows of chairs laid out facing four doors which led to the doctors’ treatment rooms with a window-fronted reception between them. The receptionist would slide a glass panel (often brusquely) open to deal with patients. I think that this clinic has been demolished now. There was a pharmacy across the road with a large green tiled cross on the side, in the 1960s style. There were also public toilets near the entrance of the clinic and I hated passing them as they always reeked of urine, disinfectant and strange men.

11.32 am. Still waiting. The receptionist and a patient discuss the weather. It’s raining.

Drizzly grey Wednesday. Back from the doctors. I have just told you about my dream of being shot in the head so I won’t repeat it here.

The withdrawal effects of reducing escitalopram continue. Blankness and fog. My GP suggested I might be withdrawing too quickly, I think he is probably right.

The weather is depressing. Everything is fucking depressing. Grey. Grey. Grey.

Afternoons in the rain.

This is a boring letter. It just moves the story forward.

Grey day.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark

As human beings, we need pillows to support our necks. In the evening the sun shines. In the day the sky is grey.

I am the person at the window. I am the one watching. I only watch. I cannot keep them from trouble. I only watch.

The warmth rises. It fills the space. It blocks your nose. It blocks your ears. It disorientates your senses. Where am I? Where is this? What are those flashing lights?

Trouble is, we forget. Who is bad. You see. We forget.

So I have been asleep for a few hours since I started writing to you. It is now almost midnight. I don’t know what I have written before this. (What I write as I am falling asleep is usually nonsense!) I only know what I am writing now.

The room is dark. Except for the light from my phone and the display on the tower fan which says 22°C. The world is still. Right now. I think the window is closed. You are in the bathroom.

I dreamt of the same house twice. First, last night then again tonight. But I can’t remember my dream from tonight, except I was back in that house.

A car drives past breaking the silence.

Now, it is just the ringing in my ears again. The constant high-pitched ringing. Ringing is wrong. It sounds like a continuous flow of sound. Whistling. Yes, whistling is better.

Midnight. 12.00 am. Zero hour.

It is now tomorrow. It is now today.

The sound in my ears is making me feel nauseous.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark. My sinuses are blocked. My face is lit by my phone I can see it out of the corner of my eye reflected in the mirror.

I am sitting in the living room now. You have headphones over your ears and you are playing a game. The hum in the living room competes with the whistling in my ears.

It’s now after two. You are brushing your teeth and I am lying on top of the candlewick bedspread with the red cat. The light is on. It is very late. No sounds outside just the constant whistling in my ears.

2.30 am. Upstairs with a glass of Laphroaig. I have to go to the doctor’s surgery first thing tomorrow to pick up the letter from my GP. I am going to be very tired.

In bed. 4.10 am. Not tired. Headache. Escitalopram yawns. It is very quiet and still. Very pleasant. Just your breathing and the whistling. There is cool air coming in through the window. I can feel it on the back of my neck. I keep clenching my jaw, another escitalopram side-effect. Why am I suddenly getting side-effects after a year?

The brown cat is somewhere in the room I can hear her bell. A car passes heading towards town. The world will be waking up soon but I don’t want to think that. Because I want to sleep.

I am clenching my jaw again. It is making my headache worse. I hope it’s sunny in the morning when I walk over to the doctors. Nice dry heat and the sun on my face.

I ought to try and fall asleep. Maybe I’ll read for a while. My moon is upstairs, charging. I put the potatoes away in the fridge if you are looking for them.

Cath can’t sleep. She is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of milky tea. Outside the window, she can hear the papers being delivered to the local shop. She swallows the last of her tea. The papers have been the delivered and the van has driven away. The world is still again. She goes to the bathroom, urinates, washes her hands and swallows an Ambien with a handful of water from the tap. She goes back to the kitchen eats a biscuit from the tin. Turns out the lights and goes to bed.

There is a strange stillness to the movement

Sleeplessness is here again. It is very still tonight. Very little sound from outside the window. There is a slight chill to the air. If I listen hard I can hear the wind. I think. The window is closed. I think.

It has been a grey day. Another grey and rainy July day. Later today the sun will be back. I don’t mind grey days but right now they’re depressing me. Shutting your curtains to the grey dreary rain seems like a autumn and winter pursuit.

I suddenly feel very tired.

I have been using a blue light filter on my phone and computer for about a week. Since I’ve put them on I haven’t really used either device at night so I can’t say if they’re working to reduce my sleeplessness.

Lorraine is lying in her underwear on top of the covers of a bed in a Premier Inn near the Dutch Quarter in Colchester. It’s 4 pm and she’s thinking through the last twenty-four hours. It’s 27ºC. And she can’t get the fucking air-conditioner to work properly. She would call reception but she doesn’t want to get dressed instead she props herself up on elbow and takes the bottle of Southern Comfort from the side of the bed and swallows a mouthful. She is half-drunk. She wipes her mouth and puts the bottle back.

A car passes. Now there is no sound again apart from your breathing. And what sounds like rushing blood in my left ear which is pressed against the pillow. Tomorrow I must collect my letter from the doctor.

I’m sure I can feel a breeze. Maybe it’s a ghost blowing its icy breath on the back of my neck. The temperature has dropped by two degrees. It is now 17ºC. A gust of wind outside and cool air caresses the side of my face. The window is open, I hadn’t realised, the world is so quiet tonight.

It’s raining so softly that you can hardly hear it. But can feel it. And you can smell it.

The brown cat is asleep by my feet.

Since I woke up after dinner my mood has been flat. I don’t feel low or empty or bored. Just flat. We watched Twin Peaks and there were parts I should have enjoyed but I didn’t feel anything. I know this feeling doesn’t last.

A car passes. Driving quickly towards the moors. Now silence. The sound is flat: no noise from the car as disappears into the distance. Not that could see it, except in my mind.

The soft rain is back. Breaking the stillness. And wind picks up again. You stir next to me and the temperature drops another degree.

Another car is approaching. It turns off the main road and it’s gone. Lost in the stillness.

I look at the curtains and there is no movement but I can feel the air move around me. It smells icy and floral. There is a strange stillness to the movement that my brain is too tired to understand or explain.

Alexander stirs next to Wiktoria. He is dreaming of playing tennis but everytime the ball is hit towards him he can’t move his arm. He sees the ball in slow motion but he can’t do anything about it. Wiktoria isn’t dreaming. She is in a dreamless zopiclone sleep.

It has rained all day

It is 13°C in the bedroom. Last week it was 31°C. It is just after midnight. I had the window open, I was enjoying the sound of the cold wind. I have closed it now and put the fan on. I used to hate the sound the fan made made but recently I’ve begun to enjoy its white noise.

The brown cat is sleeping next to me. My neck aches from sleeping, I assume, in an odd position. Probably the current stresses are aggravating it too. Today has been a bad day. I have felt nauseous and low. And you have felt low. It has rained all day. Cool rain. But it’s really depressed me. Two days of greyness.

We fell asleep after dinner. Though, I can’t remember going to bed.  I was going to get up and do some work but I had a sudden attack of low blood pressure turning the world grey and fuzzy and leaving me nauseous.

The fire alarm pips have started again. They sound every 30 seconds or so. I could time them. But I’m not going to. Remember that storm a couple of years ago that tore the felt from the dormer window in our bedroom and it leaked for a few nights before they came and fixed it? I remember the drips became consistent and I was so sleepless and so bored that I counted the drips and worked out how many fell per hour and how many would fall before the leak was fixed. I even worked out velocity of each drop using GCSE physics. I drew the line at going to get the scales to work how much was falling in each drop. But I remember we emptied several buckets worth.

This is ridiculous. I’m tempted to get up and chew a quarter of a sleeping tablet, just to help facilitate sleep. But I don’t want the hangover that I might get tomorrow, I have too much to do.

Fuck it, I’m going to take one. Back shortly.

Quarter of a tablet swallowed with a glass of navy rum and a biscuit. Here’s to sleep.

I’m upstairs sitting at my computer reading the news headlines on the BBC. The red cat has joined me. He is curled up purring softly to himself. I’m waiting for the pill to take effect. The malfunctioning fire alarm is outside my room. Its pips make me wince. It would be foolish to take the battery out. I’ll get a new one tomorrow when I go to the post office.

I’m going to go back to bed and read I think. It sounds stormy outside. I much prefer the sounds on this side of the flat. No traffic noise.

We know that each fragment must have some importance

I cannot believe we’re in bed before midnight. I’m so tired at the moment; tired and overwhelmed. For us both to be in bed at the same time makes it feel much later than 11.18 pm. People are still up. Cheryl is watching the late news while Joe puts away the dishes. Jenny is making the kids’ sandwiches for their lunches tomorrow while Keith masturbates in the den.

See we’re in bed but the world is still spinning. But in a way it feels like we’re in a isolation chamber with the darkness and the fan blaring out its white noise. Like, it could quite easily be 3 am. Everything feels still and calm.

I can’t hear the passing cars, the late night buses. The lorries taking sheets of metal to a factory somewhere in South Wales. The driver hoping to get there before 3 am so he can have a beer, read a little Dick Francis then get some sleep before he delivers his load at 8 am. Although, thinking about it maybe it’s an all night factory and he can just deliver the metal and get a sandwich in the canteen with a steaming cup of greasy coffee and make it back before 9 am. Then he can get up with plenty of time to take Kitty to the swings before he starts his next shift.

Fragments. Just fragments. All you want to do is put the pieces together and for it all to the make sense. You know, to see the full picture. Instead we are overwhelmed by fragments. We know that each fragment must have some importance, must have relevance. It must be part of picture we are making. So we worry about the fragments.

I’m going to light up my moon and read for a while. Hopefully I’ll fall into dreams soon. I don’t want to awake everything is too much presently. I’m struggling to cope.

So, I’ll light up my moon and read.

Low.

Low.

Low.