Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's my party - or is it?

I've always been morbidly fascinated with mental derangement and distortions of consciousness, and particularly with amnesia and other disruptions of accurate memory. However, being far too nervous a soul ever to have experimented with hard drugs (I did drop acid in San Francisco once, but that's another story), my exploration of this strange territory has been purely imaginative - well, apart from the occasional morning-after memory wipe induced by excess of alcohol.

So, it is particularly difficult for me to trace the origin of the uncommonly vivid dream I had a few days ago. The emotional wellsprings are obvious enough - anxiety (the [probably futile] quest for a new Chinese visa is doing my head in at the moment), wistfulness/wish-fulfilment (ah, material comfort: yes, that would be nice!), disorientation (where the hell am I really? what is going on here?), a desire for escape/oblivion - but the specifics of it confound me rather.

I was throwing a large party in my apartment. This appeared to be an apartment, and indeed a neighbourhood (maybe even a city), I was not particularly familiar with, had perhaps only just arrived in. (There was a vague sense at times that this event was supposed to be set during the time I was a legal intern in Toronto, but this did not seem a significant factor, and the dream bore no relation at all to my actual experience there.)

I was in a very disordered mental state: perhaps anxious, perhaps jet-lagged, perhaps a bit feverish; perhaps just extravagantly drunk (there was a point early on where someone made me an enormous pina colada, which I drank very swiftly); but I had a feeling that I was inexplicably losing control, was possibly under the influence of some drug or other - I wondered if someone might have spiked one of my drinks, slipped me a 'Mickey Finn'.

And in this state of relaxed befuddlement, it didn't at first bother me too much that the party just kept getting bigger - not only in terms of the number of people attending, but in the space we were using. I was pretty sure that it had started off in my apartment, but it had somehow migrated into neighbours' apartments, until we had seemingly taken over an entire floor of the building. I started wandering from room to room, seemingly without end; and the rooms themselves kept getting bigger, until I found people serving cocktails in huge halls.

Eventually, I started getting worried by this, realised that I could no longer be in my apartment, or even in my apartment building. What was going on? Oh my - it appeared we had crashed the City Museum and were having the party there.

Now, what does all of that mean, Mr Freud?


Elizabeth said...

According to a "meaning of dreams" book, you are feeling very bewildered and disorientated during your time in the UK, encountering many people. Your subconscious has created the "story" of a huge party to account for your feelings. Good luck.

Froog said...

Elizabeth, how nice to hear from you again!

I don't think that's where my disorientation has been coming from. I really haven't been seeing many people in the UK at all: I spent the whole of the last week in hermit-like seclusion 'at home', hardly seeing or speaking to a soul. So, maybe it was more of a reaction to that, a wish-fulfilment impulse from the more social side of my personality??

I find it curious that there was such a tension in the dream between it being an apparently pleasant situation and yet being overlayed with anxiety because I didn't understand what was happening and felt out of control. I think my hassles trying to get a new China visa, or simply wrestling with the issue of whether I want to go back there at all, is a likelier reference point for that anxiety.

Another oddity was that the details of it happening in Canada and the party ultimately being revealed to be in a museum struck particularly heavily on my consciousness even within the dream, as if I sensed there was some special significance in this that I should strive to grasp. A museum? Perhaps I live too much in the past??

And what does the progressive expansion of the stage of action suggest, small rooms giving way to bigger and bigger ones?

Or my extreme mental befuddlement, as if I had been drugged? (I suspect that was just an interaction with my actual state of consciousness: not that I was drunk at the time, but you often feel sluggish and confused if you nearly wake up during the course of a dream.)

Elizabeth said...

If you can get hold of this book: "Dream Power" by Dr Ann Faraday 1972, you might find it as helpful as I did. The gist is that our poor little subconscious (more primitive?) mind, struggling to keep up with our life and conscious thoughts and emotions, paints a picture, writes a story about what's going on. If you wake up and remember the dream, you can decode it yourself. (Freud is out of date on this). Sometimes the dream is far more upsetting than one's real life and one wakes up in anguish. One needs then to decipher the dream; this helps the subconscious to understand what has been going on and reconciles both parts of one's mind. Good luck from an old lady who admires your writing.