Friday, August 15, 2008

The Wolf Returns

(Photo by Aqua, Grey Wolf at Grouse Mountain)

I could not both get to sleep and stay asleep on Wednesday night. My anxiety is increasing and with that my sleep is getting worse again. I slept in snippets of a half hour here, and an hour there. After a pattern of waking and sleeping I woke at 4:30am and finally must have fallen asleep sometime between 6 and 7:00am, because I had an awful nightmare right before waking to go see my pdoc.

I dreamt my two sisters and I climbed towards the top of a mountain. The final climb was a set of stairs that zig-zagged up to the top of the mountain. Atop the mountain was a huge modern building, not unlike the building I used to work in.

We went inside and instantaneously I began being attacked by 3 coyotes who were trying to bring me to the ground so their big, pure black wolf companion could finish me off. I was trying to protect my sisters, but none of the canines seemed interested in them. The coyotes kept grabbing my hands and arms, and trying to attack my head; kept trying to force me to the ground. All the while the black wolf was stalking me, waiting for me to slip to the ground so he could pounce on me. I kept fighting back, calling to my sisters to help. It appeared no one would help me.

Suddenly I looked up and my sisters were behind a counter with the coyotes on the other side. My siblings were negotiating our release with the coyotes and offering them food in return for our safe escape. The coyotes agreed and told my sisters to leave through one door and me to leave through another a bit farther down the hall.

I saw my sister's safely on the outside of the building, but as I went to go out my door I saw the black wolf standing on the other side of the glass door; waiting to kill me. The coyotes told me to open the door and let the wolf in, quickly slip out and slam the door shut.

I did what they said, and the wolf slipped in, and I out. However, as I shut the door I quickly realized that the door opened outwards and it would be easy for the wolf to simply push the door open and come after me. I saw my sisters had disappeared and knew they were safe.

I began to run in terror. The wolf pushed the door open and began chasing me down the stairs. I was running so fast my feet were not touching the stairs. I was hanging onto the handrail and leaping from stair landing to stair landing. Each landing was 6 stairs apart. I was becoming dizzy from the switchback like staircase. I misjudged one of the landings and flew over the railing and into the abyss of the mountain gorge below.

The wolf followed me, but I was dead before he got to me.

I woke absolutely terrified.

Interpretation ideas?

The Coyotes: They are trickster figures. Figures who, in North American First Nations mythology, facilitate our seeing the lighter side of life, who sometimes have noble purposes, but also sometimes are playing with us and can be cruel. They represent the uncertainty of life, the uncertainty of the direction life can take us. They can bring light to dark situations (in fact the Raven...a trickster figure in Westcoast First Nation's mythology tricked a princess into opening a box that contained the sun, thereby releasing light into the world. ("The Raven Stealing the Sun" myth).

I run into coyotes on our farm all the time. They are a symbol of hope for me. They seem to appear when I am desperately depressed and need a reminder that I can survive this illness. It seems strange that they seemed to be doing the opposite in my dream..trying to facilitate my death. Although maybe my death is the only hope I have?

Or maybe they are referencing my being saved by a symbolic death? The death of my old life; the life I keep clinging to, the life that drags into feeling guilty for the new life I am trying to make for myself? My change from doing what I think is right, into having a life filled with doing what I WANT to do.

I know in the dream I wanted to survive. I fought and fought when the coyotes were trying to bring me down (but maybe I was fighting there lesson to allow my symbolic death, my important change, to happen. I ran hard from the wolf to try to save myself. It just did not work. I died anyways...and not even from the wolf, from a mistake I made. (my misjudgement of where the stair's landing was.

The Wolf: He has never appeared to me as pure black before. Throughout the dream I knew and felt it was symbolically important that he was pure black. He was impending doom, stealth and pure fear. He was patient in his efforts to bring me down. He waited, not once interrupting the coyotes efforts to drag me to the ground. He was over confident that he would succeed in killing me one way or another.

Dr. X and I discussed my dream. He said I needed to challenge the wolf. I get that, but what is it I am supposed to challenge? What does the wolf represent? If it is death, that is an would be futile. It could be my depression...but I don't know how to challenge it any more than I do. This dream is haunting me. It is telling me something. It feels so important. I cannot stop thinking about it.

Maybe the challenge is to STOP challenging the inevitability of real death (and the impending fear attached to that that comes from feeling like I will not achieve what I need to achieve, (.i.e. death anxiety) which is the cause of much of my life's anxiety and I think my depression. I fear I will not complete my purpose on earth.

Maybe the challenge is to ACCEPT my symbolic death, the death of my previous life, the fact that I am changed by my depression, by the difficult experiences I have encountered with each Major Depressive Episode...especially this latest one. I am changed. My old life is dead. Let it go. Move on bravely to my new life.

The wolf is black, because unlike all the other frightening wolves in my dreams who chase me and try to kill me and never quite succeed; this wolf succeeded, and the death of my old life is FINAL.

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