For years, at least 5, I’ve had this dream of walking through a crowd and suddenly my legs go numb. No matter how hard I try they stop working, and I sag to the floor unable to move. I try so hard to pretend everything is fine, so no one notices, but inside I’m scared to death. I can’t move, I feel trapped almost, and scared. For the first few years it always took place in school, but now I am 21 and out of school.
The dreams have changed, and for the past few months have been pretty regular and bother me more. There is always someone else in the dreams that can see me, but they don’t help. Usually it’s no one specific, but last week for the first time I can recall my aunt was there. She’s usually very excited to see me, but in the dream she seemed annoyed by me. I very much doubt that my dream had anything to do with my aunt exactly, it was just the entire atmosphere of being home.
I avoid going home mostly because of the people and memories there. My mother and I never spoke, only fought and yelled. She made it clear she didn’t want me. My dad works shifts. He avoided coming home because he couldn’t stand all the fighting. All through high school I felt very alone and depressed, unnoticed and unwanted.
Sometimes it wakes me up, and that feeling I get stays with me for most of the day. Right now I am struggling to keep my job, which I love. I am a Military Police up here in Alaska. If I lose my medical board I will have to go home again, which is a bad thing for me. I’d feel like such a failure, and I don’t want to go home.
—Jen, Age 21, Alaska, USA