Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Every anxiety dream I’ve every had: ranked | Alice Tovey

Just what is the function of a recurring nightmare? Why am I forever doomed to be nude in different workplaces? Are these fantasies constructed to rehearse for the play of your life? Or is it, as I suspect, a way for your brain to chop down the tall poppy of your psyche?

Maybe my brain worms are just trying to get me to keep it real.

There are theorists who suggest dreams are a way of training for the harsh reality of our waking world. If this is the case, the frequency of my anxiety dreams have bulked me up to be the F45 champion of the universe.

I’ve been living anxiously my whole dang life.

I am a Scorpio moon with a Zoloft rising. And when I jump on the midnight train to noddy land, I have my most creative and frequent panic attacks. But there are those nightmares that are like a melody that goes na-na-na-na every day like my iPod is stuck on replay.

So today I will be ranking my anxiety dreams in terms of relatability.

Here comes the bride

I’m getting married (brag) and I do not care about making it picture-perfect.

As long as grandma is happy and I’m legally bound to my best friend at the end of the day, I’ll be satisfied. But even with this attitude, I still have fantasies in which everything goes wrong. A few of the latest nightmares include my parents getting lost in the bush before the ceremony, tomato sauce spilling down my dress and people I don’t know rocking up and trying to impersonate the bridal party for free food.

This dream may not resonate with everyone, as many people choose not to get married. Also, other brides would have the foresight to avoid ketchup spills by not serving sausage rolls as they walk down the aisle.

Relatability score: 2.5/5

Tired and hungry

The character of me is always very tired in this dream. These is nothing ruder than feeling sleepy when you’re asleep. Worse than that, the character of me is also hungry, the worst thing a person can be. As I walk around the dreamscape in my grumbly, stumbly ignorance, dream me takes a bite out of my own hand. You think this would be yuck, but I always taste like bananas. Talk about lady fingers. Self-cannibalism aside, there are worse midnight snacks. I take pride in being a rich source of potassium.

Relatability score: 3/5

Joke’s on me

I’m a comedian (what is the opposite of a brag?). Every year I write a new show for the Melbourne international comedy festival, which is a great joy and enormous psychological burden. The details of this dream may change, but it’s always the same ending. I walk up to the mic to tell my jokes and it hits me: I haven’t written anything. Silence follows, no laughter. I stand frozen in clown death.

Relatability score: 1.5/5

Pink elephants

This is a vintage dream I’ve been having since I was seven. I’m playing darts in the undercroft of my primary school, and when I hit the target in the centre, a stampede of pink elephants burst out of the dartboard and trample everything in sight. I am not afraid of elephants; I am not afraid of pink. But to this day, whenever I’m playing this cursed game of darts in my sleep, I am horrified. If anyone else in the world has had this dream, please let me know.

Relatability score: 1/5

A Christmas Carol

Like most lasting traumas, this dream takes place in high school. Charles Dickens’ festive romp came out in 1843, a short 149 years before it was bested by the 1992 classic The Muppet Christmas Carol. But unlike the eponymous Scrooge (the Ebenezer one, not to be confused with that of McDuck), in this dream I am not visited by three analogous ghosts.

I am sitting down to take the year 12 English exam and I have not read the primary text. How can I write two essays about Dickens when I haven’t read the book? In the dream I panic and look for an easy way out, but it’s too late. The teacher comes and collects my blank essay papers while I sit there looking like The Ghost of Christmas Idiot. Year 12 is a pressure cooker of expectations, so I reckon we’re on to a dream for all people here.

Relatability score: 4/5

Lost in the supermarket

Kids, this fear never leaves you. In this bone-chilling nightmare, I go to the supermarket with my mum. You know how mums love the supermarket. But suddenly I turn around and I can’t find her. I clamber through isles breathless and panicked. I rush around the produce section in search of her trolly, but it’s no use. She’s gone.

As we grow old, I think we all worry about losing touch with our mothers. And by extension, losing touch with the very people that make us who we are. Heed this warning and call your mother. Or if your mum sucks, go down the shops and pick up a bag of frozen peas. You’ll thank me later.

Relatability score: 5/5

Sigmund Freud proposed that dreams are a form of wish fulfilment. Well, ask yourself, how smart can this guy be if he’s dead?

Alice Tovey is a comedian, songwriter, cabaret artist, film-maker and screenwriter. Her latest cabaret hour is titled Not Like The Other Ghouls

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