So the other night I had my first ever (or that I can remember) disabled dream. I think that having been able bodied before and having not used a wheelchair for a lot of my life I have always dreamt that I was still able to walk about. My dreams seemed to be an escape from my everyday life which is full of pain, dislocations and disability. Instead of being confined to my wheelchair, in a dream I can run free and do the things that in my normal life seem a distant memory. In my dreams I can do things that I never could or would do even when I was able bodied, because as Albus Dumbledore says (yes I am a HUGE Harry Potter Fan) “For in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own”. I don’t know whether it is a more conscious thing that I escape to my dreams to have the existence that here on earth seems impossible, or whether it is just that my subconscious has never got used to my disability but whatever it is I just seem to dream that I am still able bodied. However the other night I had, as I said, my first dream where I was actually disabled.
Now it wasn’t your everyday dream, it was actually quite boring on the surface of it, no particular fantasies or fluffy pink unicorns just everyday life played out. I was electric wheelchair shopping, so this part was still doing something that in my day to day life is beyond me as I still have yet to qualify and be helped with an electric chair (despite now very much needing one). I was even shopping with a boyfriend, who because I don’t and haven’t had a long term one I never saw the face of. However there we were looking thorough rows and rows of sparkling wheelchairs, all meeting my own personal needs (again rather a fantasy part as no shop would sell wheelchairs only suitable for one user). I was being pushed and helped by my dream boyfriend who was kindly lifting me out of my current chair so I could try the different ones, this was again more a fantasy than reality as any “normal” sized chap would struggle to lift me at my current weight. So anyway here we were happily trying out chair after chair after chair, even moving onto hoists afterwards (which thankfully apart from at the swimming pool I don’t currently need) so it wasn’t a sad dream. It was after this that I woke up. Now I don’t know whether it was the dream or that it was just a particularly bad day, it could even have been that I had moved more in my sleep but whatever it was I woke up feeling worse than I remember feeling in a long time. Usually, even if I wake up with a dislocation, I wake up feeling even slightly better than I did when I went to sleep. But I felt awful, like I’d normally feel at the end of a particularly bad day. I ached, I felt really low and my body was reluctant to move. I personally, if I thought about it, would have thought that waking up after a dream about running or doing able bodied things would have made me feel lower. You know waking up to find that it wasn’t a dream that you were disabled, that you cannot walk without support and sticks and that you need a wheelchair. But it didn’t, this simple dream about trying out wheelchairs and being in my wheelchair seemed to make me feel worse. As I say I don’t know whether I would have felt this bad even if I had had my “normal” sorts of able bodied dream, but that one day I struggled to get through on so many levels.
So anyway I have been thinking about it since and have come to the following conclusion about it. I do believe that it was the dream that made me feel particularly bad, not because I am in denial about my disability but rather because I need to escape the reality even if just briefly. I need to run about and play and not have to think about wheelchairs and access and equipment, I need to dream about these things if just for a bit so that I can better cope with my everyday reality. So I hope that in the future, even if I dream that I am in my wheelchair, that it still includes fluffy unicorns or some escape from normal everyday life!!