Treatment Dreams

I have these recurring dreams, and have for about the past year.

I dream I am back at the treatment center where I was residential for seven months in 2006. Sometimes the house looks the same, sometimes it doesn't. The residents that are there with me in the dream tend to vary: some of them were actual residents, some of them were girls I knew in high school that likely didn't have eating disorders, but they were there nonetheless. And some of them are totally random people, people that I don't know, have never known, and seem to be sort of "placeholders."

The one person who is always present (besides me, of course) is the one girl (M) who betrayed me so deeply that I can't put it into words. The exact details of what happened are too long to go into now, but I always go back to the treatment center after this event happened.

Another odd fact: there is rarely any staff present. This is probably significant, but maybe it's not.

Most of the action focuses around me and M. How she's languishing there for one year, then two. How she manipulates the staff to keep from gaining weight. This part is certainly true. I even told the director I thought she was full of shit, but that didn't change anything. My motives for telling them were somewhat less than noble: I was jealous. Jealous that I had to eat and gain weight and follow the rules and blech, and she seemed to get every exception in the book and managed to get everyone to feel sorry for her.

Anyway. Back to the dream.

Sometimes what happened between M and I plays a role in the dream. Last night it really didn't. I don't know.

For some odd reason, there are always laptops in the dream. I don't get that part.

Most of the time, it is winter. I am there around Christmas, which makes sense. Three of the six times I wound up in psych wards or treatment centers were in December.* This doesn't mean there is snow on the ground, but it's wintertime.

From then on, the action tends to vary, except it all leaves me very frustrated.

And then I wake up.

Besides the frustration, the dreams scare me. Just a little bit. I don't want to go back there, I don't want to feel that all over again. As Sarah says, they keep it fresh. They remind me of what really happened. The events surrounding M and her betrayal of me have kept me from romanticizing treatment. It was nice to be surrounded by girls who understood, until they stabbed you in the back.

Now, I have the 'sac. And that is so, so much better.

*Seasonal affective disorder? Who, me? Never. ::rolls eyes::

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mary said...

Dreams can be such great teachers if we look a little deeper.
You are probably the one who can best interpret your dream and what it meant though I have my theories.; )
M is connected by experience and coincidence. She was obviously in the same place you were. If it weren't her it would be another 'M', someone just like her who tugged on your weaknesses. You managed to affect her as well.
You are trying so hard to leave ED behind. You ARE leaving it behind. This new step is bound to have stirred some old memories yet you are still the driver of your own car, though complying with the rules you are now free to choose yourself all by yourself. That's going to bring all sorts of old stuff to the surface. I think we all have dreams that can be used to help us but many people just ignore them. It's wonderful that you are looking for more from this, especially as it's a recurring dream.
Now, what do you think? What could you do in an awake version of this dream to send the message you are done with your ED and won't be sucked back in? You can finish this now, in meditation,and see if it helps you take a new step forward. I know it sounds weird. Still, it's your dream and your life, so own it.

Gina said...

7 months?! Was that by choice or recommended by your treatment team? Which facility were you in, if you don't mind me asking?

Take care, be well.

carrie said...


No, there won't be another 'M' in that fashion. I learned my lesson there. But the feelings I have when I wake up are like "no, no, this isn't right, make it go away. I don't want to go back there!" Not that it was an entirely horrid experience, because it wasn't. It's just not an experience I want to have again.


I was originally supposed to stay 2-3 months, but it kept getting extended. After the first month or so, I was physically stable, but mentally I was still extremely entrenched in the ED. Each challenge I had I failed, so the stay got extended again and again and again. This is *not* usual.

And I'd prefer not to disclose the center for reasons of my own privacy. I don't mind your asking, but I'd just rather not say. It's part of the fall out of the events with M.


Kirsten said...

Wow, seven months is a significant amount of time, so it makes sense that your brain is still trying to sort out the experience.

Do you ever write your dreams down? If I have a good recall, I will write something down and then put it aside for a while. Then I come back to see if there's anything I can glean from the description.

Sarah said...

Dreams are so interesting to me. I had one the other night where I was leaving college for the summer but was having a hard time collecting all my things because I'd been in three dorm rooms. Then I was hauling load after load of boxes and bags. So (a) taking up too much space and (b) carrying a lot of baggage. Hmm.

I think dreams are gifts, but not necessarily ones we always want.

Thinking of you


carrie said...


I was a slow learner. Very entrenched and very resistant to treatment. And very very good and tricking staff.


Now that you mention it, I think I figured my dream out. I can't escape my past. It keeps following me, and I don't know what to do or how to deal with it. Literally, those things haunt me.

disordered girl said...

Hugs to you. The hurt from betrayal runs so deep. You've got a better support system now!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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