A Nightmare That Changed My Life
I had been on a slew of antidepressants for depression.
Throughout my life, the reasons for depression have varied.
Except for one.
There was always a new reason.
I had my share of cocktails made up out of Zoloft, Prozac and Effexor etc.
I experienced side effects such as massive sweating at night to losing feeling in my lower legs.
I also suffered from insomnia, I am not sure if that was caused by the meds or by nightmares I had.
From the year 2002, I had the same recurring nightmare.
I was walking around in a house, I’d see family that I wanted to speak with, and they did not see me, no matter how much I waved to them.
In every dream, I had no way to speak, I could not speak, I do not know why.
At the end of the dream I’d see a man standing in front of me in an elevator.
I could not tell whether it was going up or down, or sideways, but he appeared to be the person who operated the elevator.
He was a bit rotund, older than me; grayer hair and I wanted to ask him to get the elevator moving.
Sometimes I thought that the man in the elevator was me years in the future.
Before I could ask him, he seemed to sense that I wanted to speak with him, so he turned around.
That was the point that I would wake up screaming because when he turned around, he had no mouth!
I woke up sweating, screaming and flailing my arms, but none of the words were coherent.
I struggled in this dream to speak but I could not move my mouth at all.
In every dream like this for close to eight or nine years, I just sounded like Frankenstein when he realized that he was set on fire by the local mob.
After this dream, I would sink deeper into depression.
A intense sadness that I could not shake.
The Same Dream With A Different Ending
About 8 years after after I had the first dream of the man in the elevator with no mouth, I had it again, in 2010.
However, this time, after he turned around without his mouth, something different happened.
When I woke up, I sat up to a sitting position on my bed and I was violently screaming a word that sounded like ‘zehhu’.
I was coming out of the same nightmare that I had seen for years, except this time, I sat up and I was screaming this word ‘zehhu’.
I immediately knew that it meant enough! no more! I have had enough! I have to stop descending deeper and deeper into depression!
The best visual I can think of to describe how I felt coming out of that ‘zehhu’ dream is Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes dramatically protesting “NO” to the shock of the animal handler who was abusing him.
Everyone in the movie and the audience is stunned.
He is an ape and should not have the power of speech. So, when he screamed NO, it is just shocking!
Similarly, I never had the power of speech in those elevator man dreams.
But, this time I woke up to a sitting position screaming ‘zehhu’.
What that meant to me was that I cannot keep descending into depression.
I was already fighting suicidal ideation.
With more depression, it is not a big leap to really wanting to act on suicidal thoughts.
There has to be a boundary.
I think crying out zehhu was a primal scream, a subconscious message to myself, enough!
Stop the intense sadness, do something to take care of myself, anything, start being productive.
No matter how many mistakes I have made, how much longer do I keep beating myself up over them?
Can I Say ‘Zehhu’ in Real Life and Act On It?
I never really thought about saying enough.
In depression, I feel like I have been imprisoned and have no appeal and no exit out of my jail cell.
Did I do something that deserves life imprisonment and isolation in depression?
I felt that I did not hold the key for me to get out of jail.
My memories, my losses, my failures, my dna, and anything else that contributes to depression, they held the key.
But this dream of Zehhu made me feel that I do have a key.
I have a say in this matter.
Depression is not a physical prison, but it is a mental prison.
Perhaps, this zehhu is a key, and I started to forcefully tell myself zehhu, I have had enough.
Once I started shouting zehhu out loud and to myself, that was enough to stop the downward spiral.
I had been sliding down deeper for years.
I understood that if I did not stop, I had no boundary stopping me from going over a virtual or real cliff.
Crossing the Bridge from Depression to Life
This one word Zehhu helped me cross the bridge of depression to life.
This one dream helped me get out of the grip of suicidal ideation and helped me focus on being more productive.
I think if I had used any word, in any language that meant to me means ‘That’s it, I have had enough! the results could be the same.
I am still a work in progress, but this dream and word did change my life, for the better.