“Things That Stop You Dreaming”

At 8 years old I dreamed of being a Power Ranger, at 11 years old I dreamed of being an airplane pilot, at 14 I dreamed of being a professional footballer, at 18 I dreamed of being a filmmaker, and now at 29….I don’t dream of of anything anymore. Dreams are for people with hope, optimism and those who have a light burning inside. When you are bereft of hope, riddled with pessimism, and when the light has flickered out, all you are left with is an emptiness inside that can only be filled with futility. To dream is to look forward, whereas an inability to dream is to look backwards, analysing past times, and occasions in your life when the impossible seemed possible, and the future was something to look forward to, rather than something that has slipped by. You end up questioning what you could have done differently in the past, rather than looking forward to moments that have yet to arrive, and dreaming becomes something insubstantial that only happens in the period between sleeping and waking, and not as the real life substantive ability to fantasise about an imagined future.

I no longer have any hopes or aspirations for the future, which is a cruel way of living because without hope, we have nothing. Occasionally something will come along that offers a chance of some kind of positivity or redemption, but more often than not its failure to progress or come to fruition leads to a deeper feeling of frustration, anxiety and self criticism, because hope being offered and then snatched away is often worse than having no hope at all. It’s important to re-emphasise that I don’t set out to be melodramatic or negative in my blogs, I simply aim to be completely honest in how I’m feeling, without sugar coating my experiences or feelings, and it’s usually when I’m at a low ebb that a topic for discussion comes to mind.

If I reflect upon the past, I undoubtedly view it through rose tinted glasses, and often with an inaccurate representation of my of my true feelings at the time. Just as I predominantly focus upon the negatives of my current life, I also concentrate on the imagined positives of my younger self; an idealised version of myself as a young boy, with few responsibilities or commitments, with many possibilities lying ahead, and still having that belief that I could conquer the world. However, if I actually concentrate upon the realities of that time, then I can conclude that I wasn’t happy even when I was younger, and if anything, I was in a worse place as the anxiety and depression were new, confusing, and uncontrollable, added to the fact that a young persons hormones are already all over the place. And while its true that I hoped for a fulfilling and optimistic future, I felt stuck within a prison of my own mind and anxiety, going many years without socialising at all outside of my family, consequently ensuring that this became more difficult to overcome in later life. Reaching a point such as I find myself at now seemed far fetched and laughable, and this bothered me a great deal. The ability to live on my own in London, whilst holding down a job, were surely the thing of dreams, but they ended up being a reality. This therefore should be a reason to view the current me as superior to my younger self. But once again Depression proves itself a devious master, ensuring that its unwilling servant can only focus on the things that are harmful to their mental state, rather than devoting any time to those things which may help it.

Time surely plays a significant part in the process, as inevitably we have more dreams and aspirations when we are 10 years old than when we are 40. I genuinely cannot find anything inside of myself to act as a guiding light for my life, something to sail towards in the knowledge that the journey will be worth it for whats waiting at the destination. Now the most I hope for is to get through the day with the least amount of anxiety or emotional failings as possible, and the this fact alone is a telling sentiment. I want to have more than that, to be able to dream again like that 8 year old boy who wanted to be a Power Ranger. I want to be able to wake up with expectation rather than resignation. I want to be able to love, to laugh and to make a difference. I want to be able to dream that the future is not in the past, and that 29 is not the end of things as it feels now, but merely the beginning. Depression is like wearing black tinted glasses…your view on the world is restricted to darkness, shadows and an and an absence of light to guide the way. When you have worn the glasses for so long, they become part of the face, rather than an artificial extension of it, and you feel like you will never be able to see the world through your own eyes ever again. Dreaming becomes a dream itself, and you are left pondering the following words of Mark Twain, immersing yourself in both its supposed truth, but also its apparent impossibility to achieve:

“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”