Most people stress out about finals in normal ways. Some procrastinate, some study consistently after every class doing their reading ahead of time and some people binge eat.
When I get stressed, it manifests in it’s own weird way. Last year around this time as I was registering for classes, stress manifested in crippling stomach pains, a trip to the hospital and two consecutive pelvic exams. I’ve found ways to manage the stress now. Trying to prepare in advance shaves minutes off of preparation time for school. I get my clothes ironed if I’m substitute teaching the night before, and I might even prepare a lunch if I’m teaching the entire day.
Nothing though could prepare me for the current stress dreams. I guess because I’ve been managing my life well the past few months, the stress had to find a different course of action to butt-heads with me.
There is a little bit of explaining I need to do before telling you what happened. Since the summer of 2013 I’ve been gluten free. I’m not doing it as a fad, or as a trendy thing with which to annoy people. I have hypothyroidism, which gluten has been shown to block the conversion of certain hormones needed to help the thyroid perform. The thyroid serves a lot of functions in the body, and mental balance is one of them.
In June of this year one of my best friends had a wedding, her cake was not gluten free, I caved in to the desires of the raspberry filling. This resulted in a tough, week long brain-fog and faint memory loss in which my co-workers said, “You had gluten last weekend didn’t you?”
Now that you have a bit of back story here is what happened somewhere between last night and this morning in the dream realm. I had a dream I was outside in my parents’ back-yard eating with family and loved ones. Suddenly dinner rolls and deep dish pizza pie appeared out of nowhere. I distinctly remember savoring a slice of the deep, fluffy crust (probably a pizza from the “Pi” restaurant in St. Louis which has been the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life). After ingesting this savory treat I moved on to the buttery dinner rolls. By the time I bit into the second dinner roll, I suddenly realized I shouldn’t be eating it. Because at that moment I couldn’t distinguish between a dream and reality I let the morsels roll over my tongue as I gulped the last bite with severe guilt. The feeling was probably equal to that of someone being vegan accidentally eating a dream burger.
When I looked up from the remaining crumbs in my hands, suddenly Angelina Jolie was there. Apparently I was her new neighbor and she asked me to watch over her kids in our back yards as they played with feral native monkeys. Meanwhile, the gluten-guilt was killing me. I had to confess to Ms. Jolie the culinary crime I had just committed with the dinner rolls.
Next thing I knew I was confessing everything to Angelina, about how I shouldn’t have gluten, and was apologizing to her for the error in judgement. She seemed unfazed by the breaded catastrophe, and was more worried about her children playing with monkeys, which is when I woke up.
Let this be a lesson to those of you younger than I going through finals. Get everything done ahead of time and leave the baked goods where they belong, at the grocery store.
What makes you stressed out? What stress dreams have you had?