A Dream Possibly Indicative of My Mental State at the Moment

In the dream I and Krissy and (a slightly younger) Athena are on vacation, in Denver of all places, when it’s suddenly the end of the world — we’re talking mudslides and mushroom clouds. And as we watch this from the hall leading to our hotel room, I hand Athena the ice cream cone I’ve been eating (vanilla with red sprinkles) and say to her, “you finish this.” Because in my dream I know it’s the last ice cream she’s ever going to have, and I want her to have a memory of what ice cream is like.

So, uh, yeah. That’s my brain at the moment.

To be clear, I’m fine, the family is fine and the pets are fine, and there is no reason to believe we’ll be anything but fine for the foreseeable future. But like anyone in these times, I have my ups and downs. The last few days have been… down.

The good news is, I actually have lots of ice cream in the house — I was sent a bunch as a congratulatory gift for The Last Emperox. Maybe I’ll go have some.

69 Comments on “A Dream Possibly Indicative of My Mental State at the Moment”

  1. The way I look at it: I’m normally a capable person who can do decent threat analysis and come up with a strategy and tactics to meet a difficult situation.

    After weeks on the sidelines screaming “NO, YOU MORONS, YOU NEED TO BE DOING *THIS*” at the screens, my brain is coming to terms with the utter lack of control I have over an existential threat. (Beyond isolating and masking, neither of which feels mentally healthy even while I assure myself that it’s a positive tactic in the struggle to maintain physical health.) So my brain is taking out the change in dreams and depression.

    Knowing that helps me come up with mental scripts to reframe the feelings from raw experience into part of my own story line. It’s not a magic bullet, but it will keep me from the depths.

  2. I read somewhere (Scientific American” ?) that there have been many reports, from all over the world, of folks having very intense, vivid dreams linked to their experiences with COVID-19. Not about the disease, necessarily, but because of COVID-19 and the upset to our daily lives. I suspect people receiving tsunami warnings and waiting out the wave perhaps go through similar things, but in a much shorter time frame. And that’s what we’re dealing with: there’s a wave out there, coming in our direction, and it may hit us and may not. But we won’t know, for sure, until it actually hits us. And if it hasn’t hit us, it doesn’t mean we’ve avoided it. It just means it still could.
    We hear you John. I’m going to get some ice cream.

  3. We are living in the age of nuclear rage. But the Conscious You knew that already. Now the Subconscious You knows it too. One could say you are now in complete harmony with yourself and the times. Congratulations. You have achieved the Zen of Ice Cream.

  4. I had one where I was in my van with my son, trying out outrun some disaster, and every highway rest stop was filled with abandoned dogs. I knew I couldn’t stop driving and I knew I couldn’t save them, but it was a horrible dream. Another one where I turned over the body of a homeless person in the street and it was my son, with bugs crawling out of his month. My sleeping brain has not been being kind to me.

  5. For a minute there I was wondering what kind of ice cream confection a mushroom cloud was. (Because I sure could go for a mudslide right now.) I imagine it’s some kind of cookies and cream variant, maybe with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla. And chocolate fluff with shaved dark chocolate or oreo crumbs or something in place of whipped cream on top.

  6. Mmmmmm, ice cream. Excuse me, I have something urgent I need to do at the freezer. What you ask? Never you mind,

  7. With you there, sir. I am depressed as fuck at “We’re reopening! Everything is fine now!” I totally agree with your rage-quit of yesterday as well. I just don’t have the brain resources to deal with everything any more.

  8. That’s love, giving away your last ice cream. Hm. I have my container in the freezer, vanilla beans in the cupboard and cream in the fridge. Time to make some.

  9. I, too, had a dream that I was in a hurry to pack. I was moving to a snowy mountain place and I had to make a lot of hard decisions fast about what I could take with me. For some reason the cats weren’t there and I couldn’t even think why. Got to keep moving…I wondered if I would have time to say goodbye to my friend, and then departure was immanent and she was right there. I hug her. And I’m gone.

    Ice cream sounds like a GREAT idea.

  10. I’m not prone to depression but this week has felt so heavy on my shoulders. We are separated from loved ones due to quarantine. We are separated from our usual spring/summer activities due to protocols. We are separated from our neighbors due to politics. We are separated from humanity due to hate. Watching TV seems like some horrible game show as we watch the numbers of American souls that have died tick upwards. Other than the mushroom clouds and mudslides I actually find comfort in your dream! You chose to share happiness and ice cream with Athena as your final act of kindness. Love rules! And you call it a dream not a nightmare. I might have to see what we’ve got for ice cream! Hang in there!

  11. If I knew you got that much ice cream for publishing a book I would have been a better student in creative writing class.

  12. My mood varies considerably from day to day. Sometimes I think, I could get to like the hermit life as long as I had Internet access and plenty to read. And a garden. I do find that I’m having anxiety dreams, e.g. you can’t find the building where they’re having the exam, or you haven’t been to class all semester and the test is tomorrow, or I’m racing through the airport because they keep changing the gate. Part of that may be because I’m late on a book deadline.
    I do find that outside time (walk or gardening) lifts my spirits.

  13. Never heard of Graeters Ice Cream until now. How badly does it blow Dreyer’s or Breyer’s out of the water?

  14. Seconding @Peter: Totally unfamiliar with the brand. Maybe a review post?

    And inquiring minds want to know what a Scalzi Ice Cream Sandwich would consist of beside the obvious ice cream and tortilla.

  15. Have “Depression Lies” tattooed to my arm. Aimed at the world but it still reminds me every day not to listen to that rat bastard.

  16. Graeters is THE BOMB. Casting my vote for Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip as well.

    It’s the ONLY thing at Whole Foods that I like.

  17. The Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip is second only to the Black Cherry Chocolate Chip.

  18. There may be a day when ‘go have some ice cream’ is a bad idea, but it is not this day!

  19. Every dream I remember lately is me trying to save my daughter from some disaster. It’s wearing me down. She’s only 12 and is not handling the stress of shutdown well.

  20. I was watching a lot of cop movies with gratuitous violence (think Justified) and having a lot of violent dreams. A couple days ago I gave them up and started binging comedies, and my dreams have been less violent. Hmmmm, could there be a connection?

  21. I’ve been there. I’ve wondered what I experienced that my children won’t get to as a result of current events. Enjoy the ice cream.

  22. To put a Jungian spin on it:
    ‘An apocalyptic dream may present when an individual is struggling to make necessary psychological changes in their lives, both inner and outer. Strangely and surprisingly, they may signify healing efforts when the psyche is trying to assimilate trauma.’
    The healing effort and ice cream seems to make sense. Chunky Monkey girl, here.
    Disclaimer, lol, I’m a pediatrician, not a psychiatrist.

  23. State of mind: Not bad, but not great. Still retired. Have read fifty books (kindle and Audible)over last two months, including two by an author we all know.
    Ice Cream: There is a Graeter’s store less than a mile from my home. Can walk up there after I finish cutting the grass and get a couple of pints and make My wife very happy. My favorite flavor right now is chocalate with large brownie chunks. The reason Graeter’s is superior to all other ice creams is that is made using the French Pot process.

  24. Last week the grocery store forgot to include our ice cream in the bags they put in the car.

    This week the grocery store didn’t have the size of strawberry ice cream I requested, so they gave me the next size up for the same price as the small one.
    This week is a better week for having ice cream in it.

  25. Have some Ice Cream, John. The world is ending, but theres not much we can do about it. You just have to chose which nuclear-zombie gang you want to be in. Go with the slow ones. That way in case there are bears you can outrun them all.

  26. Great selection of ice creams. Sometimes you just have to enjoy life.

  27. Last dream I had, we sold our house and moved into a department store. People would not stay out of the family room.

    Not sure what to make of that.

  28. My dreams have been quiet, but my daydreams have been leading me to some dark places. Is it the depression? The anxiety? The injury? (I ruptured both quadriceps muscles requiring surgery.). Or just this holding pattern we are stuck in?

    All I know is after a few bites of Ben & Jerry’s “Oat of this World”, I did feel a lot better, at least for a while.

  29. My favorite ice creamery has gone out of business. Don’t wanna talk about it.

  30. It seems to be going around; last night was the first PTSD dream I’ve had in a long time. Everything is terrifying right now.

  31. I just happened to buy a boatload (by my standards) of ice cream today. Two “half” gallons of cookie dough (Breyers, Tillamok – for scientific comparison, of course), two of Friendly’s Butter Brickle (my roommate says no other brand is any good), ice cream sandwiches, and Uber-Chocolate cones (chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge filling, chocolate coating, rolled in chocolate crispies).

    Strangely, I haven’t been remembering my dreams at all. This is likely a good thing.

  32. I have no medical qualifications so I consulted my daughter, who does. She feels that there is a definite placebo benefit from eating your favourite ice cream, and only a fool cavils at a placebo benefit. Also, giving something nice to someone you love is good for your immune function so you win both ways.

    She’s having some difficulty sleeping tonight: a healthy guy in his early 40’s came into her resus room this evening with oxygen sats of 50%; silent hypoxia is one of the most pernicious aspects of Covid-19 since the patient doesn’t feel breathless until they are on the verge of death. She and her team got him back, and he now stands a fighting chance of surviving it, but the adrenaline is still running, hence the problem with getting to sleep.

    I’m having trouble getting to sleep because my daughter has just had a massive viral load dumped on her during the resuscitation process and even the best PPE doesn’t eliminate all risk. I do beg everyone to take every step they can to protect themselves, their families, their friends, their neighbors and their communities from this bastard of a disease; this is not a drill.

  33. The best news we’ve had locally is that Michael’s Custard is re-opening (the owner closed all three stores late last year when ICE deported his husband after 30 years in the states. Took a lot of work, calls and petitions to get that reversed and he is finally back home!)

    Anyway, they roast and salt their own pecans, make a lot of their toppings from scratch, and of course the custard is freshly made every day. I have a caramel cashew sundae planned for Tuesday…

  34. I vowed to not eat ice cream until Eddie’s Sweet Shop, the 100 year old ice cream parlor reopened. And now it will open on June 3rd!

  35. Serious, intermittent grumpiness. One of the major symptoms of this pandemic. You don’t even need to catch the virus to get it! Exercise and ice cream are, in my experience, the two best cures. I try to do both in moderation. But I’m better at moderating the exercise…

  36. I’m with JoelZakem – Black Raspberry Chip.

    I haven’t been to Cincinnati in over 40 years. We discovered Graeter’s accidentally; my wife wanted to order some Skyline chili shipped to us here in NJ, and got the Graeter’s as part of a package deal. Sooooo good.

  37. Hugs and good thoughts for you. It’s been a lot lately.

    I try to get outside and move around in nature when I’m having those kinds of dreams. I’ll have to give ice cream a try.

  38. Oh, man. That’s a bad, bad dream. Hugs to you. Been there in these times. Been. There.

  39. I recently finished REDSHIRTS and really enjoyed it. Thank you for bringing reading happiness to all of us!

  40. “in Denver of all places” What’s wrong with Denver? I love it here!
    Ha ha just teasing – it’s not really top on anyone’s vacation list – people come to visit Boulder or the mountains. But it’s actually a cool town.

  41. I’m rather partial to Vienetta, myself.

    I’ve also come to appreciate freeze dried ice cream.

    As for the world, well…, I’ll let uncle George take this one.

    “The planet is fine. The people are fucked.”

    “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

    My personal favorite:

    Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.”

  42. Your dream self is a good person to share your ice cream with your child. Makes me want to have some now but we only have coffee (Mom’s fave) in the house at the moment and if I eat any at almost midnight I won’t sleep well. Maybe tomorrow.

    Also, my sympathies to M.A.: our favorite place shut down in January.

  43. Sigh. This always makes me sad. Great looking (and probably incredibly good) gourmet ice cream that I can never have unless I want to put myself in the hospital for a spell. Enjoy the ice cream and keep in mind you’ll have at least one jealous and envious person from New England.

  44. You, sir, make me homesick. Graeters, Skyline, and White Castle are the three main foods I miss since I moved from Cincinnati to Saint Augustine.

  45. Oh dear – I REAAALLY miss Graeter’s Ice Cream. I still haven’t found a real replacement for it down here in Knoxville….

  46. I think if we could perform a regular poll on everyone’s dreams it would, in aggregate, make for a great snapshot of the state of the nation/world.

    Years back I had a horrific dream about being locked belowdecks in a sinking boat with dead bodies all around me. It happened at a turbulent time in my life, with work stress and a new baby on the way I was worried about keeping safe.

    I remembered my dad having the same kind of intense dreams when he was the same age so it was a weird milestone when it started to happen to me.

  47. With me it’s been making the acquaintance with a couple of gentlemen by the name of Ben & Jerry, as our local supermarket over here had a sale on some of their products.
    Even with social distancing being the accepted norm, these two had free pass!

  48. So I guess we’ve found out that Warren Zevon was actually thinking about ice cream.

    I called up my friend LeRoy on the phone
    I said, Buddy, I’m afraid to be alone
    I got some weird ideas in my head
    About things to do in Denver when you’re dead

  49. Ice cream Burrito seems like a good idea. Start with a crepe rather than a tortilla? Add ice cream, crunched McVitie’s Digestives, gummy bears, Smarties, crumbled Cadbury’s Flake…. and I suppose inevitably, hot sauce and mayonnaise?

  50. Another vote for the Black Cherry Chip here. Though the Black Raspberry Chip is also tasty. It feels kind of wrong to be having a (for the time) relatively normal day today. My brother lives less than five miles from where George Floyd was murdered, and I live less than five miles from where Breeona Taylor was murdered. So much injustice and pain, in the middle of other injustice and pain, piling up on one another.

  51. Stocked up on pork shoulders this morning as they were at a great price at the supermarket. Pulled pork for us. :-)

  52. @Beth, you know, wonderfil actually works just as well in regards to ice cream :)

  53. Seems like a place I can share my recent, horrifying dream. My daughter and I were hiking in this beautiful desert I’ve moved to after relocating from the Paradise, CA fire. We climbed up a hill, I turned to look at her, and the hill had transformed into a thousand foot drop-off. J. slipped, lost her footing, and plunged to certain death, smashing into an outcropping on her way down. I thought, “I can’t save her.” as she plummeted toward the valley floor.

    So much for sleep, that night and several more, plus the gnawing horror haunting my days. It’s true, I cannot save her.

  54. If only I could get to sleep to have a bad dream! A tree fell and hit right over the front porch of our house… we know this is a threat if you live in the woods, but I was sitting about 15 feet from the target when BOOM happened. Was a couple of weeks ago, been very rainy ever since. Hiring people to make repairs has been nearly impossible, although I managed to stop water from pouring into the guest room ceiling after a couple of days, with help from neighbors…

    ON top of the corona virus and racist violence in the news.

    We do have a great ice cream place in town, Ellen’s. And Kroger’s here carries Homestead dairy products, which includes four flavors of really, really great ice cream, Black Raspberry, Butter-Pecan, Vanilla and Chocolate. So last night we had a chocolate milkshake made with GREAT vanilla ice cream, milk and chocolate syrup.

    Didn’t get much sleep last night (up til about 4am) but took a long nap this afternoon – retired, no worries about work, just the investments upon which part of our income depends. Also state pension, Social Security, can the RWNJs kill off Social Security? Can the RWNJs in the state house kill my pension?

    Re-reading Walter Jon Williams multi-volume space opera about the Praxis… read it when it was new, still fun! Hope David Weber gets another volume of his huge Safehold epic out, want some closure on that 12,000+ page epic if possible. Honorverse could stand another couple of thousand pages too.

    Yes, I read Scalzi’s work too, but we all know all about that here, don’t we? Reading giant Sace Opera epics helps distract me from reality, which we all need more of, distraction from a horrible reality! Thanks for this place, John. It really helps us all ~!!~

  55. (Very) sadly, for a while ice cream was as common as hand sanitizers and toilet paper in our neighborhood stores. Yes, thanks for your sympathy. But now it’s back in stock, and a good thing too because my weight dropped to 152. Hard to read my iPad while lounging without a belly to rest it on.

    Having all those nightmares must be awful. Hope they vanish once things improve, assuming things do really get better.

  56. If you threw a baseball and knocked them all down… do you get a triple scoop?

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