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Dream 01_199803

Dream of the Month (March 1998)
  1. Title: Swallowing A Flashlight

  2. Date of the Dream: 1/31/1998 (mailed Sunday, 01 February 1998)

  3. Dream: I swallowed a six-cell flashlight, with extra batteries, Size D. It was not difficult to swallow this flashlight, and I was not alone, although I don't know who was with me. I could see the outline of the flashlight in my stomach. It stuck out. I also kept burping battery acid, although it was not unpleasant. It was important to get the flashlight removed, and I knew I couldn't do it myself through my mouth. I found orthopedists, vascular surgeons, and neurosurgeons, but had trouble finding a general surgeon. I finally did and he was very friendly, about 55 or 60 years old. He said with a smile that he'd be with me in a minute. He said that repeatedly. I'll be with you in a minute. Then I woke up. I do not know if the flashlight was on or off when I swallowed it.

  4. Significant life event: recently returned from a visit with a very close relative diagnosed with terminal cancer

  5. Personal concerns/issues: I am concerned that she will die

  6. Associations: I don't know

  7. Pen Name: rafter

Dr. Holloway's Comments:

When someone swallows an inanimate object in a dream, the implication is that they have taken in or absorbed something, such as a thought or feeling, that they cannot "digest" or make sense of in their ususal way. In the setting of visiting her sick friend, this dreamer seems to have taken in an idea, a flash of something, as represented by the flashlight, which doesn't serve her.

Many times dreams contain puns that carry symbolic meaning. The six cell batteries probably stand for "sick cells," and in fact the D cells may also stand for "death cells." This does not portend doom for friend, it merely shows how encounters with mortality, illness and suffering register on deep levels. Furthermore it is likely that what the dreamer "swallowed" and cannot stomach has to do with both her empathy for her friend's suffering, and the specter and intimidation that the idea of cancer wields.

The physician who keeps putting off giving her his full attention may represent her conscious reactions during and after her visit. It is natural to keep our reactions and feelings in check when we want to "be there" for someone else. The easy tendency then is to keep postponing our own need to process what we've been through. This dreamer needs to have a bit of support herself, to release some of the heaviness and help embrace the feelings she wants to keep from this experience.


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