Last night I dreamt that I cut off almost a quarter of my skull/scalp. On purpose. On my own. The scary part was how real my dream felt.
I was staring at myself in the mirror, apparently during a pretty intense manic episode. And I decided that I was going to cut out part of my skull. Just because I could. I don’t remember what tool I used, but I don’t think it was the medically appropriate one. Probably a handsaw or something.
Anyway I just started going at it. I cut four vertical strips of bone out of the posterior, superior quarter of my skull (so, the back of my head). I was completely fine. There was no pain, and I guess I did a pretty amazing job because my brain was fine and my consciousness was unaltered. Eventually my fallibility sank in, because I asked someone (who?) for help and decided I’d better go to the hospital.
Whomever I’d asked for help thought it was a good idea to hold the four pieces of skull/scalp back on with a big bungee cord. I opined that it might be too tight or that the pressure might not be well distributed with a bungee cord. And so I proffered we wrap my head together with rolled gauze.
I was still pretty calm. Not upset or worried. I was still in the middle of some excessive manic confidence. I figured that I’d done a pretty good job, and the hospital would be able to put the pieces back together again. But once I walked into the hospital and down the hall with a team of doctors, I started to understand the true severity of my overconfidence.
The doctors were all saying to each other, “woah, wait, stop - look at his head.” I got a little worried and asked, “so this isn’t a big problem. You can set this back up in a way that it will heal just fine, right?” And the one doctor, who was leading us calmly down the hall, said, “well, to be honest, I don’t know that there is much we can do for you.” I interpreted that as them telling me I was going to die, and I immediately woke up.
As I said before, the scariest part was how real it felt. I immediately reached around my head to check that everything was intact. At first I could only gently pat my hair with one hand, but once I felt the hard, unyielding, unshifting back of my head, I used all ten fingers to make sure there were no seams. I remember thinking to myself that I need to NEVER reach that point in terms of overconfidence. I don’t plan to cut out any portion of my skull anytime soon.
The illusion isn’t real. Never was or will be.