Around 8 years ago I went through an extremely stressful time. During this time I was taking part in a beginners script writing course. The first piece I wrote centred on a woman with long hair who once as a child had all her hair cut off. During this time I had momentary flashes of my hair falling out, or cutting off all my hair. I have had long hair nearly all my life and have never even considered the possibility of cutting it off. It’s something that defines me – Leah of the long hair! So these thoughts and flashes troubled me. I put it down to stress.
Then the dreams began. Firstly I had dreams of a woman ripping out my hair in anger. The dream was vivid and intense and utterly distressed me. Over a few weeks the dreams continued along the same theme – always my hair being ripped out by some character or another.
Then one evening in waking reality I put my fingers through my hair and found a huge bald spot. I was completely horrified. This was the beginning of alopecia areata, a condition I have suffered with on and off ever since. Whilst my doctor tested me for all manner of illnesses and gently insisted it wasn’t due to stress, he came to the conclusion that my feelings were correct – that stress indeed had induced my hair loss. At the time I had around 14 bald spots on my head. Thankfully I had enough hair for this to be invisible to others but it drastically upset me just the same.
I thought about the dreams. Firstly I recognised my body had realised there was a problem before consciously I had. My subconscious had thrown me ideas and images associated with hair loss (the script and the unwelcome thoughts of cutting my hair). I didn’t get the message, so my dreams began to show me what was happening. My anger (the flip side of the depression I was experiencing over the death of a loved one) was causing me to feel that everything was out of control, that I had no strength left, and didn’t feel like I knew myself (identity). I also noted that often people use the phrase ‘tearing my hair out’ when speaking of frustration. Symbolically I have always thought of the Samson and Delilah story when thinking of what hair means: my hair is my strength, perhaps because it is so much a part of my identity. My hair is something I think of as a positive feature.
The concern over my hair went on for months. Bald spots kept appearing, some large, some small but the hair just didn’t seem to grow back. My doctor (bless him for understanding my natural inclination towards natural healing methods) sent me for homeopathic treatment. It was then I decided to return to my dreams and see if I could promote internal healing.
For several nights I incubated the theme of healing. Ironically I knew that stress was causing my hair loss but the stress of the hair loss was keeping me stressed! So somehow I had to reach the part of me that knew how to resolve this.
Then one night I dreamed the following: –
I am in a room and there is music playing. I look around me and band members are chatting to each other. They start to talk to me. I can’t think who they are but I know I recognise them. They get up and begin to play and as soon as they do I know who they are: –
Sometimes I think my dreams have such a sense of humour! Somehow I had reached that part of me that knew how to heal. Music has always been healing to me and in waking reality I do enjoy music by The Cure. I started listening to their albums and then listening to other music. In turn I began to relax and feel more at one with myself. I remembered the parts of myself I felt I had lost during my troubled times. Music reminded me of who I was. Around two weeks after the dream I noticed my hair starting to grow again. Since that time I have found that whenever I experience something traumatic I will lose some hair – a bald spot will appear and a dream will have been a precursor to that event. As soon as I dream that dream I know that I must actively start doing things to reconnect with myself and regain my balance; music is usually the way. Whilst I cannot stop that initial ‘fallout’ (note that this word can have different connotations such as dealing with the aftermath of a trauma or an argument between friends) I can now usually prevent further spreading.
Dreams are able to show us when the body is sick. It is always wise to take note of dreams that may be warning signs. Write them down and be aware. Remember that parts of the body in dreams like everything else can be read symbolically so please don’t panic and run to your doctor every time you dream there’s something wrong with you! However if you are very worried then do get yourself checked. Many people suffering from a variety of conditions have experienced warning dreams. Dreams of teeth falling out is a very common dream for example and can have many different interpretations but if you haven’t been to the dentist recently it might just be your body nudging you into action. Dreams of healing can be preventative as well as warning.
I believe that most illnesses come from imbalances in the body on an energetic level. Dreams can help you access the information you need for healing. The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that dreams of sickness could be the unconscious mind offering us information on our state of health.
If you are sick then try asking your dreams for some help. Incubate questions such as ‘Why am I sick?’ or ‘What do I need to heal’? Naturally there are times when what we need is an operation or some other outside agencies help but we can perhaps aid our recovery or ability to cope with dis-ease by listening to what our dreams have to say.