THE BLOG

Rachel Maddow's Anxiety Dream

05/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Everyone has anxiety dreams. Even fabulous cable and radio show hosts like Rachel Maddow have their share of dreams where things go wrong in major ways. I just came across this video from Maddow's recent appearance at a Mother Jones fundraiser in San Francisco where she gives a great description of her recent anxiety dream.

What I find interesting here as a dreamworker is that in her final summary of the dream, she says that she blew the interview with General Petraeus. But taking each element of the dream individually, it sounds as though the interview itself went well -- in fact, it was a great example of being in the moment and being mentally prepared for a sudden opportunity. She had questions, he had answers, and the spontaneous conversation went fine.

What didn't go well in the dream were the structural things that broadcasters have to have in place: note pad, schedules, and, most importantly, a camera rolling. So if this were my dream I would say that there is a tension between what I feel eminently able to do, and the way I have to do it. Maybe my exuberance is not a great fit for the media role I now have, or maybe the dream is reminding me to slow down and make sure I have all the logistics taken care of before I just sit down and talk to someone off the cuff.

Either way, the dream highlights some universal concerns that arise in our anxiety dreams: problems with communication, preparedness, forgetting important details, and the pressure we face being professionals while still being ourselves. And as Clara Jeffery pointed out, the good news in this dream is that at least she wasn't interviewing General Petraeus naked.