On dreams and nightmaresSun, 29th Jun '03, 4:15 pm::
Researchers have come up a new theory on dreams, unlike Freud's oft perverse interpretation of dreams. If you know me well, then you've probably heard me blabber about this dream I had or that nightmare I had. The current theory holds that stress, anxiety, and tension are the primary causes of nightmares. I refuse to believe it. All my life I have had dreams and nightmares and the earliest I can remember is about 1985, when I was 5 yrs old. Surely I didn't have any stress at age five! I remember I woke up in the middle of the night and cried because I saw an evil dolphin/shark in my sleep - there were actually three but the other two were playing with me; it could be because I might've seen Jaws that night, I don't remember. But as long as I can recall, I have had dreams, good or bad, throughout my life. Generally I don't like to bore people all the time with my dreams, but sometimes it gets so confusing that I can't hold it in.
30-40% of the time, I have nightmares, 10% of them extremely scary. Whenever I talk to people about them, they just brush it off and tell me I need more sleep, even though I might have slept 8-10 hours that night. So while I didn't like the stress theory and totally hated Freud's analysis, I kept wondering what the real reason for my weird dreams was. Then a few years ago Wired had an article about Lucid Dreaming - dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming and the consciousness allows you to guide your dreams. Of course I could perfectly relate to it. I become aware during a number of my dreams and can easily recall most of what I see. Sometimes I control them too and instantly teleport myself from one place to another. I would say I have one or two lucid dreams per week that I control and two others that I just witness. Of course the other 2-3 I suffer because the last thing you want to do when you wake up fresh in the morning, is recall a realistic nightmare about a loved-one's death or hallucinate that the acorns on trees are turning into faces and talking to you (had this one last week - I was sweating when I woke up). And note: there is absolutely no relation between my dreams and what I eat or drink, how hard I study or work, and whom I talk to or argue with.
Sometimes I thought maybe I'm just plain-old screwed up in the head, after all not a lot of people have acorns trying to talk to them in sleep. Till of course this new research came out, stating that dreams, ability to recall them, and creativity are linked together :) Now that just makes me smile with pride, cuz now I can say I have weird dreams cuz I'm so creative. Hehe. Though most of the times I laugh off my dreams or plain old ignore them, the nightmares do haunt me for hours and sometimes days. It's hard for people who aren't in my position to image how the hell can a dream about a lost key cause me to panic for hours after I wake up and I have nothing to say in defense. Next time I run into you, you won't be able to know if I had a dream or a nightmare that morning, cuz well, I've got really at hiding/controlling the effects of weird sleep. And no need to ask me what my last dream was - if it was important enough for me to share, I would. As someone said, "There's a reason you can't show your dreams to anyone else - they are for YOU and you only."
I hope I dream of chocolates and veggie subs tonight :-P