What Dreams May Come
Dreams are funny things.
The first dream I remember having as a tiny girl was that I climbed a ladder to a star that was covered in every toy a tiny girl could wish for.
I swear I still remember this dream, although my mom did helpfully record what I told her about my nighttime adventure in my baby book, lest I forget.
My first nightmare was that I had accidentally turned my favourite cousin into a dog and couldn’t change her back. I was pretty inconsolable upon waking up from that one.
Last night I dreamed about walking into a parking lot full of rats, and having to hold myself up on a wall (in a physically impossible manner) to keep them from scurrying over my feet when some cats came and started an epic rat-cat battle.
While I often ponder the symbolism of my dreams, I think this one was pretty straightforward: I’m a little stressed these days and also, I saw some rats in a parking lot on my way home from work on Monday. Dream solved.
I’ve had seriously spooky dream occurrences, like having my grandfather, whom I don’t think I’d ever dreamed about before, show up in my dreams the night before he died. I actually get a bit nervous whenever a close friend or family member shows up in a dream now.
Oh, and of course, if I sleep during the day, or when I’m under too much stress, I get sleep paralysis and weird dream-like hallucinations that go along with it.
As well as fairly common stress dreams that pop up occasionally, (teeth falling out, going blind, being unable to move, or realizing I’ve forgotten to wear clothes to a public event), I go through phases of having recurring dreams or nightmares.
As a kid, I had one where a terrifying troll-like creature guarded the hallway between my family, who were all downstairs having a party, and tiny Sarah, upstairs, and I had to figure out some way to get past it.
Before I was old enough to drive, I had a recurring nightmare where I was riding in the backseat of a car only to suddenly realize that no one was driving.
And, always, I’ve dreamed about tornadoes. Maybe it was because of the tornado drills we had to practise in elementary school, because I’ve never actually encountered a tornado, but I’ve had that dream so many times it feels like I’ve lived through one.
What’s interesting about these dreams, is that while they start out as nightmares, with the scary troll, the out of control car and the tornado, once I’ve had them a few times, some part of my brain recognizes that “Oh, we’ve been here before” and it starts to problem solve. To the point that now, when the dream begins, I’m only frightened for a moment before I hop into the driver’s seat and steer myself to safety or I lead everyone into the basement to weather the storm.
I don’t know how this happens, or how some part of my brain can be so alert and aware, while still not being aware or alert enough to just wake me up and remove myself from the perceived danger entirely.
Have any of you guys experienced this? Do you have recurring nightmares or dreams and do you put any stock in analyzing them for meaning or symbols?