Dream on

DJ Peter Tripp. Google this guy right now if you don't know who he was.

DJ Peter Tripp. Google this guy right now if you don’t know who he was.

I’m talking about the nocturnal hallucination kind, not the “reach for your” kind.

Weird new things have been happening in my dreams. At times, my dreams have been more vivid. I have had a few dreams recently in which I could smell things. I don’t remember ever experiencing smell in a dream until now. Last night there was a new setting (read further for an explanation of that). Strange new scenarios have occurred. Also some really interesting stuff I’m not going to mention on a blog my parents read.

So what’s up? My life is much different now than it was just five years ago. Even though I live in the same place and I’m still married to the same man, if the me of 2010 saw the me of right this minute she wouldn’t recognize me. So has my new mindset penetrated the subconscious layer? Are my hormones a-changin’? (Come on, menopause!) Or am I just paying more attention now that I have less stress and more free time (and a mild addiction to self-help books)? Beats me. Science says it could be any or all of the above.

Facts about dreams.

Science has long held that everyone dreams, though not everyone remembers dreaming (and we’ve all met that person who insists they do not dream) but studies are beginning to speculate that, perhaps, some people really don’t dream. Either way, the brain activity of people who do and do not remember their dreams, is different when they are awake.

We don’t just dream in REM sleep, as was once thought. Dreams during REM are more vivid, but what we dream closest to when we wake, regardless of what sleep stage we are in, is what we remember best. Also, both more dreaming  and more REM happen later in the last third of our sleep cycle, so the odds are simply better.

You cannot invent new faces or places in your dreams. You can, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, warp, combine, divide, swap, and otherwise alter already known places and people, but the subconscious mind cannot create. It only records. If you begin tracking and analyzing dreams you will be amazed at the bizarre ways in which your subconscious rearranges people, situations, relationships, and features into strange new-seeming stuff.

Facts about my dreams.

I started to pack on the pounds in high school (in an inverse correlation to my falling confidence levels) and continued to steadily gain weight into my twenties until, at my zenith (the zenith of the numbers, but the nadir of my self-worth) I weighed an estimated 220 pounds on a 5′ 5″ frame, making me officially obese. I was not an overweight kid, and for the last few years I have teetered on the line on the BMI chart separating “overweight” and “healthy,” but I have spent approximately half of my life overweight. Interestingly, in my dreams I am never overweight. Even when I was obese my subconscious apparently saw me as height/weight proportional. I also never limp in my dreams.  In my sleeping mind I can run, jump, swim, and dance with the ease, energy, and flexibility of a healthy child, although I can do none of those things in real life and haven’t been able to since elementary school.

Recurring dreams are a real phenomenon. Some people have them sometimes. I found, however, through dedicated use of a dream journal, that dreams I thought were recurrent were not. Just as your weirdest dreams seem perfectly normal when you are in them and can only be seen for the Dali-esque freak shows they really are after you are conscious, my “recurring” dreams were suffused deeply, while I was dreaming, with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. But after some months of religiously entering every detail of every dream I could recall into my dream diary I found no actual recurrences of dreams that I had been so sure were haunting me. In fact, none of the dreams that presented themselves as reruns had anything in common.

When I dream about “home” – that is, when my subconscious pulls up a set and declares it to be “home” for the purposes of tonight’s production – it has always been one of two things: A) something I have seen on TV or in real life, B) the rambler I spent the first 17 years of my life in. But it has never been any other place I have lived. Not the house we moved to when I was 17, nor my three rentals, nor my husband’s first house, nor this hovel. Until last night. In an extra-weird twist, the dream was totally up-to-date: all our current vehicles were parked right where they are this minute (including the backhoe, Candy, who is taking up most of the driveway) and my garden was just as it is now, including the recent enlargement and the new plants I bought just weeks ago. I had thought that if I ever lived anywhere long enough for the prop department of my subconscious to catch up that there would be a lag, like on Google Earth, where you find your house and say “Jesus, I sold that car three years ago. And Jerry still lives next door, I can see him!”

What have you been dreaming about?

— Amanda

[1] MedicineNet.com http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11852

NOTE: The subconscious and the conscious mind are real psychological things but the “unconscious mind” is an outdated term co-opted by Freud (ew) and in modern science “unconscious” means to be in a medical state of “interruption of awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings, lack of the ability to notice or respond to stimuli in the environment,” [1] not a part or function of the psyche. When you are in a state of unconsciousness you cannot access your conscious mind.)


2 thoughts on “Dream on

  1. My last dream had to do with wiring the lights in the annex/shed. May be a guy thing, technical type dreams. Reminds me of Kirk telling Scotty to relax. Scotty say that his technical journals are restful. 🙂


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