Monday, July 30, 2007

What Dreams May Come

I have heard people say that they never dream, which cannot possibly be true. A better explanation would be that they do not remember what they were dreaming about when they wake in the morning. I do not seem to suffer from that affliction, or blessing, as some may see it. Not only do I dream, but I get caught up in intricate stories and they are filled with vivid colors, people, places and things. While my subconscious is busy weaving these unbelievable tales, some part of me seems to be aware of the fact that what I am experiencing is not real, but it is almost like I am disjointed from myself and my mind is not able to will my body awake.

I once participated in a dream study for the psych department when I went away to school. I was looking forward to being hooked up to monitors overnight, excited by the prospect that perhaps these jaded graduate students could somehow understand what I go through when I slumber. Yeah, I was just a tad disappointed to say the least. It seemed to me that the only requirement for the study I participated in was a pulse and even then, I think they dragged in a homeless guy teetering on the brink of death to get the requisite number to continue the study. Instead of exciting medical equipment, monitors and sensors, we were asked a series of questions, paid five dollars and sent on our happy way. What a let down. To this day, I am still not even sure what it was they were studying, but it didn't seem very interesting and the testers weren't even attempting to pretend they cared what the outcome was. But the study did serve to make me even more aware that maybe not everybody out there has dreams like mine.

Last night was a new dream. Often, I find myself having the same dreams over and over with slight variations, but this new dream.... well I find myself not ever wanting to have that experience again. Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember even the most important details that occur, which is why I often hear analysts recommending that you keep a notebook by your bedside so that when you awake, you can write down the details. Once I am fully awake, it seems like a mist starts swirling around the memories and I struggle to grasp and hold onto the feelings and facts surrounding the dream.

I woke my husband up with the sound of my crying. As he was trying to soothe me, I became more and more agitated, flailing about and mumbling. I kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" over and over again. Eventually the crying became full fledged sobbing and somewhere in there, I woke up completely. He held me for a while, until the shaking stopped. He asked me what the dream was about, but I wasn't ready to talk about it. To be honest, I'm not really ready to talk about it now, but I want to see how many details I can remember. Eventually I calmed down enough to return to sleep and didn't wake again until late morning feeling like I was hungover and barely able to sit up in bed.

My dream, well I suppose some would call it a nightmare, started out innocently enough. My husband and I were in some kind of school - not too shocking there as 95% of my client base are school districts. Eventually the scene morphed, as dreams often do, into some type of hallway and my entire being was filled with a feeling of despair; I knew something bad was going to happen. I am not sure what occurred next as the details are blurry in my mind, but apparently there was some kind of murdering psychopath loose in the school and even though the building had been emptied, my sister and I were in it - yeah no more hubby, Tree showed up and we were some sort of special SWAT team. The halls were unlit and eerie and seemed to go on forever. We needed to get to the creepy old boiler room for reasons unknown to me, but we just HAD to go there. Somehow we ended up in the office of the school, which turned into the interior of a little white cottage. The room was filled with Christmas presents, bows tied, red and green ribbons trailing along the floor under a massive Christmas tree shining brightly with twinkling lights.

There was a bomb in one of the boxes and we needed to clear them all out of the room, but there were hundreds of them. Every time we took a pile outside of the building (which was the alleyway beside my Junior High School), more appeared to take their place. The kitchen smelled like baking cookies, but we were the only ones around. After what seemed like hours of labor, sweat dripping from our bodies, we finally cleared the room of everything, including the Christmas tree. Suddenly the killer appeared, stalking us. Tree disappears at this time and it is only me and the murdering scumbag who tried to blow up a school full of adolescents. I look around the kitchen frantically for something to use to defend myself (if I am SWAT where the effing hell is my machine gun?). I can't find any knives and there is nothing else I see to keep the dangerous madman at bay. I see nothing but a figure completely covered in black, no face, stalking me with a huge Rambo-like knife, the metal glinting in the darkened room. Then I spot some forks laying on the countertop next to my hand. I seem to remember some self-defense teacher saying that a woman alone at night can place her car keys between her fingers and use them to stab someone trying to attack her. So I pick up the pile of forks and fit them in between the fingers of each of my hands so that only the sharpened tines are poking out. As the figure quickly advances, I decide to take the initiative and lunge toward it, hands outstretched. The tines of the forks penetrate deep into this person's body and it falls toward me, arms outstretched. The figure in black then morphs into my grandmother, eyes beginning to glaze over, blood seeping out of her lips, she asks me "why?", again and again. I have no explanation and I start crying out, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

I wake up to my husband's not so gentle shaking. My crying turns into full fledged sobbing and my heart feels like it is being ripped out of my chest. My now conscious mind can't seem to digest what happened in the dream and I feel like my brain is being ripped out of my body. I don't calm down for a while and the next thing I know, I have a cat and a kid in my bed and the sun is almost halfway through the sky.

This is the most accurate account I can give for the dream, but few more things came back to me once I walked away from this post. At some point in time, Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O from Jackass were in a dingy old Sports Bar in the cellar of the school building taking bets on who the murderer was and Steve-O was trying to get my sister and I to do body shots. He sought to impress us with his "beer on the head, can drink it without spilling a drop" trick, but I have really seen that trick done by him in person and my sleeping self just wasn't impressed enough to see it again. My sister fades in and out of the dream at different times as well, but is there for the largest portion of it. My hubs disappears and never comes back, but he IS there for me during the aftermath.

I know that there are all kinds of dream analysts out there and everyone's opinion, educated as they may be, is different. For me, I got some pretty great news yesterday morning. Tree called to tell me something fantastic. I guessed correctly before she could even say it. She and her husband of nine years are finally going to have a baby and I couldn't be more excited for them. Maybe the dream was my way of sorting through my feelings about the pregnancy: I can no longer have children, my grandmother - the woman who raised us until Tree was 16 - will never get the chance to see this child and maybe even the fact that I have been feeling abandoned my the hubby for the last little while. The thing that stood out for me though, was the unabated joy that I felt knowing that I was going to be an auntie again. Now I can teach her kid all of the bad things to do and send him or her drum sets and whistles for Christmas.

That's all I've got for now. Anybody else have crazy dreams like that, or is it just me????


Glamourpuss said...

Yes, horribly vivid dreams that haunt me and make me question what reality is. I write them down when I remember and try to figure them out - that way, they lose their potency.


Mim said...

I have morphing dreams. I hate them, you think you've got one place down and then woosh you're off to someplace new.

The scariest of these dreams are when Michael Myers is chasing me.

This happens once a week.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was severe, honey! Get you one of those dream books and analyze the shit out of that!

I had these intense dreams when I was pregnant, but mostly when I dream I don't remember too much afterward. Had a funny one a few months ago where I was still with an ex-boyfriend, and he came to the bar I worked at to try to sell socks. The socks were arranged in a little tray, like the shooters girls use. I pointed out the lack of socks on customer's feet; he told me to shut the fuck up. I figured out the socks were defective; he started to beat the shit out me then and there. My friends then threw him and his sock inventory outside, into a pond filled with legless gators.

Never could figure that one out, either.

Lately, I have mostly sex dreams. I like those.

Miss Britt said...

Holy SHIT woman! I've had some scary dreams - usually involving some kind of betrayal or stalking (hello, Freud?)

But for pete's sake that is FREAKY!

Jenny! said...

I have really vivid dreams sometimes, not very often, but I had one last night that was a bit scary...I hate waking up when your heart is pounding and you can't really place where you are...still in your dream or in real life home!

That is a fucked up dream girl!

ADW said...

Puss - glad you're back, I loved reading about your advenures in the states

Mim - I hate scary movies for that reason alone

Dangerdoll - socks! ha ha funny

Britt - I know - seriously psychotic dreams

Jenny - It feels like you are about to have a heart attack - I hate that feeling.

themuttprincess said...

That was a very vivid dream.

And I bet your assumptions about what it meant are pretty close.

Our minds never really shut off.... So I guess it was trying to help you work thru it.

Open Grove Claudia said...

OK, I cannot resist this, so I apologize in advance. The best research says that repeating dreams carry a tiny piece of unresolved memory in them. This dream sounds like a memory - not a literal memory but a feeling memory. Also, only you can interpret your dreams (we've done a ton on dreams at the Open Grove). While there are some cultural trends (see Gillian Holloway), every person has their own imagery.

People also tend to have crazy dreams when it's a full moon, as it was last night, and women have them right before their period. Some people believe that there's an estrogen/memory link.

That being said.... I have crazy dreams sometimes. We take some amino acids that give bizarre dreams as a side effect. The strong emotional ones are a bear.

I love that your husband was there to help. He seems to really want to help.

Yoda said...

Wow, that's some vivid dream! I have dreams like that very very rarely. Usually, I sleep like a baby, no real dreams that I can recollect. Bits and pieces from this and that, but no overall story or scenes. Guess I should be happy about that? :-p

I think interpreting dreams is overrated, and usually a very difficult thing to do and can be done only by people who know you and your past very intimately! Least of all by some researchers in grad school!! I know how that scene works ;-)

metalmom said...

I get weirdly vivid dreams alot.Is it possible that you have a particularly difficult job to do, or decision to make? Sometimes that comes out as a looming danger (bomb). Would this decision affect others? (Your need to protect children) If you fail would you feel that you have let people down?(apologize)

I don't claim to be able to analyze YOUR dream, but with similar dreams of my own, this is the most common thing going on in my life at the time I dream like this.

Good luck and I'll wish for you to have sweeter dreams!

Miss Kitty said...

Me too, ADW. Mine are just that vivid and sometimes horrifying.

Jenny! said...

It sucks! Or being all sweaty too!

Mighty Dyckerson said...

^ I like the idea of you being all sweaty in bed!

Last week, I had a dream that I was eating a giant marshmallow. When I woke up, my pillow was gone. MY PILLOW WAS GONE!!!

Then last night, I had a wet dream. I gotta start cleaning the pipes before I go to bed.

ADW said...

Mutt - that's what I think

Claudia - the hubby was wonderful

Yoda - sometimes a cheeseburger is just a cheeseburger, so you are totally right, although you might wake up hungry after that dream

Metalmom - thanks (=

KittyKat - yeah - that one sucked anyway, why can't I dream of hot, sweaty monkey sex??

Jenny - sometimes all sweaty isn't so bad

Dyck - You. Are. A. Monkeydork!!!!

George said...

There are so many vivid dreams that I have had over the years ... so real that I can taste, smell and feel the experiences. Unfortunately not too many sexual ones LOL

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Jeez, that was f'd up. My dead grandfather pops up in my dreams all the time, and I know he's trying to tell me something, but I don't know what. Maybe next time I'll stab him with some forks.

Tug said...

DAMN. I've got nothing here...I rarely remember dreams. I wake up alot with my hands fisted, alarm clock & phone thrown across the room, but I don't remember, so no help.