Do you ever wake up from a dream, and wonder for a few moments which world you’re living in? The one from the dream, or the one you really live in?

I often dream that I am somewhere, lost, and I cannot find my way home. I am always looking for someone to guide me home.

I search for phone books, scraps of paper with numbers written on them. I ask people if they know the person I want to contact. 

But I always come up empty. No phone books. No scraps of paper with names and phone numbers written on them. No one who knows them. 

Then sometimes I actually find a phone (oh my, the end is near!) and I think I have the number to get help. But I can’t see the numbers. Or my fingers won’t dial it correctly. 

Or I have a phone book or piece of paper, but I somehow can’t read the number written on it.

The dream continues in panic mode until I wake up. 

I sometimes try to figure out what my dreams mean. I think that when there are no answers to our most significant questions in life, then perhaps the fear derived from that event or events does not go away. 
I think that anxiety and fear may drive some of our dreams, as we try to work them out in our daily life when we’re awake, and somehow aren’t able to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

Maybe this anxiety or trauma is tucked away into a place where we don’t think about it everyday. But still it is there, just waiting to float to the surface.

And perhaps it bubbles up to the surface in our dreams, because we find it hard to think about when we’re awake.

According to an article I found in Scientific American about the science of dreaming…

“Dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them. What we see and experience in our dreams might not necessarily be real, but the emotions attached to these experiences certainly are. 

“Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it. This way, the emotion itself is no longer active.  

“This mechanism fulfills an important role because when we don’t process our emotions, especially negative ones, this increases personal worry and anxiety. 

“In fact, severe REM sleep-deprivation is increasingly correlated to the development of mental disorders. In short, dreams help regulate traffic on that fragile bridge which connects our experiences with our emotions and memories.”

While there has always been a great interest in the interpretation of human dreams, it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung put forth some of the most widely-known modern theories of dreaming. 

Freud’s theory centered around the notion of repressed longing — the idea that dreaming allows us to sort through unresolved, repressed wishes.

Carl Jung (who studied under Freud) also believed that dreams had psychological importance, but proposed different theories about their meaning.

Do you find that some of your dreams stay with you more than others? Do you have the same dream over and over again?

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  1. I have very vivid dreams if I doze off while in the recliner chair. I don't dream or don't remember them when I am sleeping in the bed. When I doze off in the recliner whatever happens to be on the TV becomes part of the dream, since I don't usually watch scary or gruesome stuff that usually isn't a problem, but when I had my wisdom teeth removed a while back I dozed off in the chair. It was during the first day when I had taken one of the prescribed pain pills. Apparently I fell asleep with my finger on the channel change button because I woke up from the worst, horrible nightmare about being tortured by having my teeth pulled. Apparently, I had accidentally let the remote go to some movie, where they were pulling teeth out to get information from someone. I woke up terrified from the dream I was having and then there it was on TV. For a few moments I couldn't figure out what was reality, since the pain pill had worn off and my tooth holes were hurting. That was pretty bad.

    One time recently I dreamed my friend and I ran into Caesar Milan, the dog whisperer, in the library. That was an entertaining dream.

  2. I have a recurring dream that it is the end of the school year and I "forgot" to go to math class all year so can't take the test that will enable me to graduate. Weird. I also have one similar to yours about trying to dial a phone number – usually a rotary dial and I keep messing it up. In both dreams I feel very anxious. I really liked this post – very interesting!

  3. I have very vivid dreams and some of them are indeed recurring. I used to keep a dream journal but that didn't last long. It was interesting to go back and look at my dreams. I rarely remembered any of them.

  4. I used to have the same dream over and over for years. Thankfully, it no longer happens. It was me living another life in another time but with the same husband and children. Very strange. I knew the house inside and out, it was so familiar. Perhaps a different timeline? Who knows.

  5. Here's what is interesting about your dreams of not being able to get back home — over the past few years, it seems like in your awake life you are getting more and more comfortable with yourself in your own home. Yet you still have this unsettling dream of not getting home. It reminds me of how I occasionally have a dream about my ex-husband, or about a man I was once engaged to who broke off the relationship. In the dreams, I'll be in a relationship with one of them, and he'll call and tell me to meet him somewhere. I'll agree, and go to the place, and then he'll never show up. I haven't been in a relationship with either of them for over 25 years, and I've been happily married to a very loving and dependable man for 11 years. So, I'm not sure why I have dreams about those people from the past who weren't there for me. I already know that about them. Maybe the dream is about something else, or about me still being vulnerable in some way. But I'm not sure.

    Regarding Linda's comment about dementia, I am intrigued by stories of people who are about to die, who say they've been visited by someone who already is dead. Before she died, my mother-in-law told me of visits she had from her sisters and her late husband. I always went along and did not try to contradict her. The people in the family in the medical profession just brushed it off as being related to her old age and medicine she was on. But, I've always wondered. To her, she really did see the people, and she wasn't upset by it. So, it seemed like a good thing for her to seem them.

  6. I've often thought that the dream state is another part of life, albeit one I often can't remember or understand. Sometimes I even wonder if dementia is closer to the dream existence…weird I know. Dreams must do something for us…work out what's going on in our lives, perhaps? I do have some recurring dreams…they tend to be the anxiety type. And my most vivid dreams and nightmares are always in the morning before I wake. Interesting post, Brenda!

  7. I love the Peter Pan quote too. Yes, I have recurring dreams. Sometimes troubling. And yes, dreams that stay with me. I'm always thankful that I have dreamed because it's a sure sign I have slept. 🙂

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