Wednesday, May 30, 2007
(Image from http://www.rikkerkoppes.com/images/)
How many of you remember your dreams? How many of you have recurring dreams, some repeating over years before they mysteriously go away? How many of you see your dreams as, among other things, a way your inner self is offering comment that might help you learn something?
I don't record my dreams every day anymore, but I did for years and I found them fascinating, no matter how I used them. Research on dreams is quite varied. I worked for a year, during my career as a Clinical Psychologist in a research center that studied pain, 'hypnosis', and dreams. Much of what goes on during REM, awakened dreamers describe as thinking...perhaps a recap of their day with no other significance attached. You can affect a dream by tickling a dreamer with a feather. The feather becomes incorporated into the dream in various ways. Again, no particular significance.
Of much interest to me personally and clinically has been the recurring dream. In my own life I've had series of thems at different times. During my first marriage, I dreamed at least once a month and usually more often about telephones. I was trying to get through to someone, but the telephone was broken, the telephone didn't take my change, the person picked up but couldn't hear me, I couldn't find the right number, etc. I never had a dream of a completed phone call. Throughout this period, I was trying in vain to get an indifferent husband to listen to me, kept thinking if I tired hard enough he would open the emotional block he'd put up after only a couple of months of our marrying. When I finally gave up and left, the dreams went away, never to recur. No, the dreams weren't magical signals. They clearly reflected what was going on, but they were also telling me to pay more attention. I wasn't doing that.
Another series of dreams I had for years was returning to school. Sometimes grade school. Sometimes grad school. Usually I didn't have my schedule and couldn't find my classes. I never did get a clear feel for those except there was something I still needed badly to learn, but hadn't. In doing some tissue memory release work in the nineties to recover memories of a high school head-on collision that I'd never remembered, despite the fact that I was wandering around on a broken foot in a field when the ambulance arrived and 'came to' in the hospital, sitting up talking to my paarents, another unexpected memory surfaced. This second memory had to do with something I 'knew' had happened but only existed as a shadow in my mind with no details and had plagued me most of my life. It had to do with molestation over many years by my grandfather (which my parents never knew about and my grandmother was too terrified of his temper to tell). When those memories came back and I had closure on them, the going back to school dreams disappeared. The dreams never told me what I needed to learn, but were darn insistent that I had something in there and wasn't finding the right classroom yet.
My last real series of dreams were grief dreams about my mother. For six months after she died I had repeated dreams that she was calling for my help and I couldn't reach her to save her. When mother first realized that her last hospitalization for a sudden (four month) onset of congestive heart failure really was her last, she was terrified despite her deep religious convictions. She also didn't want to leave me while I was still so sick with CFIDS. After six months, I started seeing mother calm, but behind a glass pane. I could see her, but not talk to her. After a year, she began entering my dreams normally, as if she were really there doing things with me and , this time, my father was often there, too. That was about the time my heavy grief over her death was easing up. Now I see her in my dreams and it's a happy event.
If you'd care to share a recurring dream and its meaning to you, I'd love to hear.
BTW, Some of you may wonder why I wanted to remember that accident. I knew it had happened. I wasn't driving. I was in the middle seat between the band director's son who was driving, and his mother, on our way back from band clinic. She and I had just changed places about 20 minutes earlier. She went through the windshield and her face was destroyed. The son had broken ribs and was pinned by the wheel. I had broken bones in my foot and hand and cuts. After that and into my adulthood, I had trouble passing cars on a two lane road if a car was even in sight in the distance. If it was necessary to pass and safe, I became extremely anxious facing that car, now in my lane, coming in my direction, until back in the right lane again. I hoped to get rid of that fear. It helped some to remember, but not enough to warrent the memory of Mrs. Mills lying on the car hood with blood everywhere and her son screaming while I banged my shoulder against the door trying to get out of there and run. Nope.