You know the dreams I am referring to. The ones where you never stop moving in them. You are running, dodging "something", trying to escape or simply free falling into a an abyss of....... Yeah! That is what I am talking about. Every single night this has been my fate. I close my eyes and the minute I drift off.....I am engaged in some sort of very dramatic and very athletic dream activity. Yes, of course I am still asleep....but obviously my brain has not shut off and when I do finally wake up.....it has been a good 5-6 hours of constant and in some cases nerve racking mental Olympics.......and I am beyond exhausted. Not only that.....but I spend the rest of my day trying to remember details and wonder what it all means.
To be honest....I have always been a dreamer or in some cases....a nightmarer! As a young child I remember having terrifying dreams where I would wake up with blankets and pillows over me, sweating profusely trying to hide from "something." As a teenager...my nightmares came to include my entire family as I would have what they call "night terrors" where I would wake myself (and everyone else in the house) up....screaming to the top of my lungs. Many is the night my poor mother would be awakened from a sound sleep with my blood curdling screams, break all land speed records to get to me.....only for me to have awakened myself and realized it was only a dream and to calmly say...."I am fine!" I am sure she wanted to kill me!
I have always been curious about dreams. They are sometimes beyond explanation as their effect can follow you through your waking hours too. I have had a dream where I was mad at my husband.....and poor guy started his day with a mad wife because I couldn't shake the dream. I have even developed crushes on guys because of random dreams I had. What is really amazing is the dreams you have where you know someone in your dream but you wake up and realize you have never laid eyes on that person. A friend of mine who is far more into dreams and their meanings than myself once told me that perhaps those people were not complete strangers. They may have been someone I had seen or run into but they didn't register in my brain at the time. Instead...my brain stuffed them away and reproduced them in a dream. Maybe. Who knows?
This friend as I said thinks far more about dreams than I do. She thinks that dreams are the part of our brain that awakens when the body and mind are at rest. This unlocks the parts of our brain that are seldom if ever used during our waking/conscious thinking hours. After all...we only use a minute portion of our brains so it does make sense that if we are shut down or relaxed that other parts might kick in...but then again...what do I know? She also believes that dreams can be telling. She thinks some can be a forewarning of future events. I don't really believe this....as often my dreams are retro active and take me back to times, places and people that I know without a doubt are not in my future.
I have had many a dream about my late husband and my mom. For several years after their deaths....they would tag team me in dreams. The dreams were always so sad for me because even in my dream....I would know that they were only visiting and before the dream was over....they would be gone. Sometimes it was torture going to sleep knowing that once again I would be with them only for a short time and that they would be gone. Often I would wake up sad and crying. Now though...they only enter my dreams on occasions and it is usually dreams of the past where they are there as I remember them. Especially Mom. She is young and feisty and being very much Mom.
I also wonder about the dreams that are nightmarish. It has been many years since I had night terrors but up until I was in my mid to late thirties...I would have the dreams where I was so scared of "something" that I couldn't scream. I would try and try to wake up to prove it was a dream or scream out in case it wasn't.....but I could do neither. The next morning my husband would ask what I was dreaming about as he said I would toss and turn and mumble in my sleep. I usually had no clue what the dream was about....I would just remember the fear.
Now a days....my dreams are different. Often they are very colorful and as I said before....very athletic. Sometimes I am crawling across a rope that is tied across two very tall and very distant mountain tops. I hate heights and apparently going across this rope is my only chance at survival. Then there are the nights I am running. All night long I run. I have no idea where I am running to, what I am running from or why I am dreaming of running, but when I do wake up.....I am beyond thirsty. Weird! The only real nightmare I have had of late is the other night when vampires visited my dreams (damn those Vampire Diaries). I had my window open in my room (for real) and in my dream I wanted to get up and shut it because I knew vampires were going to get in the window. I remember a moment of terror feeling as if they would get in before I could close it. Once I woke up though....I was far from scared. In fact...I was embarrassed at having such a juvenile dream.
So why do we dream? There are many ideas out there on the subject. One is medication....or in some cases the lack there of. Perhaps it is what we eat or our subconscious working overtime. Maybe it was the movie we watched that evening or maybe we suppress so much in our daily lives that at night those thoughts just overflow. And maybe.....some of us just have over active imaginations. Whatever the case....we all have them. Some of us are active dreamers and some of us are occasional dreamers. Some dream in black and white and some in technicolor. We can be in the present, the future or the past. We can share our dream space with strangers, friends, family, the living, the dead, the undead and monsters of every shape and size. Dreams can be happy, sad, disturbing, funny and in many cases....forgettable as we are only left with the feeling but not the actual dream when daylight comes. With all the dream studies out there....you would think we would actually know more about our sleeping thoughts.....but apparently we don't.
At any rate....it was an exhausting week. You would think that with all my running, climbing and rope hanging I did....I would have at least dropped a pound or two....but apparently dreams don't carry over to real life to that extent. Bummer.