Dream Analysis Can Make Sense

Tom Paine asleep, having a nightmare

Tom Paine asleep, having a nightmare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember one therapist of the many I had before I found my current amazing one would pull out this dime-store version of a dream analysis book and we would go over my dreams each week. Most of it I thought was idiotic, or too simplified, like using your daily horoscope. It can be fun and make you think a bit, but should not be taken as medical advice.

If you are healthy and sleeping correctly that you should not remember your dreams. Well many abuse survivors have messed up sleep cycles, I think, and often have nightmares replaying the abuse every night as part of the PTSD benefits package. Sometimes I could remember multiple dreams vividly from each night. Some I actually awoke screaming and sweating. I can still remember some of the Zoloft dreams right now from years ago by just closing my eyes, as they were so intense and shocking, not necessarily scary or replaying abuse, just intense. I still have somewhat vivid dreams, but not every night, and no nightmares for years now. Yay!

My dreams are typically like watching a movie, they have a beginning, middle and an end, though I usually wake up before the end obviously. But like most movies, I think I know where it was headed.

Last night though, I dreamed that it was morning and I was all dressed in a super nice white business suit (nicer than anything I own or have even tried on) and was taking my kids to school. Well it was a new school and I had some trouble finding it, and had to keep circling around the highway exits. And then I had some trouble knowing where to park. Then I finally follow a crowd of parents and get the kids in school. But as I return to my car (it was a minivan when I went into school, but was now a sweet corvette – GO GO Gadget cool car!) I see that the archway I had passed though was crumbled down to the ground, making a sort of cavernous tunnel I needed to navigate and at times crawl through on my belly. I was worried about being late to work, so I just kept pushing and digging myself to get myself forward. I finally emerge on the other side of the rubble, all sweaty and muddy, popped a few buttons on my blouse, some leaves in my hair, holes in my stocking, lost a shoe, but I feel so proud for getting myself through so I just stand there a minute and look back at my path and grin. And then I notice, right next to the difficult path I had chosen, there was a completely clear one that the other parents were walking easily through and chatting carelessly with each other. I didn’t see that path when I started mine, I didn’t know I had a choice.

The dream went on and on, but that part really stands out to me and I don’t think anyone needs a book or a therapist to gain the symbolic meanings in there. I love my brain, that it can create these movies for me in such vivid detail and teach me a lesson about myself too. What amazing creatures we are.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/01/16/144672190/ending-nightmares-caused-by-ptsd

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4 thoughts on “Dream Analysis Can Make Sense

  1. Go you!! My sleep patterns were only reasonable when I had a dog, my living, breathing security blanket. Without her, I’m trying to find a sleep pattern I can live with, not easy when I use sleep deprivation as a tranquilizer. I love your dream, and felt proud right along with you for making it through.

    • Aww, my dog is always at my feet, at the computer, doing dishes, and definitely when sleeping. I really do feel like I’ve made it through. Like my path will be one I now choose, and not quite so difficult as the one I have been traveling.

  2. “Most of it I thought was idiotic, or too simplified, like using your daily horoscope”

    I laughed when I read this, because I know lots of people who would get so offended by that statement, (because they swear by dream interpretations or even daily horoscopes), but I hear what you’re saying. I know you didn’t intend it to be offensive in any way. Obviously, asking a person that doesn’t believe in dream interpretations to place any value on the significance of the textbook explanations is a bit like asking an atheist to put their faith in God — it just isn’t going to happen.

    In fact, to take it a step further, (because this subject has been on my mind lately), the same applies for just about anything. For instance, I’ve been trying to convince the sister that lives with me to consider talking to a therapist to discuss her ongoing issues with negativity and her insistence on focusing on everything that is wrong with her life, but because she doesn’t believe in therapists in general, it’s a bit like trying to pound in a nail with a melted marshmallow. Still, I haven’t completely given up on trying to sway her over to at least giving it a fair shake. It’s hard for me to remember that far back, but way back in the old days when I met my first therapist, I brought a lot of skepticism and a disbelieving attitude into the equation. Over time, my opinion changed. I’m hoping I might still have a chance to at least expose my sister to the possibility of therapy being helpful. We’ll see.

    As to your dream, yep, that one seems fairly obvious to sort out, and maybe that’s how we should always look at ourselves. We might have additional challenges, and we may have to work harder to get from A to B, but dadgumit, we get there! Mussed up hair and torn stockings not withstanding, we’re still standing. Gotta give ourselves credit for that, right?

    The older I get, (and at 53 I’m collecting an abundance of years), the more I find myself trying to open my mind even further. Leave myself open to other beliefs and possibilities. Or the path not taken. 🙂

    • Hmm, well see, I guess I do believe dream analysis is very useful, but not the dream dictionary symbolic stuff where you look up “pink bird” and find it means your life is lacking “blank”. Life, and dreams, I feel , can not be over simplified in that manner, but must be taken as a whole. You got the same meaning exactly as I did, my dream was about choices, paths we take, and because of where we came from, that we often have to work much harder to go from A to B, but we get there eventually. I used to be down on myself for choosing the wrong path, but now I accept that you can’t always see the other path. The dream dictionaries that one therapist used would ask me what color was the rubble I was climbing, and then attach meanings like, red rocks mean I’m afraid of dying, and brown rocks mean I am in touch with nature. It was a bunch of random nonsense. But everyone has some fairly common type dreams, flying, falling, feeling trapped, late for work, being chased, and those make sense also to me to explain underlying feelings of anxiety. But when they ask what type of tree you were flying over, because an apple tree means you secretly desire to have more children, and a maple tree must mean you desire waffles and syrup, lol. Just silly to me.

      And I guess an interesting point, I don’t write my posts thinking of others, at all. My blog is mainly for me, though I do help someone somewhere finds it and be helped through similar tough times by reading mine, and maybe not feel so alone. So no, the intent was certainly not to directly offend anyone, but there was no intent of any type. I simply write my thoughts. I am always open to someone’s comments if they feel differently, but if I were to censor or try to be gentle, well that is not what this blog is about, and I think those that choose to read it or follow it know that. My thoughts are generally not gentle, not at all. I use this blog to record and examine those fleeting intense thoughts I get that confuse me.

      I totally understand what you are saying, I also know many people that do not believe in therapy. But I also have experienced dozens of therapists that I think could not help anyone. It takes a very special kind of person, and not necessarily the one with the most degrees to really help someone and guide them on their journey. And on e therapist may be helpful to one person and not another. My therapist is a guide, not an instructor. She does not give me advice, only helps me sort through my many conflicted thoughts and feelings and find the true path that is meant for me. And then she is also there when I don’t choose the correct path, because we can’t always know ahead of time, we don’t always see it so clearly. But it took me years to actually trust her, and then years more to learn how to make the most of my hour by directing the topics that I need help with.

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