Saturday, August 20, 2011

On dreams that linger in my waking thoughts

 When I was growing up, I always wondered why it's common to hear people say, "follow your dreams." It was weird for me, because if you really think about it, around 90% of our dreams make absolutely no sense at all.

Everyone knows that dream logic is both unpredictable and terrifying, especially to people with a vivid imagination like me. I concluded that there is a major problem with the term "dreams" as used by all these Disney flicks and inspirational books. It should be called aspirations, people! Or at least daydreams.

Everyone knows that regular, sleeping time dreams are almost always either forgettable or so-unforgettable-that-you-can't-shake-it-off-even-after-your-3rd-cup-of-coffee-for-that-day. What sucks for me is, the latter is the kind of dream I tend to have in spurts. And if there's anything I dislike in this world aside from Rebecca Black and Glee, it's having a perfectly good night's sleep ruined by a disturbing, straight-out-of-a-hippie-horror-novelist's-bad-acid-trip dream.

  I remember starting to have these dreams sometime around summer of last year. They started innocently enough, just the stuff you might see in Inception, with architecture, time and space collapsing upon itself like models on a coke buffet yacht party.

But then, each night (or day, depending on what time I slept) that followed featured the truly bizarre inner workings of a mind that seems to relish in providing me with a dense assortment of ultimately unfunny jokes. Thankfully, none of them contained the usual stuff that allegedly thrive on sociopath minds.

But damn, they are weird. How weird exactly? Weird enough to warrant a screenplay from Wes Craven, except less scary and generally gore-free (but still!). I can't remember all of them, but just to give you a sample: Imagine walking down your neighborhood on a gloomy downcast afternoon. Normal enough, eh? Okay then. Add talking statues in front of the houses and living rubber duckies walking by your side.

Still not too weird? Oh, then turn around and find that an army of them is behind you, and they all have something to say.  And they all sound like people you know, but can't remember who. "Well that's weird, man, but seriously not that creepy at all." You're in luck. That's just one of the tamest examples I remember.

  One dream that still gives me the chills up to this day, (even now as I type this) is one where the setting is nowhere exotic, and the lines of space and geography that are always absurdly wrong in dreams are, in this one particular instance, accurate to the smallest detail; at least as far as I could tell. 

And to anyone who actually takes the time to reflect on their mundane, but ultimately insignificant dreams, you should know by now why this is scary. To those who are not, let me enlighten ye. If you had a dream like this, you couldn't tell it was a dream. But wait, you might say, in almost all dreams, you don't know it's a dream till you wake up.

And that brings me to the truly disturbing part. YOU STILL COULDN'T TELL AFTER YOU WAKE UP. It registers as something that happened in the waking hours, at least until after you convince yourself that it didn't because it doesn't register in your mind like a memory or an experience does. 

 But back to the story now, what exactly happened? Well, there I was lying in bed, in my room as I always do before I sleep. I feel the touch of sleep entering my body, signalling that it's time for rest. I close my eyes, and let nature take it's course.

And just as I'm about to sleep, that very same feelings of relaxation suddenly go horribly wrong. That gentle caress disguised as the comfort of sleep? Well it turns out that it was the arms of an assailant, and it's got a death-grip on my neck. I open my eyes and find no one there. But I feel the crushing grip hell-bent on choking me out. I try to punch at it, but I hit nothing but air.

As I'm passing out, I suddenly snap awake. I should be relieved, but then again it is not at all comforting to wake up in exactly the same room I was just getting killed in. Try to absorb that for a second. Not pleasant at all, eh? 

 Determined to rid myself of these nightmares (or at least find an explanation better than, someone's trying to voodoo me!), I consulted every modern human's best friend in solitary information gathering: Wikipedia. A quick and thoroughly lazy search leads me to an embarrassingly simple term: nightmare.

I guess I thought there would be a more "Dr. House worthy" medical term somewhere, but then again it's Wikipedia, and as I stated above, it was an effort done with the least amount of energy expended possible. I found out with the most sheepish face (that is known to a man who obviously should have known better but didn't) possible, that these nightmares were most possibly caused by "anxiety" and "stress". But of course.

The timing corresponds perfectly with the nightmare streaks I've been having. Last summer was before my final year in college. How can one not be anxious? The next streak was during the crucial moments of my thesis.

I was so stressed that it seemed unnatural to not have nightmares. And these past few weeks? Well, I have been a bum for 5 months now. I have batchmates who are already quitting work, while I've yet to get a response from the companies I applied for. Oh, and apparently my habit of a snack before bedtime is not at all satisfied with just sabotaging my workout results, but must, on occasion play a sick joke on my mind when I'm at my most defenseless. What a scumbag!

 Oh well. Guess that means I need to lessen the pressure I put on myself. Which is why I'm gonna cut this post short now and read something that is guaran-damn-teed to calm me down. 

Happy dreaming everyone!

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