Sunday, February 05, 2012

Dreams are Serious Business

I've always had vivid dreams, and most of them I was able to control. I would realize early on in the dream that I was dreaming, and from that point be able to make things go my way - I could use telekinesis, turn invisible, fly, or simply rewind time and try it again.

For a couple of months this has been changing. As an example, when my last dream was starting this morning, I never realized I was dreaming. I made only a few changes, and those very minor; when the man robbing the bank went through my wallet, all he took was some cash; he passed over my debit card and put back my Social Security card at my suggestion. Later, when that same man was trying to capture or kill me for going to the police, I was able to defeat all of his minions with slapping, which must have been manipulation because a) I'm a weakling and b) slapping, really?

However, I was unable to stop the robbery in the first place, or to escape from it. I was even forced to experience pain (a puncture wound to my hand). Later, knowing that Mat would want to know what happened, I was unable to find a quiet place to call him. And at the end of the dream, though I defeated the minions, I was unable to kill the man who had robbed me and was now trying to kill me. (Apparently he had the ability, when his mouth was stuffed full of chocolate, to swallow half a candy bar at once. Yes, I was trying to suffocate him with chocolate. I work with what I'm given.)

I have two theories about why my dreams are changing.

Theory One: I'm a creature of habit.
Back when my dreams were full of magic and me getting my own way, during the day I was constantly stressed, often to a point I didn't think I could handle. And even when I found a moment of contentment, I would suddenly be struck by the fear that I had forgotten something, and that thought would persist until I remembered or came up with something to be stressed about.

For the past few months, I've been in a better situation, and been learning how to better handle stress. But it's also been in the past few months that my dreams have been changing. I experience much more stress overall, in addition to slowly losing my ability to control things.

In short, I am so used to stress that when I avoid it during the day my mind forces it on me while I sleep.

Theory Two: I'm some kind of learning CPU.
In my magical fully-controlled dreams, all my problems were solved by invisibility, flying away, or other methods of escape. This paralleled my waking life, where I would run away from problems; for example, I quit my English major because a paper I worked hard on got a C, and I didn't bother trying out for a vocal performance major because I was afraid I wouldn't make it. This attitude of mine has slowly been changing, and as I have learned to deal with problems in real life, perhaps dream me is also learning to deal with problems instead of running away.