My Vivid Dreams

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Photo by Stacey Kizer via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

While I am not very imaginative in my waking hours, when I sleep I have extremely vivid dreams. Often they seem so real that I’m certain they’re really happening and then I feel relieved when I wake up from the bad ones, and disappointed when I wake up from the good ones. Some of them have very complex plots and play out like movies inside my head. Recalling them in the light of day can be very amusing.

One recent dream involved a group of people who woke up in a room together with amnesia. Not one of them could remember anything about who they were or what they were doing there. Each one of them left the room on their own and went out in search of clues to their own identity, based on the way they were dressed. For example, one man who was dressed as a fireman went to the local fire station to see if anyone there knew him and could tell him who he was. After my dream followed several members of the group and their unfortunately fruitless search for their own identity, they all came back together and it was revealed that they were all actors in a play and were wearing their costumes. The moral of the story was uttered by one of them: You cannot find your identity in external things.

Unfortunately, most of my dreams are actually bad ones. Nightmares, in fact. I have a few recurring ones. There are a couple that I’ve just started having recently. One involves being lost in a shopping mall. There are endless corridors and passageways that lead nowhere. The mall is closing and I can’t get out. Another one involves finding myself on the wrong bus, knowing there are no more buses that day going back in the direction I came from.

Then there are a couple that I’ve been having for decades. There’s one where I’m in the passenger seat of a car going down a huge hill toward the river in my hometown. The car is picking up speed, and I turn to look at the driver, only to see that there is no driver.

Then there’s my most frequent, longest-running nightmare. In it, I’m in some kind of dangerous or scary situation (the exact circumstances vary) and I’m trying to call someone for help, usually either the police or my mother. But either the telephone doesn’t work, or I can’t make my fingers work to dial it, or I dial it and get a wrong number repeatedly. I am consumed with a feeling of horror and helplessness.

This dream bothered me so much when I was in my twenties that when I came across a TV talk show that had a dream interpreter on it and they were inviting viewers to call in, I did so. The dream interpreter told me that telephones in dreams often represent a connection to God, and she suggested that I was seeking a connection to Him but did not feel that I was finding it. I didn’t want to make her feel bad so I agreed that her interpretation made sense, but I didn’t really feel that it rang true. I do have a strong faith in God and although I sometimes doubt that He loves me as much as He loves most other people, I don’t necessarily feel disconnected from Him. In fact, I’m pretty sure that even if churches didn’t exist and no one had ever told me about God, I would still believe in Him, because I’ve always been able to feel Him. People and religion have never drawn me to Him; more often they do nothing but frustrate me and distract me from Him. It’s in my quiet, alone times that I sense Him.

These days, I am extremely skeptical about dream interpretation. I’m not really buying all that. And I certainly wouldn’t call into any TV shows, about anything! In fact, I got laughed at by certain individuals for it at the time, the insinuation being that only crazy people call in to TV talk shows. That was one of those confusing situations where I got a glimpse of how other people perceive things and I realized I’d gotten something wrong yet again. At the time it hadn’t seemed like a crazy thing to do. They were asking people who had recurring dreams to call in. Why was it weird to then do so? I didn’t get it. Maybe I do now though.

I think at the time, I was just really desperate for the dream to stop, and I thought if my conscious mind knew the meaning behind it, it would go away. But it didn’t go away. Two decades later, I am still having it. I have gone through periods of time where it was less frequent. I think I may have gone a whole year or two without having it at one point. But it is back with a vengeance.

One thing I think is funny about it is that decades ago, it was always either a landline or a payphone I was trying to use, and now it’s always a cell phone. Funny how my subconscious has kept up with the times.

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3 thoughts on “My Vivid Dreams

  1. I would love to know if these vivid dreams are something that comes with autism. I’ve had them all my life! I almost fell off my chair just now reading your blog. I’ve never heard anyone else describe their dreaming experience so close to my own.

    Do you have the same issue where they still feel real after you wake? I had one horrible nightmare about being stalked by a known serial killer who was still at large. When I woke, I was so terrified I had to google the name of this person to make sure they weren’t real and therefore not after me.

    The good dreams–the amusing ones especially–I love those. It’s like going to your own private cinema.

    Do you get the mundane ones? About silly things like… calling someone, or posting a letter, or just dumb things that you wake up thinking you’ve done? Has that ever got you in trouble like it has me?

    I feel you on the recurring dreams, too. I have two of those. One is pretty standard–I’m in my final year of high school, graduation is days away, and I haven’t turned in the work to pass my last class. This dream can cycle through repeats in the same night, I can go through ten instances of my final high school year without graduating.

    The second involves a tower. Usually starts in a shopping center or a hotel. I get into a big elevator, and start going up. Occasionally I have to get out of the elevator and switch to a new one to keep going. Every time, the next elevator is older, smaller, shakier. The building becomes tighter and more rickety around me until I’m basically wiggling from one tiny and unsafe space to the next. Just keeps going until I wake up. Horrible!

    I think that if there is meaning behind your phone dream, it’s much simpler than the interpreter made it. You struggle to connect with people on a daily basis. You don’t always feel capable of asking for help when you need it, and you aren’t confident that if you do, you will be understood.

    In the times where it occurred less, did you feel more confident and connected to those around you? You’ve had a large shift in your surroundings lately, so it would make sense for it to come back if you’re feeling a little less secure in those connections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have really vivid dreams too. I usually enjoy them–even the bad ones! (It’s like a big old haunted house ride–I just sit down, settle in and enjoy it. 🙂 It would be interesting if anyone is doing studies on dreams and autism.

      As an aside, whoever said only crazy people call in to talk shows–it sounds like they were just giving you some grief. Talk shows are often pretty awful and exploitive, but they’ve also raised awareness about issues that are hidden and hard to talk about and they’ve helped bring about some positive social changes so they’re not all bad. (or maybe they used to be not all bad. Haven’t tuned in since I was in my twenties). Your call-in dream interpreter might’ve been better had she known you better, but I think dreams are interesting and sometimes just fun. You’re a really engaging writer. If you wanted to write fiction, some of your dreams would make great short stories. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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