April 4, 2011

Recurring Dreams

Elizabelle posted today about elevator dreams and I got all excited because I have SO MANY elevator dreams. So many! They're ALWAYS stressful dreams: I can't find the right elevator, or it takes me to the wrong place, or it's broken, or I can't find / figure out the buttons, or whatever.

I also have a recurring "Finding a room I didn't know we had" dream. These are ALWAYS good dreams, good enough that I feel sad when I wake up and we DON'T have an extra room. Sometimes the extra room is a whole BUNCH of extra rooms: I open a door and there's a whole WING, a whole HOUSE WORTH of rooms to explore.

I used to have the "finding money" dream, where I'd see a quarter in the sand by the side of the road, and hey, under it is a dime, and now I see another quarter and two more dimes, and OH MAN there is a RICH VEIN of coinage here! I haven't had that one in ages.

Unpleasantly often I dream that I'm having a confrontation with someone, and I get so angry I start trying to hit them but my arms are too weak to manage it, which makes me even angrier and also I'm crying with frustration and also I'm feeling awful about trying to hit them and shocked at my impropriety.

I frequently have "packing" dreams, where I need to pack for a trip or for an emergency or for a move, and I just can't get organized and the time to leave is getting closer and closer. These are usually stress dreams, but sometimes can be pleasant if I'm more organized and having some success with the task.

I can't remember where it was, but recently someone wrote something about how you have school dreams for "a few years" after leaving school---but I left school fifteen years ago and it's still one of my most common dream themes. Usually it's the "can't figure out my schedule, can't remember what class to go to next or where the classroom is, can't find my locker" variety. Once I reassured myself upon waking from a particularly drawn-out and unpleasant example of the genre that if ever such a thing DID happen, of course I could just go to the school office and they'd help. So then the next time I had the dream, I remembered that---and I couldn't find the school office, and when I DID find it no one was at the desk. Thank you, brain, for kicking that comforting thought out from under me!

54 comments:

Marie Green said...

Blogger just ate my comment! A long one too! So this is a test before I re-type it, as I see there are no other comments, either...

Amanda said...

I frequently have dreams in which I am blind. The brain is feisty!

Marie Green said...

Hmmm. Well, that one worked...

Anyway, what I said was that I often dream that I'm at college and I can't find a class I'm registered for, but along the long maze of hallways, I find lots of other classes in session that I'm interested in, and keep forgetting to look for the class I'm actually registered for. And then I realize that I've missed the first 6 weeks of that class so I'm WAY behind, so I start fretting about dropping/failing/catching up in the class. Sometimes I find the class, so I start trying to plan my talk with the professor (will I have a good excuse/reason? how will I ever catch up? should I tell the truth- that I was lost- or lie?) but I never actually get to talk to the professor as the class either goes on and ON OR I can't find the professor after class. I've been out of college for 13 years.

I also commonly have dreams that take place in my childhood home. The one that I lived in from ages 5-14. The one that we moved out of in 1990. WEIRD.

MelissaInk Designs said...

The school dreams! I regularly have dreams where I cannot remember my locker combination or what classes meet when. Somehow, it seems I always miss history class.

Nellig said...

There's a seriously interesting dream-interpretation specialist here: http://www.janeteresa.com/.

It's not the usual horoscopy nonsense. Some of the podcasts are fascinating as well.

Apparently the elevator dream and the finding-extra-rooms dream are universal themes and her theories ring true.

missris said...

I am fairly certain I will have nightmares about school (missing a class for the entire semester, missing a final, failing a class, forgetting I had to do a presentation) for the rest of my life. Also common? Teeth falling out dreams. THOSE are pretty darn distressing.

Lawyerish said...

OMG. I have the trying-to-hit-someone-but-can't dream A LOT, and it makes me wake up SO stressed out! I hate that one!

I also have school anxiety dreams very regularly -- usually, I am close to graduating, but I realize that I was registered for a class that I've never attended so I won't have enough credits to finish.


And I have ballet dreams, in which I am about to go onstage for a performance, but I don't have my shoes or costume, or I don't know the choreography.

AND I dream a LOT that I am watching a plane crash or ON a plane that is crashing, but at the last second, it does a safe water-landing (I had this one last night).

On the "wake up feeling happy" side, I sometimes dream that I am dancing again, and I am really, really good, and I can feel in my body how easily and fluently I move.

Lynn said...

I have elevator dreams all the time too! Usually they are made of glass and go up and up and up right into the sky and I can't get out. They're a little panicky.

I read somewhere once that elevators in dreams are just representing your level of consciousness - so the elevator going up just means you are waking up. I guess that's why it's a dream I have so often and remember so much - it's always the last one I have before waking up.

Swistle said...

Nellig- I couldn't figure out how to search the site. I mean, I found the "search" box, but I typed "elevator" and "elevators" and got no hits.

Lisa said...

For a ten year period I had dreams of drowning. At least once a night. Water was a feature in all of my dreams...I'd be sitting on a beach and all of a sudden the tide would come in and wash away my stuff, or I was on a very high bridge over an enormous bay and there were no guardrails on the bridge and I was speeding out control and going to fly off into the water. (My dreams are pretty obvious to interpret.)

The dreams stopped after I quit my job and became a stay at home mom. Every time I have a conversation with my husband about going back to work, I have a water dream.

Even though I have been married to my husband for seven years, I still have the occasional dream where I SCREAM at my ex at the top of my lungs, telling him what a jerk he was and how happy I am that I broke up with him.

Becky said...

I've been out of high school for 12+ years and STILL have regular dreams about not being able to find my locker, being late to class, not knowing my schedule, forgetting to study for a test or losing my books.

I also have dreams where I'm cast in a play and am about ready to go on and know absolutely none of my lines.

Can you tell I'm a control freak that must worry about being unprepared?

g~ said...

Oooh! I have a strange one. I have a dream where I am chewing gum (hate the stuff) and start to gag on it and try to pull it out and it keeps coming and coming and I'm gagging...
GAH!
Deep, cleansing breath!

Lawyerish said...

Oh, I also have one (I have many recurring dreams, apparently) in which there is some emergency and I need to call someone, but I can't dial the phone -- either my hands are too slow/weak, or I keep dialing the wrong number. It is SO frustrating!

Maggie said...

Almost every time I feel overwhelmed at work I have a dream in which I'm swimming or at the shore line and a huge tidal wave comes at me and threatens to crush me and I spend the entire dream trying to decide whether I can dive under it in time or ride it out or get crushed. Evidently my subconscious is ridiculously literal.

Although I haven't been in any kind of school for 16 years I still have bad school dreams for every level, HS, college, and grad school. Keep wondering when those dreams will stop.

Alice said...

i feel practically GYPPED that i don't have a single recurring dream. wtf, brain. too lazy to even DREAM? psh.

LoriD said...

I have BOTH the 'finding an extra room in the house' dream and the 'can't figure out my class schedule' dream. Weird. I'm sure it means something, but what?

Carmen said...

When I was very close to finishing my PhD, I kept having a dream where I was running along a road and I could SEE the end of the road, the place I was clearly heading to. But when I got there, it turned out to be either a corner or the crest of a hill and the road continued as far as I could see and I never ever seemed to get closer to the end. Fairly easy to interpret that one...

For a little while in high school I had a recurring dream that I was lying in the backyard and was COVERED in little black ants that were crawling everywhere, in my ears & mouth, covering me in a pile of ants. I'd wake up screaming, and have to check under the blankets to make sure it WAS a dream. Then I never could go back to sleep, because as soon as I closed my eyes, I would swear that I could feel them walking on me. ACK.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I love hearing about others' dreams, especially recurring ones! So interesting, what our brains pick out and replay for us! (That is my very scientific interpretation of how dreams work.)

Of your recurring dreams, I have only had the school ones. Which I get frequently. They sometimes interchange with dreams about work, but they are always of the type where I forgot to do something and am now going to fail/get fired/die.

I also have infrequent recurring dreams about having a closet filled with awesome clothes. Those make me sad to awaken from!

My other recurring dreams are horrible nightmares, usually about my wedding (which was over two years ago GAH) or about being chased or some other horrible attack type occurrence. My mind is not a pleasant place to wander around at night.

Distinguished Young Women of said...

I have a recurring dream similar to Lawyerish & Becky--I am at my high school alma mater's practice field, and I know the band is about to leave for the football stadium, but I don't know any of the majorette routines and I'm trying to scramble and learn them before we leave. I've been out of high school since 1987.

I also have a recurring college-themed dream, usually involving me moving into a dorm and trying to figure out what to do with my daughter, who is varying ages in these dreams. I never dream about my son or husband in these types of dreams.

I've never had an elevator dream!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Oh Lawyerish - the weakness dreams! I hate those! I have some where I am too weak to run or yell or fight someone who is attacking me or my husband. Argh!

Nik-Nak said...

Dream Mood Dictionary ....google it for the exact site. I love that place, I'm on it every morning after a dream. I've been having recurring alligator dreams (no clue) and I also get the school dream where I'm about to take a test but I don't have a #2 pencil.
I'm always amazed at how spot on my dream imterpretations are.

Joanne said...

I only ever have waitress dreams, probably because I have waitressed on and off for like 20 years. Sometimes it goes really well and more often, it is HELL on EARTH. One time I dreamed that I was waitressing at a catered party at Tony Danza's beach house and he was such a dick about it, I can't like him anymore.

Suzanne said...

I have a reoccurring dream that is LIKE the school dream but not quite. In it, I am involved in some sort of class recital or performance or play and everyone has been practicing for weeks and weeks and it is the day of the show and I have NO IDEA what my part is supposed to be. The bulk of the dream is just extreme anxiety - I usually wake up right as I get pushed onto the stage and am about to open my mouth and reveal I have NO IDEA what I'm supposed to be doing. Those are exhausting.

I also have a reoccurring dream that is actually more like a short film. There's a road trip and a candy store and a desert and a swimming hole that turns into a coral reef and it is all very pleasant. Whenever it happens my dream-self instantly recognizes that it is indeed a dream and I get to enjoy a little mini-vacation knowing I can always just wake up if something bad happens.

Michelle said...

I have the school dream - exactly the same, or with the slight variation of "haven't been to class in weeks and am flunking out but still can't find class or open my locker etc." - every time I have stress in my actual life. I can't tell if it's a good thing that I'm working stress out in my dreams or not.

Lillowen said...

I regularly have elevator dreams, most frequently featuring being forced to ride an elevator where all of a sudden it starts crashing down to the ground, I fly up and hit the ceiling, it stops crashing, and I fall to the floor. Lather, rinse, repeat, until I get to my destination. For some reason I always have to ride the broken elevator more than once in a dream, often many times.

I also regularly dream that I'm far away from a particular destination that I have to be at for a particular reason and/or deadline, and the only way to get there on time is to run. These dreams usually feature country roads for some reason, but I once dreamed I had to run all the way from my high school to my parents' house in bare feet, across snowy/icy/rocky pavement.

Elizabelle said...

Every once in a while I'll be driving my car--in real life--and I'll have a distinct memory of having tried to press the brakes and been unable to, and having panicked about it. And since I know that hasn't actually happened to me, I realize I must have dreamed about it recently, although I never remember having dreams about not being able to brake. Weird.

Wendi said...

Oh gosh, I have the school dreams too! Same ones, and I even went to the damn office in my last dream and asked them to make a copy of my schedule because I lost mine. Then the copy machine kept breaking down, and I could never get the copy. Ugh, it stresses me out just remembering it!

I also have the 'extra rooms' dream fairly frequently, and I love that one!!

Haven't had the dream about my teeth falling out in quite a while, which is good because I hate that one the most.

Dr. Maureen said...

G! I have that gum dream! I thought I was the only one! I don't even like to chew gum anymore. I have the exact same one: There is too much gum in my mouth and I keep trying to get it out and I pull and pull and I can't get it all and I start to get panicky. Sometimes there is an element of social embarrassment too, as I'm trying to do it in public without being seen.

My most common recurring dream is that I'm driving a car (it was a boat one time) without brakes. The brakes usually work a little bit, so I'll slow down enough to take a curve, but I can't stop. It's pretty awful. It usually means that there is some element of my life that I feel is out of my control, and can be related to the person in the car with me. The first time I had it, I was still dating my college boyfriend, and in the dream he kept encouraging me to keep driving, even once I managed to get the car to stop. Why, yes, I DID feel that relationship was moving too fast! How could you tell?

I also have the unprepared dreams, be it a class or a play or what have you, and sometimes I have public nudity dreams. All awful.

Why can't recurring dreams ever be nice?

Mrs. Irritation said...

I was just working on a recurring dreams post. Are you reading my mind? If so, Sorry!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I have the secret room in my house recurring dream, too! Often it's my grandparents' house, as well. And I have the school dream. Ugh. I've also been having a recurring nightmare since I was a child. It involves running through a forest as fast as I can and also being chases by a giant boulder (a la Indiana Jones). These events are somehow connected to me having to save the world. No pressure.

Devan said...

My 3 most common recurring dreams are:
1 - I'm in school or maybe college and I just figured out that I somehow forgot about a class I was supposed to be taking all semester and it's time for the final and of course I also can't find the room.

2 - someone chasing me/out to get me and EVERY variation you could think of.

3 - My teeth falling out. Yuk.

Saly said...

So I worte about dreams today too, and I have 163 posts in my reader, so I swear I didn't read this one first.

For the longest time, I would dream about my ex before Hub. Never anything racy, but that we were hanging out, and talking etc.

I often dream that I am at the top of a small set of stairs, like 2 or 3, so I decide to jump to the bottom. Only when I jump, it turns out it was actually a huge flight of stairs and I am falling and falling.

Kristin & Brad said...

My happy recurring dreams always involve water, and sometimes a cool water slide made out of rock in a canyon. My bad recurring dreams used to involve people killing me. Then I didn't have those dreams for a long time, and recently I've started dreaming that I'm doing the killing. From what I can tell in my dreams, strangling someone to death is not a pleasant thing to do. Yeesh. Also bad dreams of note: school dreams and waiting table dreams, where I don't know any table numbers and everyone is mad at me.

Becky said...

Oh - other posts reminded me ...

I too have had the driving with no brakes and showing up naked dreams.

I also frequently find myself being chased or someone trying to break into my home, and I'm trying to call 911 but get a busy signal or they won't answer.

Apparently my dreaming self is one stressed out woman.

Jenny said...

I had the school dreams until I became a professor, when I started having anxious teaching dreams. These are often about not being able to find my room, but also sometimes involve not being able to control the rowdy class, or showing up to teach half-naked, like top half or bottom half. Never totally nude, for some reason. I also have dreams about roaming other corridors looking for rooms: my old high school, or hospitals.

I once had a series of recurring dreams where I needed to tell my father something, and he was at a cathedral in the heart of a city I'd never seen. Each night I drove a little farther: off the highway exit, through some streets, toward the great sandstone cathedral, to the green close, to the parking, walked to the cathedral, found my father, told him the news. That night, the dreams stopped.

Bea said...

I've never had an elevator dream. I often have the "finding rooms" dream, though, and they're my very favourite, along with the related category of "house hunting" dreams in which I am touring houses for sale with interminable corridors full of bizarre and quirky things (culminating, one one occasion, in a fully equipped backyard hairdressing studio).

No more school dreams for me, but lots of anxious teaching dreams - usually I realize at the last minute that I have forgotten about a course I was supposed to start teaching two months ago, and I don't know where the room is, and I don't have anything prepared.

Kalendi said...

My school dreams have morphed into work dreams. Can't find the room or the building. The funniest one was I went to my office and it was empty and they had moved the entire company and forgot to let us know. I only have them when I am changing jobs or am extremely stressed

g~ said...

Dr. Maureen! I am SO GLAD I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE! I checked out the dream moods dictionary and evidently, it means we aren't able to express ourselves or are experiencing indecisiveness, powerlessness or frustration. Hmmm...

Lauren said...

Missris- every time I have the teeth-falling-out dream, I tell the other people in the dream,"SEE?!? I just KNEW this was going to happen! I've been dreaming about it forever!"

Lippy said...

I have the teeth falling out dream all the time! I have an obsession with my teeth being nice, so it really freaks me out. I have a lot of dreams that I know are dreams while they are happening but I can't wake up. Someone is breaking in the house, me or one of the kids is being eaten by a shark, we are on a crashing plane or a loved one is drowning, nice dreams huh? I have always had this kind of dream, and I use to keep the radio on, so I could hear the music and sign along with the words to wake myself up.

Alicia said...

So strange. I do not have any of these recurring dreams. Huh.

I have had the dream of dying several times, one of which was my most favorite dream of all time, as the rest of it (after the dying by breaking my neck being hit by a semi, which I couldn't feel) was me floating around seeing my family react to my death. Sounds terrible, but it was SO COOL. I have flying dreams a lot. THOSE are cool.

CARRIE said...

My recurring dream that I had for years after N was born is that D and I are together and I am trying to convince him to get married and the dream goes on and on and then finally I realize just as I'm waking up that we already are married. (And I think this makes me feel relief, but I'm not sure.)

Kelsey said...

Ooh I don't recall any of those recurring dreams... I used to have one when I was little about worms, and another where a snake was crawling down our front hallway toward me, telling me he was going to eat my heart out. VERY SCARY.

When I was pregnant (both times, but more with Harper) I had tornado themed dreams but they were more fascinating in nature than scary.

The thing I most often remember dreaming about these days is allergic reactions. Apparently my brain is finished dealing in metaphor.

Beth said...

I have the school dream where I suddenly discover I was registered for a class that I've not been attending for most of the semester. Very stressful. I had no idea this theme was so common.

My most recurrent dream is that I'm moving/leaving and the time for me to leave the house and get to the airport is approaching and I'm not ready. I'm not even close to finished packing. In my dream I'm single and doing my NGO work somewhere in the developing world and I'm supposed to be ready to come back to north America but I'm never ready. (In reality, I'm married and haven't done NGO work for 7 years).

Suze said...

I ALWAYS have the extra room/wing dream too!!!!!

What does it mean? Where the hell is a Freudian/Jungian psychologist when you need one?

Nellig said...

Re the Jane Teresa Anderson site:

Sorry, I can't find any stuff about elevator dreams there either: they are discussed in her book "Dream Alchemy" though (under "stairs and lifts") though.

BUT I've just discovered there are some videos of her doing dream interpretations on YouTube. Here's one where she does the back-at-school dream and the extra-rooms dream in the same session.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAspkIZrF30

Swistle said...

Beth- OH, I can't believe I forgot PACKING dreams! I'll add that to my post!

Jodie said...

I am almost afraid to say this.... I have this recurring dream where I really really have ot go to the bathroom, and I can not find an acceptable bathroom. They are all really dirty or in the middle of the library where I work or occupied. And usually, when I wake up--I really have to go.

I also have the additional room dreams, although usually not in the house I currently live in--I usually dream my childhood home has secret passages.

Swistle said...

Jodie- YES, I have those too! The stalls don't have doors, or the toilets are clogged, or they're right in the middle of a room, or whatever. The last time I had that dream, I thought to myself, "Hey, this always means I need to wake up and go to the bathroom"---but then I couldn't wake up! I just stood there in the dream, thinking, "...How?"

Lawuerish said...

Oh, DUDE, I have the bathroom dreams, too! AND, I remembered this morning that I often dream that I am trying to put my contacts in, but the lenses are HUGE and I keep trying and trying, but I can't get them in and I'm blind and helpless.

Karly said...

My version of the elevator dream involves trying to dial a telephone. I just can't get my fingers to hit the right button. I hate that damn dream.

I also have the school dream, and luckily I can always find the office. But, then I just lose the slip of paper with my schedule or locker combination (depending on the dream, of course) and I have to keep going back and asking and eventually they yell at me.

And, the whole wing of extra rooms? I love that dream too. I also sometimes dream that my dresser has all these extra drawers and I find all these adorable outfits in there that FIT me. Best dream ever.

Kira said...

I waited tables...what?...sixteen years ago? And to this day my go-to stress dream is where I'm taking orders at this massive long table, like, fifty people on each side. And people are interrupting each other and yelling orders and substitutions from all up and down the table and I'm writing so fast my hand hurts, just trying to keep up with it all and it goes on and on and that guy needs a new coke because he spilled his and the kid just tossed a saltshaker across the room and I'm writing and writing and and...
And that's when I realize my pen has no ink.

Superjules said...

Oh man. A do-over pap is just BEYOND not fair.

Superjules said...

Oh huh. I accidentally commented on the wrong post. Now I look like I'm completely insane!