And Oh, My Dreams

dramatic dream

When I was little and had nightmares, my parents used to tell me it was because I had to pee. “Go to the bathroom,” they’d say. “The nightmares will stop.”

For the past three nights I’ve been having the strangest, scariest dreams. And no matter how many times I get up and try the whole peeing thing, they aren’t going away.

I’m probably just going insane from shutting myself up like a hermit in my apartment and doing nothing but study for my exams. That’s the most likely scenario I can think of. But in my semi-insomniac state, I always think my dreams are trying to tell me something. It’s not impossible, right? They could be. My subconscious is probably more in tune with reality than I am right now.

In high school, my chorus teacher had this really old book on dream interpretation on one of his bookshelves. One week I casually mentioned to him in passing that I’d been having a lot of dreams where I was massively pregnant, and he told me to look it up in the book. Apparently that meant I was on an archetypal journey to self-awareness. Duh. Like every other fifteen-year-old girl on the planet.

A couple of nights ago I kept waking up and falling back to sleep into the same dream world. It was very 1984-esque; everything we were doing was constantly under surveillance, and there were strict rules about things we could and couldn’t do or say. I texted one of my friends about it and she said I was probably feeling smothered. (Yes, absolutely. By finals.)

I hate being the kind of person that believes in dreams. It’s like palm-reading or gazing into a crystal ball. Except it’s not, because it’s me, and I’ve learned lessons in weirder ways. This doesn’t even make the short list.

I can’t ignore my dreams. They make sense. Lately I’ve been feeling scared and trapped and lonely, and I can see all those things in the images that dance through my head every night. Sitting alone at round tables in big rooms. Trying to jump from the dock to a boat that’s just a little too far away. Finding myself in places that look familiar, but aren’t quite right. As hard as I may fight, falling asleep doesn’t give me relief from my emotions. It strengthens them.

Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat and I tear the sheets from my sticky skin and I shake there for a little while, staring at the ceiling, and wish that I weren’t all alone. And then I drift into dreamland once more, only to find myself completely abandoned in a place I don’t recognize with people I barely know. I don’t need a book to understand my brain. I’m always on my own. I’m scared I’ll always be on my own.



  1. You will NOT always be alone. I have the same fear of separation/abandonment/loneliness, but it’s just our brains being ridiculous. You are so amazing. I haven’t had disturbing dreams lately, but I relate to a lot of things that you write. You will not be and are not alone. Never.

  2. Do you have time for a dream journal? Sometimes writing it out would make things a lot clearer to you…or talk it out to someone..not Verbalising it is another way…it may just click within as you hear yourself talk.

    Always remember within you (and each one of us) we hold tremendous power and strength…and no matter what changes that comes it will be okay. And we are never truly alone 🙂

  3. My dreams are always super intense when I am feeling particularly anxious. I struggle with the idea that my dreams are trying to tell me something. Not all dreams or all aspects of dreams have a hidden meaning. I found myself completely caught up on a particular dream that was infact, just a dream. Bad dreams aren’t fun but I find fearing them makes them worse. I hope it stops soon.
    P.s: I’ve been with the same guy for 6 years and still go through periods of loneliness. I reckon once I become ok with being alone.. that feeling will go away becuase as the previous comments have said – we are never truly alone.

  4. I dislike being one of those people who believe dreams mean anything, but they’ve given me too many reasons to not disregard them.
    My dreams become especially chaotic when I’m stressed, which it sounds like you very much are. Sometimes taking an hour to meditate or just watch tv and relax makes a world of difference.
    But you’re not alone. We’re all here for you.

  5. My last night’s comment disappeared immediately upon refresh. A WordPress bug, I suppose. I was too tired to post again. In any case, our body responds to surroundings at sleep. If the room is too loud, too bright, too cold, too hot or whatever case, these external stimuli translate into your brain activities and possibly your dreams, probably because your consciousness is not processing them as when you are awake. Wearing socks to prevent cold feet is sometimes an inexpensive solution without any chemical side effect. You can take acetaminophen, too, at least for a few days without any problem. If your roommate is away right now, you can turn to your many friends for a few nights here and there. It enhances friendship to just help one another in times of need. I hope you will do well in your math final.

  6. I used to have a lot of anxiety dreams, mostly about being late to work. My colorful dreams now are mostly just bizarre expressions of my imagination. Good luck with finals! I remember how stressful those times can be.

  7. My dreams usually reveal emotions/opinions that I’m trying to deny in real life. It can be annoying. 😉

    Have you ever tried to teach yourself to have lucid dreams? I did that when I was in high school, so I could control what happened in my dreams.

    Hang in there, and best of luck on your finals!

  8. It’s so bizarre how the things we feel in waking life, even subconsciously, can manifest themselves so vividly (and painfully) in our dreams. I hope you get a break from the dreams soon, and that you can shake that isolated feeling.

  9. Aw Gwen, you’ll never be alone! And the dreams could just be a reflection of school stress, or even of falling asleep soon after eating. I know I have very vivid dreams if my stomach is still digesting food. Especially if it was rich or spicy food. Anyway, my point is there are tons of outside influences that effect the physiology that in turn influence dreams. Hang in there, girl! I bet after finals you’ll sleep easier. xo

  10. You will not always be alone! Perhaps your dreams are trying to tell you to get out and meet more people….I don’t know but the next time your in that room with a bunch of people you don’t know walk up and say hi to someone. You might be surprised….

  11. I’ve gone through so many stages of dreams in my life. I actually had a reoccurring dream for a year that probably saved me from a bad situation turning into a HORRIBLE situation….but that’s a long story… mostly I think our dreams are a term I learned in a psychology class in college… ‘garbage dreams’…. where yes, they are related to our life but it’s our brain sorting out and storing information into files in some compartment of our brain. I doubt that garbage dream was the actual psychological term- I just remember our prof calling them that. Little bits and pieces of bigger things…the bigger things aren’t garbage but the little bits and pieces we see all piled together in our head in a dream is…because piled together it doesn’t make sense…pull it apart and see the bigger picture than maybe it does. But that’s often hard to figure otu!

    1. Hmm..yeah, I guess that makes sense. Dreams are the way we process all the things going on around us – according to my dad, without them, we’d die. So I can’t be too mad about my dreams. At least I’m living.

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