Recurring Dreams

I was recently reading something about common dream themes and it reminded me of something I had nearly forgotten about that I found kind of interesting, upon reflection…

I used to have four recurring dreams, each with amazing frequency. I would have each of them at least a few times per month, from about ages 30 to 35.

A list of them with meanings:

  1. Dream: Telekinesis. Meaning: Physical and mental abilities not being put to use, not utilizing full potential.
  2. Dream: Trying to run but couldn’t, or could only go very very slowly, legs wouldn’t work properly. I had this one so often it became a lucid recurring dream – that is to say, when it happened, I knew it meant I was dreaming… and even then, I still couldn’t make my legs work. Meaning: Lack of self-esteem and self-confidence, stagnation, feeling stuck, experiencing severe stress in waking life.
  3. Dream: Having huge wads of sticky gum in my mouth stuck to my teeth. I would grab it with my hands and pull and pull but could never get it all out. Meaning: Inability to express oneself, suppressed emotions, frustration, powerlessness, intense stress.
  4. Dream: Toilets, trying to find a usable one but only finding dirty/clogged ones or public ones with no doors on the stall or both. Meaning: Inability to express oneself, frustration, stress, needing to get rid of old psychological habits, or otherwise toxic or useless behaviors in one’s life, fearing that one’s nasty habits are exposed to others.

These dreams can have a few other meanings, but I am only listing the ones that I felt applied to me. Dream interpretation is personal and circumstantial, and somewhat superstitious, but I had these dreams so frequently, I couldn’t help but look them up and make the obvious correlations to my life.

During the period of time I had all of them (2005-2010, mostly), I was, at various times to varying degrees, as stagnant, stuck and depressed as any person could be. My marriage went through some horrific ups and downs (that was the first thing to repair, around 2005-2006). I felt unable to grieve my father for all those years. I was an active alcoholic, heavy smoker and occasional drug user, sedentary 90, 95% of the time, and drowning in an intense cycle of shame, powerlessness, hopelessness, and utter depression.

Good lord. Seems so hard to imagine now. I can’t believe that was me.

But back to the dreams. I haven’t had the telekinesis, running, or toilet dreams in almost three years (maybe? maybe a little less time?). The gum ones became very infrequent and I think the last one was maybe two years ago. I don’t think this is an accident.

In the last three years, I have quit drinking, quit smoking, lost 80 pounds, started running, moved across the country, got an awesome job, finally fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams by buying a beautiful new house, improved my marriage, changed my friendships, nurtured my passions and interests. I can’t believe it’s coincidence that I haven’t had any of these dreams in so long now, given what they represented to me.

As an aside, and a further reinforcement, when I was discussing this with Steve, he reminded me that he used to have the very common recurring teeth falling out dream, during all those same years, at least a few times per month. The meaning? Powerlessness, anxiety, feeling like you aren’t in control of major areas of your life. He has not had his dream in a couple of years now, either. Go figure.

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