Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu: Or Is It Just A Dream?

       With thanks to hosts D.L. Hammons and Nicole Zoltack, we have another year of the Deja Vu Blogfest.   In this event we post a blog post from the past year that we'd like to see get more exposure.  That's an easy one for my blog about dreams A Faraway View since this blog gets very few visitors.   Maybe this blogfest will change that.

       The post I've chosen to revive from the past appeared on Thursday March 13th of 2014.  I hope this reappearance whets your curiosity enough to visit again now and then.   A Faraway View normally posts each Thursday.


The Adverse Affect of Blogging on Dreams

Example of dark circles
Example of dark circles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          Since I began blogging in September of 2009, more than once have I awoken in the midst of a night's sleep with a concern about blogging.   Before I learned how to pre-schedule blog posts I would just write a post and then publish it.   This lead to posts appearing randomly at various times of day.  Then I read somewhere that posts should appear on a regular time schedule.   I just had to figure out what time would be best.

          This concern about posting times began to cause me to wake up at odd hours at times.  Usually I would try to have a post completed so I could publish it as soon as I woke up.  Sometimes I would forget and remember during the night.  It was probably in dreams that I was reminded about preparing my post to publish in the morning.  Sometimes my sleep, hence my dreams was disrupted.

          The discovery of scheduling the posts to appear automatically at designated times was a boon and a blessing to my sleep time--for the most part that is.   Blogging and internet in general still frequently affects my sleep and dreams in an adverse way.

          This phenomena is comparable to dreaming about work, school, or anything that might involve a major part of our lives.   These days I spend so much of my time on the internet and doing things related to my blogs that these activities preoccupy much of my thinking both consciously and subconsciously.  I won't make any mental health judgments about this.  It's just the way things are in my life now.

         Occasionally I have awoken from a dream about blogging--usually not a troubling dream, but one that causes me to dwell upon my blogging.  The dream may be related to an idea for a post.  There are times when I have gotten up in the middle of the night to compose a post or at least lay out a considerable amount of notes so the idea would not be forgotten.  Naturally this takes away time from sleep and dreams.

         At other times I might dream about other bloggers.   This is usually not adverse I would suppose, but these dreams can create a peculiar sense of involvement with people I don't actually know.  Can such fantasies play a negative role in my perception of waking life?

           Then, as I have mentioned in other blog posts, my dreams sometimes delude me into thinking something is wrong with my blog, my computer, or some aspect of my internet life.   Sometimes I wake up confused from dreams such as these and it may take a while for me to understand that I was only dreaming.

          Probably my major concern is that blogging draws me away from sleep and dreams and I may have a compulsion to go online instead of sleeping when I should be at a state of rest.  This can result in sleep deprivation.  I often feel tired and think this may be a reason why.  Being tired, I will typically take an afternoon nap during which any dreams that I have are usually not what I would call "quality dreams" in that they don't seem long enough, they lack story and have minimal coherency insomuch that a dream can be considered to be "coherent".

           There is no good solution to this that I can think of.   And in fairness to my internet involvement, my sleeping habits do seem to be getting better of late.  Then again, maybe I'm just adapting to having the internet influence in my life.   This may just be another plight of modern existence.

            Is your sleep and dream life affected by your activity on line?  Do you think the internet can be a danger to the mind?   What are some ways that modern technology intrudes on your ability to sleep well and dream healthily?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blogging Break

Due to family circumstances this blog will be inactive until I get back on a regular schedule.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Are Dream Fears Real or Subconsciously Fabricated?

English: Words associated with Fear
 Words associated with Fear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Let's say you are having a dream that frightens you--or perhaps even gives you a sense of absolute terror.   The dream may cause you to wake up.   You might be shaking with your heart pounding.  You might be sweating.   The dream that has awakened you causes you to lie awake afraid until the fear has subsided so that you can finally go back to sleep.

        Most of us have experienced a dream like I've described here.  Think back for a moment on what exactly it was in the dream that scared you so.    Can you remember precisely what is was in the dream that caused you to be afraid?

          Sometimes we can pinpoint the exact nature of the source of the fear in the dream.  It might be a frightening individual or an animal of some sort.   It might even be a literal monster or demon.  The fear may have been aroused by a dream occurrence or the expectation that something awful was about to happen.   Dream fear can be stimulated by a specific place or the unfamiliarity of a mystery place.   Just as happens in waking life fear in dreams can be incited by a number of things.

          On the other hand, there may be nothing you can pinpoint visually, aurally, or from any other reference of the senses that would seem to be the source of any fear.   The fear might just be there for no perceptible reason.   In the dream we might imagine that there is something to be afraid of but we can't identify anything that we should be afraid of.   In cases like these, fear is merely an element of the dream.  Waking from a dream like this can be the most puzzling situation, resulting in prolonged periods of inability to go back to sleep as we fret over the meaning of the dream experience and the reason for the fear.

          Either way we might be led to wonder why exactly we have the presence of fear in dreams at all.   The fear can stem from something we experienced in the preceding day or at some other point in our lives.  Why we would dream about fearful things from the past could be because we have recently been reminded of those events.  If our mind just randomly dredges up fears from long ago then that would be a peculiarity of the dream state that would be difficult to understand.   Surely the fear is most often related to recent events.

          Fear in dreams might also be related to something in the future that we feel insecurity about.    Events at work, situations within the family, or other circumstances that loom in our future with uncertainty can trigger fears related to failure, rejection, and other negative emotions.    The fears that we have about what lies ahead in our waking life might be reinterpreted as nightmarish situations in sleep.

           A final possibility might be that the frightening dreams are symbols that don't have anything at all to do with our actual lives.   Perhaps the subconscious fabricates nightmare scenarios to toy with us or even entertain us much like we might look for entertainment in watching horror films or reading scary stories.  Our minds can often come up with pretty random thoughts that seem to come out of the blue.    The subconscious mind maybe?  

           How do you usually respond when you have a frightening dream?   Are your dream fears something you can usually actually identify or do the fears seem to relate to something that is vague or unknown?   What frightens you most in your dreams?    Are your fears in waking life the same as your dream fears?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are Dreams Honest?

English: SYTYCD audition photo
SYTYCD audition photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Dreams are typically strange.  Sometimes they will present us with familiar situations while at others we may be in unfamiliar places and circumstances that remind us of something from our past.   Are these seemingly familiar people, places, and circumstances actually real or has our subconscious mind created them?

          How honest are our dreams?   Perhaps they are completely fabricated stories based on vague notions.  Or at other times they might be revised dream versions of what we've actually experienced at some time in our past.

         Here is a case study of a dream that I've had:

I am going to downtown "L.A." to audition for a film or TV role.   My second wife (S),  our kids, and our high-school age girl babysitter is with us.  We go to a big building.  I am confused where to go, but remember coming here once before for another audition.
There are many people, most of whom seem to be here to audition.  I'm not sure where to go.  While S. goes to the bathroom there is a call for everyone to go somewhere but I'm not sure where we were told to go.  When S. returns we go to where I think we went last year.  In the dream I realize that S. and I are no longer married or speaking.
We are directed to a car that will take us to the audition. I get in the front where two hispanic kids are sitting practically on the driver's lap.  We are dropped off at another location.  I find a place with people and tables, but no indications what we are supposed to do.  I wander around and finally we are in a chaotic place where auditions seem to be happening.  There is a wide variety of strange people.
At one point a pudgy quirky looking guy sitting up on a ledge becomes belligerent when I think he has been told to leave.  He begins talking about "cake".  I realize he is doing a comic monologue and is doing a good job at it.  In the end it appears he has the job.
They start dismissing groups.   I stay kind of hidden in hopes I will be missed and allowed to stay.  I see S. dancing with another group.  She looks awkward.
Finally I'm told to leave.  I see it's raining hard outside.  I worry about my kids.
I leave, but then decide to return.  As I walk back I begin singing a very good and unique rendition of "Hotel California".  I am convinced that I should get a part.

       There are many aspects of this dream that are clearly based on my past experiences.   Though S. and I never went to any auditions, we worked in theatrical productions for many years.   S. had often danced in these productions though she was an awkward looking dancer.   The baby-sitter was a real character who had filled this role when my children were younger.  I often fantasize about being a singer and feel that I have a decent singing voice.

        I'm not sure what this dream is telling me about my ambitions or about my previous marriage.   I woke from the dream with a certain feeling of melancholy about that marriage, but a sense of positivity and optimism about the future.

         Do you dream about a past that is not exactly like it was?   Are you more talented in your dreams than you think of yourself in waking life?   Have people from your past unexpectedly appeared in your dreams even though you haven't seen or thought of them for years?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wake Up Call

Richwood is situated on both sides of a valley...
Richwood is situated on both sides of a valley located in the Appalachian Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Sometimes I wake up from sleep remembering the dream I have been having without that dream seeming to be any reason for my awakening.   However on some occasions a dream will specifically appear to wake me up.   Usually something in the dream has scared me into wakefulness.  There have been times when my awakening is due to something special about the dream such as certain words that have been spoken, a particular idea that has been conveyed, a person who has special significance, or a dream event that stimulates my mind causing me to wake up.

         These dream wake up calls frequently result in an inability to go back to sleep for a period of time. They are dreams that might wake me up and cause me to stay awake thinking about them.  Typically there will be deep significance concerning the dream message that has been delivered in whatever form it has been sent.   Apparently there is a need for my conscious mind to attempt to decipher what the dream mind has told me.  Much of the time I end up staying awake for some period of time and pondering the dream or mind writing a dream ending to the story in order to have resolution in order to peacefully return to sleep or get out of bed to begin functioning in the world of wakefulness.

Here's a recent example of a "wake up call dream":

         There is a long involved sequence of going places and encountering many people in different situations.  Eventually I am in the cab of a sort of truck with my father driving.   We are apparently in Kentucky in a rural Appalachian type area.  My father drives very erratically and I am somewhat nervous about his driving. We seem to be looking for somebody or going to pick someone up.   We reach an interstate that we are supposed to travel north on.   My father enters the cloverleaf ramp onto the freeway at too high a speed.  Our surroundings become a white blur as we round the loop.   We find ourselves on a somewhat narrow country road that becomes more narrow we proceed and then eventually turns to gravel.  We know we've taken a wrong turn and are now on the wrong road.
         Then the truck is gone and we are walking on what is basically a somewhat wide gravel trail.   We turn around to go back to where we had been.  We come to a willy nilly house with various porches and doors.  The house is not particularly old or run down, but it's not overly nice or sophisticated looking.  Country folk live here.  In front of one door I see a malformed youngish dwarflike human writhing on the ground wearing something similar to a Confederate soldier uniform.  A frightening looking middle-aged man dressed in overalls comes out to confront me.  Behind him I see what I take to be other family members--his wife and kids.  They all have a swarthy appearance that suggest to me that they might be of indigenous American ancestry.  They all look mean, angry, and unwelcoming.
          I tell my father to keep walking.  I stay to deal with the man whom I find very threatening.  I am very afraid of what may happen.  In my fear I wake up.

         Once awake I found that I was unable to go back to sleep.  My mind was absorbed by the circumstances of the dream causing me to feel uncomfortable.  As I lay awake I began to imagine the dream scenario as I played out what the outcome of the dream encounter might have been.  In my imagination I began having a conversation with the man.  I asked if the small person in the uniform was his son and he confirmed that it was.  Then I continued to discuss other things that I now don't remember.  Eventually we were having an almost pleasant conversation.  I smiled at the man and a trace of a smile seemed to appear somewhere in his scary countenance.

          As my wakened mind finished out the story to a more amenable conclusion, my mental state became more relaxed to a point that was more conducive to sleep.   A lingering awareness that I had been afraid cast a pall upon my mind, but I was able to go to sleep feeling that the threat of the dream had been diminished and probably dismissed for the most part.

       Various dream events and images can sometimes awaken us to leave us in a state of discomfiture, paranoia, or even terror.   We may lie awake or have to get out of bed to do some activity that will distract us from our thoughts.  The result may often be a restless night of sleeplessness or sleep deprivation.  Perhaps the best thing to do is immediately confront the dream issues and resolve them to the best of our ability in order to remove the distraction from our mind.

         Have you ever been awakened by scary, puzzling, or even good dreams that have caused an inability to go back to sleep?    What dream people have caused you to wake up and think about them for an extended period?    Have there been any ponderables (such as things you are concerned about, forgot to do, or need to plan on doing in the future or anything else that causes enough fretting to interfere with sleep) that have notably awakened you from your dreams?