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    Thread: Recurring theme in dreams I've had for over 30 years...

    1. #1
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      Recurring theme in dreams I've had for over 30 years...

      Hi all!

      This is my first post here and was hoping someone could help me in analyzing dreams I've had for over 30 years, please.

      First a little bit about me:

      I'm a 39-year-old man from the north of England. I'm a creative person and have forged a career as a professional copywriter and semi-pro film and T.V. journalist/critic. I have 2 kids, a cat, and last year exited a long-term relationship, and have been single since. About 14 years ago I developed a physical disability that basically turned my life upside down and wrecked my mobility and dexterity. The change of lifestyle and fallout from the illness played havoc with my mental health, and only recently have I battled my way out of a fairly long, dark depression. I'm out of the other side and thinking clearly now, which is why my dreams have been staying with me more and made me curious.

      Oh, and I have experienced sleep paralysis regularly for as long as I can remember too. Don't know if that's relevant, but thought I'd disclose it anyway.

      So, there is basically two themes to the dreams, but they both share aspects with each other. Firstly, and the ones I recollect having first revolve around being chased by someone/thing, but with a bit of a twist. I first recollect having this sort of dream when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I had just watched the movie Nightmare on Elm Street for the first time, and after I had a dream Freddy Krueger was chasing me around the perimeter of a building. The thing is, I was not afraid and he never actually got near me as I remember doing that thing you do when playing chase as a kid where you swap directions halfway around an obstacle without the other knowing. This went on for ages. Every time "he" realized I was going in a different direction, I went the other way. He never got near me and I eventually woke up. I've since had other versions of this theme almost weekly my whole life. For example, in my local shopping center/mall, they two big glass elevators side by side. On one occasion someone(I didn't know who it was) had a crowbar and wanted to hit me with it. I remember getting in the first lift and hitting the top floor. As it started going up, he got in the other and followed, but as I got to the top, I hit the button for the bottom floor, so I was just starting my ascent as he was hitting the top. Then when I got to the bottom, I hit the button for the top again. This went on for the whole dream, with us crisscrossing all night and seeing his scowling face getting angrier and angier.

      The second of the themes is another really frustrating one, but not a nightmare as such. Basically, I find myself either doing something mundane, or driving/riding/walking somewhere, but never making any progress or getting the thing done. They are always boring things. For example, I remember one where I was in a sweet shop where you weigh out your own sweets and then go pay(I had never seen the shop before). I'd go and weigh all these lovely looking sweets and chocolates, then join the queue, but no matter how many people were served, I never got any closer to the till. Then a lady came out with one of those mobile card readers to serve on the shop floor, but whenever I went to pay with her, she was called somewhere else at the last minute. I remember feeling really frustrated and confused during this dream, but never angry, and I never felt any ill-will towards anyone.

      Another play on this theme happened a few days ago. I was walking to watch my local football team play a match. i recognized the area, and I knew the route to the stadium, etc. There were thousands of us walking to it, but no matter how long I walked for, I never got any closer(despite the scenery changing as I walked, so I know I wasn't walking on the spot). I could always see the glow of the floodlights over the houses, but I remember it never changed(like my surroundings did) or got closer. I never felt any frustration during this one though, but was very confused and started to feel a little upset and anxious, and when I woke up I had a really bad few days mentally and didn't want to leave the house and even had a few suicidal thoughts creep back in too.

      Does anyone have any experience with dreams like this? They never bothered me until this last one where it actually affected me after I awoke and I'm hoping that by understanding them, it won't happen again.

      Thanks in advance!

    2. #2
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      Greetings from a fellow Englander and Welcome to Dreamviews. Firstly, Iím sorry to hear about your past depression but Iím glad youíre in a better place now.

      In response to your first dream, I would say being chased is a fairly common nightmare scenario. Iíve often found childhood fears linger and reoccur right into adult life as well. For example I was scared of dogs as a child and often still have dreams where dogs attack me despite getting over this fear many years ago. Iím often chased by armed gun men, monsters and all manor of scary things as well. I think itís maybe a primal fear one that we all share.

      The key difference with your experience is this repetitive, frustration in the nightmare which also occurs in the other dreams mentioned. Itís not a dream theme Iíve had often but Iíve heard it can be quite common. I believe Daniel Love, a well known Lucid dream teacher and author has a similar reoccurring dream regarding repetition and frustration. I would imagine these dreams are born out of a frustration youíre feeling. You woke from the dream frustrated but it was maybe a reflection of the frustration you were already feeling?

      I find the choice of words you use quite telling also: ďFrustration, confusion, mundane, boring, upset, anxiousĒ
      and sentences like: ďnever making progress, never getting the thing done, never getting any closerĒ.

      Now I donít know you personally and Iím no expert but maybe these dreams are a reflection of your depression. Maybe you feel like youíre going in circles in life, doing the same thing over and over and never getting where you want to be. Or more simply youíre just frustrated in general. It could be due to a many number of things.

      Anyway thatís just my interpretation. Only you can really understand whatís going on in your own mind. I have found dreaming an amazing subject to get lost in and I feel I know my mind much more after observing my own dreams. It can be therapeutic and has helped me through some things in my own life. If you want to better understand your dreams I recommend keeping a dream journal but I would also add that Dreams can bring to light issues that are swirling around in our heads but it can be easy to over analyse them and find meaning where maybe there is none. If youíre finding these dreams are making you depressed then it may be worth seeking professional advice.
      I wish you all the best and I hope you can make sense of these dreams.

    3. #3
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      Welcome to the forum CodEye.

      Your dreaming theme about chases is quite interesting. My first thoughts are about how you are never caught but seemingly also never manage to completely evade the chase, not until you wake up, anyway. In one of the dreams you mention, the person chasing you inevitably seems to end up feeling some kind of frustration (expressed as anger) at never being able to catch you. If this was my own set of recurring dreams, I may have a fear of them eventually catching up and being all the more violent or aggressive for all the evasion; because of my own personal beliefs and experiences, something along the lines of "you can't run forever", even though it is not technically impossible to evade something forever, it would certainly be tiring to try, in my mind.

      I generally agree with Tiktaalik's interpretations, especially on the dreams about frustration. To add to what he's said, I think a lot of life ends up feeling repetitive, boring, cyclical and we end up wanting to have more interesting things to do, to think about. Being stuck in a cycle in and of itself is pretty frustrating, especially if that has practical implications or consequences on our life.

      At any rate, I can't say why you are having these dreams as only you can know or find out why, though it makes me think that on this aspect I relate strongly with physical disability/issues myself, having gone through cycles of denial/acceptance more than just once. I don't think this issue ever truly goes away and that can have a pretty big impact on mood, on our feelings of self-worth and on how we look at life going forward. From my experience, it's natural for previously "dealt-with" subjects to come back up at some point, just in the same way as Tiktaalik mentions still having nightmares about something he's already managed to overcome.

      I know someone else on the forum would certainly suggest that you keep a dream journal and try to notice if there are any common underlying patterns to your dreams, this would be probably be a good initial step towards understanding your own dreams a bit better.
      CodEye and Occipitalred like this.
      Singled out from some of my favourite quotes from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: "Risks of [Planet] flowering: considerable. But rewards of godhood: who can measure? - Usurper Judaa'Maar: Courage: to question."

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      Thanks to both of you for your replies!

      I think you are both right that the themes of the dreams are born out of the frustration I feel about my physical/mental health. I always kind of ignored this in the past, as I remember them happening long before my illness so never factored in really. But thinking about it now, If I'm honest with myself I think I always suffered from mental health problems, even back in my childhood(anxiety, always self-deprecating, lack of self-esteem, etc) so it really could be all linked.

      I've decided to keep a full dream diary and try and correlate what my general mood is, things that have happened in the prior day and anything else that stands out prior to the dreams occurring. Hopefully I can find a link and maybe reduce the frequency of them!

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      Iím glad youíre going on this journey. It can be a fascinating way to get to know yourself better. Within a few weeks of dream journaling and recalling I started seeing repeating themes that are clearly very integral to who I am. A lot of the themes Iíve noticed revolve around childhood issues and anxieties that have followed me into adult life. Iíve read that nightmares and anxiety dreams could be negative and repressed issues and emotions that need processing and working through. Iím yet to really tackle them myself but Iím more aware now of the things that are troubling me and can look out for these same themes and negative thought processes in my waking life. If you need any tips on journaling and improving dream recall then thereís many good fellows and informative threads on dreamviews.

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      I think something interesting about Freddy Krueger nightmares is that he chases people in their dreams. I wonder if at a subconscious level, if not a conscious level, you knew you were dreaming when he chased you (because Freddy = dream) and maybe you were just playing. Even the elevator dream, maybe you thought it was funny to outplay someone like that and this is all a game to you, subtly knowing you are dreaming.

      About the other dream theme, it might be about the way dreams form. I think it's somewhat common for dreams to duplicate things. For me, I might find there's a lot of one object or one animal in a place. It also translates to places, so I might feel like I'm walking in a circle because every room is similar. Another concept about dream formation I would say is delay. Sometimes, the dream takes a bit of time to form. In the meantime, there might be holes, the dream may fade a bit. Or maybe it fills the holes with duplicates. I think it's possible that while you wait in the line, the dream is lagging so as to delay the continuation of the dream (what happens after you pay) and so it duplicates the people in the line. The last concept I will bring up is focus. While you are focused on your present situation, the dream might favor building on the present situation rather than the next event. So, as you wait in line or walk toward stadium, the dream might delay another event by making varied duplicates of "walking to the stadium" events (it changes but it's the same kind of area, the same kind of scenario). And you might be stuck in this loop until you focus away from this event (waiting in line to pay, walking to the stadium) and focus on the next event: eating the candy, watching the teams play or the concert at the stadium or something else entirely. Since you are dreaming, you don't need to get there physically. You need to get there mentally. (Physically getting there helps to mentally get there too obviously )
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 05-26-2021 at 04:59 PM.
      DarkestDarkness likes this.

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