Monday, October 19, 2009

In Which I Dream

I don't often remember my dreams. I would say that I don't dream at all, but I've heard that regardless if we remember them or not, we dream every night. I'm pretty sure that my neurological condition is to blame for this, preventing me from reaching a state of sleep deep enough for me to retain what my subconsciousness thinks up. Very infrequently do I wake up, either in the middle of the night or in the morning, with the memory of what I had been dreaming fresh in my mind.

The dreams I do remember are often bizarre or extremely disturbing. When I was going through the thickest and worst part of my anxiety problems last summer, I had the worst dreams of my life. They were truly horrible, made up from my darkest thoughts, swirled into these beastly vignettes that played on repeat in my mind's eye. Those dreams stayed with me for days, some of them for weeks, but I won't share them here.

When I wake up and actually remember what my dreams had been about that night, I make a point to write them down so that I can remember them later, or I tell The Boss about them. On a couple of occasions, I've written about some odd dreams here (the post about the fleas, and the other one about my stint as an arsonist are two that immediately come to mind). I sometimes look up certain elements of my dreams in dream dictionaries to see what they mean, but even after pouring through page after page, I haven't been able to decipher the strangest dream I've ever had.

---

I'm driving down a narrow dirt road, the tall grass whispering against the sides of my truck. The sky is grey and overcast, the sun burning bright behind the clouds. It smells like it had just finished raining, but the ground is dry. I'm driving fast, hitting hard the bumps and ruts on the poorly kept one-lane road. I'm obviously in a hurry, and despite my speed I don't seem to be getting anywhere. Tall grass lines the road all the way to the horizon.

As I make my way around a bend in the road, suddenly the tall grass ends and I'm in the parking lot of a small hospital. The parking lot is littered with a few cars, most of them clustered together near the entrance to the building. I park my truck at the far end of the lot, and step out. I feel the cool air against my skin, and make an interesting discovery.

I'm naked.

With nothing to cover up my indecency in my truck, I cover my groin with my hands and run towards the hospital.  I feel a deep-seated urgency, that there is something important I am missing or that I need to do, and despite my nakedness, I must get inside the hospital. I burst through the glass doors, and as I run lightly on my bare feet through the lobby, I catch the eye of the people in the lobby. Their eyes are wide and mouths open in shock, but no one approaches me as I run through the lobby and down a hallway to the side.

I keep running. When I reach the end of the hallway, I see a door that is slightly ajar. I push it open and find that it's a uniform storage closet. I step into the closet and pull the door closed behind me. Finding my size, I dress myself in a set of scratchy blue scrubs. I complete the ensemble with a white lab coat and shove my feet into a pair of sneakers I found tucked away in the corner.

Once dressed, I look around the small interior of the closet. There is a seam of light coming from the corner. I notice then that the far wall of the closet is actually a door; I find the handle, and turn it.

The door opens up into a patient's room. The only light in the room is a florescent bulb hanging over a sink mounted to the wall on the left side of the room. Something is in the sink. I walk over to it, not wanting to see what is in the sink but finding myself forced to by some perverse morbid curiosity. In the sink is a stainless steel bowl, filled with severed thumbs.

I take a few steps back in horror and look away. It is only then that I notice that I'm not alone in the room. Sitting cross-legged on the end of the bed made in crisp, fresh linen, is a black man. His bald head gleams in the florescent light. He's wearing the paisley-printed garb of an inpatient. He's meditating, his fingers pinched together in an "o" shape on his knees. I try to speak to him, but my throat is dry.

Suddenly, he turns his head to look at me. He smiles, his teeth a brilliant white. His eyes are closed. He unfolds his legs and swings them over the edge of the bed. Just as he opens his eyes-

- I wake up.

---

The dream has stayed with me in vivid detail. I've tried to figure out what the various parts of it could mean, but it just doesn't make sense. It's like my own personal horror story. I suppose I should be thankful that I've only had this dream once, and that it hasn't come back to me in my sleep.

Any thoughts?

What is the worst dream you can remember having?

24 Comments:

Debbie said...

I often remember my dreams too. But the worst involves me going back to a man I had to flee from in fear !I dream I am back and know I have to get out and have to start the whole process again! and the feeling of being trapped is overwhelming..that dream stays with me all day when it happens!!

Sandy said...

Like you, I seldom remember dreams. If I do remember them when I first wake up, they disappear over the course of the day. However, lately I have been remembering more but unless I write them down, they are gone soon after waking.

Alan said...

I used to have dreams about levitating. Now I don't really have a lot of dreams. Usually I wake up and don't recall what I was dreaming about...

MommyGeek said...

That's terrifying! I don't typically have bad dreams; strange dreams, yes... but I think with the kids, I don't often sleep deeply enough to get to the point of remembering.. so it's rare to remember, and even rarer for a bad dream.

I can never, EVER, remember them as vividly as all that though.

lovelila said...

Wow, that is a strange dream indeed. I actually usually have pleasant dreams or just plain "this could happen in real life" dreams. Probably because I block out the not-so-pleasant ones. My best friend, however, has the bizarre mindfuck dreams, though. They're insane. OH WAIT! I did dream once that one of my cousins was trying to kill me and my brother and we ended up getting separated and I got away, somehow ending up in Houston. That one was weird.

Natalie said...

Often times you aren't remembering one continuous dream, but a hodge podge of several dreams through-out the night. Even if they seem to have no transistions. Most dreams only last a few minutes at most.

Try picking it apart with each different aspect.

1. - Your driving on a deserted road.
2. - Arrival in a parking lot naked
3. - In a hospital
4. - Janitors closet
5. - Patient's room
6. - Severed thumbs

Kathy Garmus said...

My partner likes to call me the "Dream Wizard" because of my ability to interpret strange dreams (my theories at least sound plausible, whether accurate or not). I'll have to give this one some more thought -- it's definitely an interesting one!

Tammy Howard said...

This really does seem to be strongly symbolic! (If only I knew of what)

Naked and trying to cover it up often symbolizes vulnerability. Thumbs can imply the need to 'get a grip' - although I'm not sure how that transfers to severed thumbs.

Interesting stuff indeed!

dsmcaron said...

I dream a lot about one person, but those dreams are always pleasant. I had a recurring dream for many years that finally resolved. Although I know I have had disturbing dreams, I'm pretty good at letting them go. I have twice had dreams about snakes and I believe those are significant.

Why not break it down as suggested and try working it out that way? It sounds horrible. Maybe thinking through different elements of it will shed some light.

Notes From the Grove said...

I hardly ever remember my dreams. I have two weird ones from my childhood, however, that I remember having a lot: one about being able to fly on a sheet of saran wrap (lol), and one about a cow on roller-skates. Clearly, I had a very vivid imagination.

Taking a total stab in the dark here: do you think the severed thumbs could represent parts of your life that you feel are missing or unresolved? That's my first amateur guess on that one particular part.

Melissa said...

Naked is the easy one. Vulnerable.

The rest of it I cant for the life of me even think of lol.

My weirdest dreams are of me trying to wake up. I am dreaming about waking up. But I cant wake up. This dream happens often, and I have no idea what it means.

Mwa said...

Not a clue what that means. My worst ones are when my kids are killed. Then comes being chased by a knife-wielding person. Then having my husband cheat on me with my sister.

I have very happy dreams.

Oh, and that good old school toilets dream, of course.

Shari said...

I dream in color. I have dreamed one specific dream 3 times over the course of 10 years. I won't go into detail since this is not my blog. :P

My repeating dream always starts out with me sitting in a field of yellow daises with my head laying on John Cougar Mellencamp's leg as he strums his guitar and sings "Small Town" me. His wife offers us *chocolate chips cookies for us.

My dream then morphs over to John and I laying on his purple velour bed spread making out. After we are finished doing the deed. He leads me into the bathroom so I can clean up, after I am finished I turn to open the door to go back into the bedroom but there are 3 doors and I do not know what one I came in. I can hear my **children having breakfast out side one of the doors. I open the door that I think my kids are on the other side and they are not there. What I do see on the other side of the wrong door is: John screwing this red headed chick that I went to grade school with.(Uh - hello grade school) I start beating the shit out off both of them and John escorts me outside of his house. Outside but on the roof of a high rise in NYC. I am crying.. crying really hard. I am so upset that John wanted HER and not me. I am sobbing so hard I can't hardly see or breathe. John reaches behind his back and says "I'm sorry Shari. Here take ONE of these so you can remember me"

and

he FUCKING pulls out a huge kick ass diamond ring or a concert t-shirt. "He tells me I can only have ONE" I would like to think that I took the ring - but - I do not know cuz that is where my dream ends!!! ALL.3.TIMES. I think I took the concert t-shirt cuz I am a schmuck like that (and I have one nestled in my bra drawer).

weird. Why would I never finish that dream?

oh.. I have had John Cougar Mellencamp dreams lots of times. Oh.. I shoulda told you about the one with the hubby was pissing on a car full of girls after a concert. Then John and I stole the tour bus and traded it in for a see threw pick up truck. I will save that for the next dream story!


* I don't like chocolate chip cookies.

** My children were in their late teens when this dream started. In my dream they were toddlers.

Lola said...

Not quite sure what that dream means. Was it around Halloween when you had it?

I have freaky dreams all the time, and I'm pretty good at remembering them for the first hour of the day. Then, I lose it.

Mrs Soup said...

My dreams are so crazy. Most often when I wake up, I just have the essence of the dream and what happened, and when I try and explain it, it never ends up coming out right. I wish I had a better way with words, because seriously, some of my dreams would make AWESOME novels...

Like the one last night that had to do with vampires infiltrating a demon cult to protect the human race. Stabbing with tridents was involved.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

I'm no good at dream interpretation, but from the description, the big whopping feeling I get from it is anxiety, like you're worried you're not ready for something (with the naked bit) and maybe feeling powerless (like with the end and you freaking out about the severed thumbs while the other guy is serenely meditating - like he's clued into something important, while you're in the dark about it). But I'm probably way off base. :)

My favorite dreams involve flying. There's one were I'm part of some medieval style war in the middle of a desert with high sand dunes, and I escape, using my shield as a sled and go flying down the dunes on it. It's fun.

The scary recurring dreams I have involve my whole family on a cruise ship getting eaten up by this crazy huge shark; or another one involves my teeth falling out. I hate those dreams.

Nyx said...

I can usually remember my dreams, but they kind of range all over the place, from jubilent to downright terrifying.

It's the reoccuring dreams that get me. I have one that involves the joker and a gassed-up batman, both of whom want to gas me up with laughing gas (everyone I know in the dream is gassed...including the police). That one happens every year around January...I haven't had it in a while though (I had it approximately from the time I was 8 up until I was about 20ish). When I was little I also had a reoccuring dream about the worms from Tremors coming to get me.

That one went away when I gained what little common sense I have now.

:-p As for dream interpretation...I don't think I want to know what they're telling me.

Badass Geek said...

Debbie: I can imagine!

Sandy: Annoying at times, isn't it?

Alan: Levitation is cool.

MommyGeek: My imagination is a gift and a curse.

Love Lila: I don't have pleasant dreams too often.

Natalie: I've tried separating it by elements, but it doesn't all fit together still.

Kathy Garmus: I appreciate your input!

Tammy Howard: Interesting, indeed.

DSMCaron: There is just too much going on to break it up and still have it create a cohesive meaning.

NFTG: Interesting idea. I'll have to think about that.

Melissa: Dreaming of waking up? Sounds tiring.

Mwa: My wife dreams from time to time of me cheating on her. I don't know why. She'd kill me if I did.

Shari: That is one intense dream.

Lola: No, it was in the middle of the summer. Odd stuff.

Mrs Soup: Sometimes, explaining a dream is the hardest thing to do. It makes sense while you're dreaming it, but to say it out loud? Not so much.

Jade: I haven't had any flying dreams. Falling, yes.

Nyx: Parts of me want to know, while other parts of me are fine wondering about it.

Chris Mancini said...

Stop watching HEROES and SCRUBS. You've just combined the two in your dreams.

Christina said...

Have you ever had a lucid dream? Those are quite bizarre, too! I've had a couple and I did enjoy the experience. But I don't go overboard now, like some do, and try to have them a lot. I don't think it's healthy for your psyche. You are better off just going with the flow is what I think.

I hope your dreams don't disturb you too much. I dream of horrid stuff like that, too. It doesn't mean that there is something terribly wrong with you or anything. The subconscious can be quite graphic is all.

One thing that does disturb me a bit lately, though: I keep dreaming my mother's died. For some reason I am thinking there's more to it.

Amy said...

It's amazing the detail in which you remember your dreams. From what I could find out the hands, and specifically the thumbs symbolize productivity.

Could you be worried about a deadline or completing a project.

You are an excellant writer. I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened with the chopped fingers and strange man.

I have a recurring dream that I haven't attended a class all semester and I am trying to figure out where to go. I am panicked. I graduated from college 6 years ago. WTF?

silknparachute said...

I say your dream means you are constantly seeking approval in all the wrong places (thumbs up), and you never get it... The black guy with white teeth gets it, but you don't, and it scares the shit out of you.

My best recurring dream is a giant slo-mo pogo stick flying dream, just seeing the world below, and being exhillirated, but never hitting the ground, just slowly bouncing back up and floating again. ad infinitum, great dream.

Worst dreams, one, me and my two toddlers, were in a backwoods cajun type setting, with an old shack and some hillbilly deliverance type people, who were supposed to give us a ride somewhere. Instead they start chasing us, I manage to get us up into at tall tree, and they start shooting at us, really, and I have never been more terrified in my life. (Even awake)

silknparachute said...

And bad dream # two, The hideous, but classic varigated green shag carpet in my dwelling begins to show lumps, and as I repeated try to investigate these lumps, that appear and disappear, and move about the room, perplexing me. When the dream climaxes, I discover these lumps have all along been a possum type of rodent creature, 12 inches long, that comes out of the floor at night. They have carnivorous teeth and claws that scratch when they move around. There are dozens of them, that have been living in my apartment, all along. Of course they corner me on the bed, spitting, and snarling, and I wake up.

Nej said...

I used to have one dream, constantly, night after night. A train is chasing me. It's really loud. I run into a sound-proof barn to hide from it, until it comes crashing through the wall. Then I run across the road to a house, and crawl down into a snake hole in the ground. (small snake hole, 1 to 2 inch diameter) I see it driving over the top of the hole when I look up.

Then I wake up.

I love strange dreams. Yours was awesome. Who the heck knows why we dream what we do! :-)

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