Understanding Dreams: Our Deepest Thoughts
February 27, 2019
In the course of my life, I’ve always had a wide variety of peculiar dreams, all varying in events, people, and possibly meanings. When I was younger, I would dream in black and white, instead of in color. I used to have recurring dreams of going on roller coasters. I was even able to lucid dream, picking up where I left off from another dream and continuing it the following night. Sometimes, I acknowledged that I was asleep and dreaming—that none of “this” was real. The weird thing about those roller coaster dreams, was that it was almost as if I could feel the movement of being on a roller coaster in the pit of my stomach. I never questioned this too much as a child, but, with my current situation, I have begun to recall all these memories and acknowledge that this is not the first time I’ve experienced something like this.
While I can’t necessarily “control” whom and what I can dream about, I‘ve noticed that I typically dream about things that I think about before I go to sleep. And no, I can’t just say to myself, “I want to dream about what it would be like to be a millionaire,” and then fall asleep and dream about it. It’s a subconscious occurrence: Usually it’s something that briefly crosses my mind, and then when I fall asleep, my brain is like, “Hey, remember this insignificant thing that you thought about for a total of 13 seconds while you trying to fall asleep? Well, you’re about to dream about that for 2 whole hours, and then you’re only going to be able to recover 0.2% of that dream and, also, there’s no explanation for why.” It’s a little frustrating, but it’s sometimes funny and quite enjoyable.
Dreaming in Black & White: I like to think that dreams are a look into our psyches, a chance for us to learn more about ourselves and our subconscious, maybe even recalling the images suppressed in the very back of our minds. A better explanation is that dreams resemble, in many ways, a waking experience to us, in that we hear, see, feel emotion etc. So, I decided to research possible reasons to offer myself an explanation why I was able to dream so vividly. A study by Psychreg.org suggests that those who dream in black and white might have lived during the time period where television was only in black and white. I was born in 2001, so that is not a probable explanation for myself. They also go on to offer that “the more creative” a dream is, the more colors will appear. I began to consider this, but being that my black and white dreaming discontinued, paired with now having the most boring dreams in color that lack complete sense of creativity, this explanation is also eliminated. Finally, they suggest that “we remember our dream as black and white because the vivid details from the night before fade throughout the day”. However, my black and white dreams were never of events that happened prior in real life: They were just scenarios my brain created. So, in the end, this research did little in giving me an explanation, but it may help you if you have dreamt in black in white too.
My Current Situation: At the beginning of this year, I was experiencing a pattern of intensely vivid dreams that left me thinking about them throughout the day and searching for answers. These dreams, like most of my other ones, are incredibly realistic, and I often wake up trying to discern if those certain scenarios really happened or not. The pattern in these dreams are that they’re all about events that I wish were true or had actually happened. Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams suggests that dreams are “just wishes that we have formed in our waking lives,” and I’m almost positive that this may be true for my case. It is also a suitable approach to consider when questioning why you had a certain dream a few nights ago that seemingly resembled something you have desired. Simply put, your brain knows what you want and it created a scenario where you have it, hence why you had that dream about a relative who recently passed, and in that dream you guys had a great time spending the day with one another. According to Freud, the reasoning for that dream is that you wish you could spend one last day with that relative again, and waking up and having to acknowledge that the dream did not happen is a soul-crushing realization.
What Recurring Dreams Are Likely Trying to Tell You: My aforementioned roller coaster dream was recurring, and Psychologytoday.com offers the solution that recurring dreams could be the result of stress and worry for a event in the near future. This could be true for some, but, for me, I’m pretty sure I was 5 or younger when this dream began. I had nothing to be stressed about! I also lived in St. Thomas at the time, and being that there are no roller coasters on the entire island (unless you want to count the steep hills), it’s not like I was going to a theme park anytime soon and would have had to brace myself for the rides. To my knowledge, this was a completely random dream that, from then on, ignited a fear of roller coasters, despite me never having been on one or even in its vicinity. Alas, I was five. I have no clue what this dream could have possibly meant, but, I can say that in 8th grade, my class had taken a field trip to Universal Studios, I went on a rollercoaster for the first time, and never had a dream about one since.
What If There Doesn’t Seem to Be a Reason Behind Your Dream: I typed that phrase verbatim into Google search, because I started to feel like the reasoning behind some of my dreams, after all of this examination, couldn’t simply be searched online. I figure I will have to undergo a psychological analysis of some sort in order to gain a better understanding of the meaning behind these dreams, if any.
Conclusion: I frequently discuss my dreams with my good friend Taylor Rohleen, in hopes that she will be able to relate or give some sort of insight as to why I dreamt of something. In turn, she mentioned to me that she and her friend often have weird dreams whenever they take melatonin, a medicine that aids in sleepiness and sleep quality. Everydayhealth.com simply stated that “taking too much of the supplement may disrupt the body’s internal clock and increase dream activity in some people,” validating Rohleen’s claim. I, too, take melatonin being that I’m an insomniac. Soon after, I began to consider this as an adequate explanation, until I realized that I’ve been having wacky dreams since I was in preschool, and I wasn’t on medication then. According to WebMD, dreams exist to help solve problems in our lives, incorporate memories, and process emotions—all of which are blunt-yet-professedly-appropriate resolutions to most dreams. Despite this, one issue remains: Which dreams fall under which explanations?