Sleeping has always been an adventure for me. Like either a drought or a deluge. I find it very hard to turn my brain off and quiet my thoughts to sleep. There was a point in time where I could stay awake for days working and could only shut down if I took a sleep aid. That’s gotten a little better over the years, though it has changed. My dreaming space has become more intricate than when I was younger and that’s saying something.
I’ve always had what I call movie dreams. It’s a storyline that plays out and I go back and forth between witnessing it like a movie to seeing it from the perspective of a character within it. I’m rarely myself in these dreams. I bounce around from character to character. If I wake up and have to get up for any reason, I pick right back up where I left off when I fall back to sleep. This is awesome if the dream is good. It can be rather daunting if the dream is uncomfortable or an outright horror scene. I wake up exhausted from those dreams and then tend to spend the day writing the synopsis of what I dreamed and completely writing out scenes that remain vivid. I’ve written quite a few short stories from those dreams and they’re happening more often as I get older.
The other type of dreams I experience with more frequency these days are lucid dreams. I never used to understand what brought on this type of dream, but have grown to realize it has a lot to do with how much melatonin has built up in my system. It mostly happens if I wake up a few hours before my normal get up time and can’t fall back to sleep. If I don’t get up and have a tea or something like that and instead remain in bed trying to fall asleep, I get a build up of the sleepies in my eyes. Falling asleep in this state always results in a lucid dream.
Lucid dreams… how to explain my experience of them? Yes, I’m aware that I’m dreaming and I do have some control over my dreaming environment. However, this is an strange environment that tends to be faster and more overwhelming than a normal dream. Most often I’m moving through them worried that the dark side of my subconscious is going to show up and that bastard is a very real entity of doom in that dreaming space. It tends to put me in these elaborate ever expanding mazes where I run into very unsavory things of my imagination’s creation. If you know me as an artist or have read any of my work please feel safe to assume there is a lot of holy shit going on in my head.
The biggest problem I encounter with lucid dreaming, especially when I’m really in that state that produces these dreams, is false wake-ups. This is a very surreal thing. This is where I wake up and there is absolutely nothing within that continuation of the lucid dream that gives me a clue that I’m still dreaming. Typically I wake-up to a previous place in my life and I’m confused. I’m at an old home or with an old boyfriend. It’s like living your life for a decade and waking up to find it never happened. It is a mind-fuck that is very unsettling. It gets to a place where I refuse to believe that I’ve woken up and then I’m back in that place where I know I’m dreaming. I can repeat this process several times before I wake-up. And perhaps the worst effect of that is sometimes when I’m so very close to waking up I remain in the dream but can actively hear everything going on around me. It’s like being on one side of a doorway that you can’t open.
I’ve kept a dream journal since I was a teen. Sometimes I go back through it and my brain boggles a little. I do that a bit more these days now that I’m lucid dreaming at least twice a week and having a movie dream at least once. This comes to mind as I watch Inception this afternoon. Speaking of which, it’s time to get back to work.