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ursulav

The People We Are In Dreams

I dreamed last night that I was back in high school and of course there was an enormous science project that I had to do in a class that I only vaguely remembered.

I was in the class and everyone was discussing what sort of project to do–chromatography of various liquids or determining whether some tiny particle had six gears or ten (apparently on some subconscious level I believe that subatomic particles are made of tiny interlocking gears) and I realized quickly that I was simply not equipped to do any of these things.

So I went to the teacher and said “None of this is really playing to my skillset. Can I maybe write a travel guide to the laboratory? A pop science piece explaining subatomic particles? Something?”

He said no. I gritted my teeth and explained again that I had no idea how one did the thing with the gases and the light spectrums and my grasp of the perfect gas laws was shaky at best.

“No,” he said, “and you’d better figure something out, because otherwise you will fail the class and then you won’t graduate.”

And then my sleeping brain said “Wait just a damn minute here.”

“Actually,” I said, “I’m an author. I’m already supporting myself and nobody cares if I graduated or not. I’m just here to get my diploma so all the paperwork’s in order.”

This irritated him. I left the room and wandered off, thinking I am late for another class and I don’t know where it is and then so what? why the hell am I here, anyway, I should probably be writing a book and then even if I fail every class this semester, I am an adult, I am nearly forty, I can go by the office and explain and re-enroll, there is paperwork to handle this circumstance, possibly I can just take a test and opt out anyway, they are not going to take away my books and my house because I did not pass high school physics.

This is the second or third time I’ve had a dream like this and suddenly thought “Wait, this no longer applies to me, does it?”

I suspect that in anxiety dreams we’re the people we believe we are, and perhaps slowly, as I get older, I start to believe that I really am an adult, or at least no longer a person who is a single sheet of paperwork away from failing utterly at life, and that my worth is not hinged on a single grade from decades past.

Sadly, if my anxiety dreams are to be believed, I am still a person who is constantly moving between houses and trying to pack everything on a shoestring, and I am still angry at a number of people from my past, and my teeth are prone to falling out occasionally, but at least I am slowly overcoming my fear of missing class.

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you are engaging in Lucid Dreaming, and you are doing good!


I have had this exact dream at least twice(with the exception of the supporting-myself angle), except it's always English class. I hate research papers.

I realize that I'm 27 (I'm actually 37) and that I don't need to be in high school any more, and that I need to get to the school office and take care of things there.

Of course, the teacher doesn't believe or let me. In the most recent one a few weeks ago I almost go anyway, and as the teacher lectures the class about how I'm a troublemaker and probably have left, I'm still standing in the door and have decided that while I -will- be getting the problem sorted out, it's not worth breaking the rules over.

It's a tough one. Figuring out when to stand up for myself is not easy for me, after being swatted down so many times.

(apparently on some subconscious level I believe that subatomic particles are made of tiny interlocking gears)

Gearworld is suddenly explained! :D

(And, yes, I've had those dreams, too: "Wait a minute, I graduated from high school 24 years ago -- this is no longer my problem!")

Having some part of your subconscious overcoming Imposter Syndrome is actually something of a big deal! Good job, Ursula's Brain, for recognizing your own accomplishments and the hard-won strength and security you've built. :)

-- A <3

Huh. I wonder what it means that I dream about finding tips of feathers tinged with blood, and needing to rinse all the blood out so I can pack it and freeze it and sanitize it. o_O;;;;;;;;

Umm... the very absolutely last anxiety dream I had ended with me realising I was dreaming, so nothing mattered... and then burning the school down. Haven't had one since. I think my inner demons are a bit intimidated.


I don't go back to school in my dreams, but I am supposed to be setting up at a show, (Con/Ren/or Highland Games) and I don't know where my table/tent is or where to set up and I'm not in garb and...

Yea. Anxiety.

My anxiety dreams are my old job, where I'm coming in to help out and wandering around and everything's changed but I'm still expected to do my old job and I keep telling the co workers "Wait, I don't work here anymore, you were all assholes, I am DONE!" and walk out, hunt for my car and drive away.

I prefer those anxiety dreams to the ex boyfriend anxiety dreams where he's following me around demanding sex.

I've had a couple school dreams. Most involve just wandering around the warped hallways, which is kinda nice. I've long since stopped caring about missing/failing classes.
The last school dream ended with me telling the horrid teacher to piss off cause I graduated 13 years ago and she had no right to behave the way she was towards the students. The class was some weird combo of advanced math and abstinence only sex ed specifically designed to make girls feel stupid, dirty, and worthless. I still get angry thinking about it.

I love the gear idea, my anxiety dreams unfortunately tend to revolve around the current job I am in.


I'm rather envious of your ability to get out of the school dreams with logical reasoning. I'm still stuck in chem class.

As an academic, I find that the old school dreams have changed their coat: I still have to get to class, but to teach it - and I'm not prepared. (On at least one occasion, I've had to teach a history class. I'm a mathematician.)

If our anxiety dream selves are who we are, I am apparently a person deeply concerned about being able to find a usable public toilet.

So true. Although my subconcious does an admirable job of coming up with reasons why the toilets I find are unusable (admirable but DISGUSTING) - until I give up and wake up to use the real one.

I suspect that if I *did* find a usable loo, I'd wake up to wet bedclothes though, so - go subconscious!

I love this with a big squishy love. I happen to be really good at school (just got my Master of Public Health at age 55), but I fear I will suddenly fuck up at work and lose my job and my boss will lose the $3M grant we're working on....

I haven't had a school dream in quite some time, not with missed classes. I get the living in the dorm a few days before classes start and oddness ensues dreams. But when used to have missed class dreams it was always the same class.

This was a wonderful post to read, for someone who still has those dreams and spends them panicking. Not to mention the one where I'm in a play and someone tells me minutes before I go on that we're doing a different play now and here's the script.

Every once in a while I have this horrible nightmare that my life as a programmer is a dream and I am in the 5th yr of a 4yr English major at NC State and Dr Kessel is waiting on my final paper, still.

Edited at 2016-08-09 07:49 am (UTC)

I've not had that one dream, ever. But a few years back, I had another that I wrote down immediately when I woke up so I'd be sure not to forget it.

I was somewhere with my sister. The place was like a big storage area, with lots of boxes everywhere. My sister kept telling me to hide behind the boxes, because I had no clothes on and she didn't want anyone to see me walking around naked. But I told her that was completely unimportant and I had something important to do, so I just went out and did whatever it was, without clothes on.

When I feel vulnerable and afraid, I try to recall how I felt in that dream. Sometimes it helps.

(apparently on some subconscious level I believe that subatomic particles are made of tiny interlocking gears)

You mean they're not?

Sometimes I can disable anxiety dreams like that... usually it wakes me up, and I bask in the feeling of relief and try to fall back asleep...

I never had school dreams in school, and only a few since I graduated. But my worst anxiety dreams are the ones where I'm supposed to be taking care of something/someone (often a pet) for several weeks, and it's two weeks since the owner left and I haven't done ANYTHING and it probably starved to death by now and it's all my fault . . .

A lot of times my anxiety dreams have to do with finding myself to be the only one who's willing to take care of a problem or do what has to be done-- the one who has to be the 'responsible adult', which is pretty funny since I'm frequently the nutcase in the group. But I had one dream a couple of nights ago where a kid who was over at a friend's house killed himself with a knife (I don't know why), and nobody wanted to deal with the situation-- they were all sort of "Oh God, somebody has to DO something!' and then sobbing in a corner or whatever, and I ended up keeping them back from the body (that kept looking like it had just moved, which creeped me out) and trying to reach the police and dreading calling the boy's parents and just not wanting to be part of *any* of it, but somebody had to. WTF, brain? I *do* try to do what's right, but my friends aren't this irresponsible. They'd help, and I know this. So I don't know why my dreamself was casting them all as weepy idiots.

I used to have a recurring dream that I had gone back to my alma mater and re-enrolled with a different major. This always seemed to mean that it was time for me to switch jobs. I had my final one of these over a decade ago, and knew it was the final one during the dream.

I've had at least two dreams in my 30s that involved wandering around a high school explaining to people that no, I was really a grown-up and I had graduated college, I was just back to take some classes. I'm not actually sure what that one says about my subconscious, but fortunately there are good community colleges in the area so I don't actually have to resort to high schools if I want to get into continuing education.

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