So call me weird, but I write down my dreams.
Before I go any further, I guess I should explain the type of person I am. I am a person who is very conscientious about remembering things that happened in my life. As I have mentioned before I am a dedicated journaler. Since I was in middle school, I have a detailed record of every single day I have lived up until today. I love Twitter because it is another way for me to keep tabs on my life over time. Whereas my journals focus more on the factual moments of my life, Twitter focuses more on my thoughts and direct reaction to events. I have had a Twitter account for two and a half years and I have sent over 5,000 tweets (follow me at www.twitter.com/brentr7). The reason why I started a blog is so I would have another outlet to document my life. You get the picture.
In January, I was reading a dream interpretation newspaper column. The person who authors the column told her readers to keep a dream journal. She said to get into a habit of jotting down dreams either when you wake up in the morning or immediately after you wake up from a dream. She said to consistently look through your journal and look for reoccurring themes and symbols.
I was very intrigued by this idea so I bought a cheap spiral notebook and placed it in my nightstand drawer. I told myself right from the beginning that I was going to journal immediately after waking up from a dream. This was easier said than done. I wake up a lot in the middle of the night and usually I recount the dream I had. However, it was so hard for me to reach over and turn my reading light on and get my notebook out and write down my dream. You simply just want to go right back to sleep. But I disciplined myself to suck it up and always journal after waking up from a dream. These days, I am just conditioned to do it.
Before I started a dream journal, I would always remember my dreams when I woke up in the middle of the night but come morning, pretty much all recollection of them would be gone besides some exceptions. I would probably remember about one dream per week. Now, when I wake up in the morning I still do not initially remember my dreams during the night but then I open up my journal and it all comes back to me. Yes, pretty weird. Even though I write down my dreams on paper I must not be 100% conscious because I never really remember them until I read them in the morning. Many times I will say to myself, “I can’t believe you wrote this. How can you think this stuff up.” There have been times where I don’t read my dream journal for a whole week (although I am still writing in it nightly) and then I will catch up and read about the stuff I dreamed several days ago…it is crazy. Our brains are incredible things, and the stuff they draw up when we are unconscious is fascinating.
I thought about writing down verbatim some of the entries from my dream journal but it is a little too personal so I have decided to pass. I can say this, as someone who has always struggled with nightmares, it is very therapeutic and it helps me a lot to write about it when I wake up from one in the middle of the night. It calms me down and helps me get back to bed without being placed right back into the nightmare again. It is weird, in the morning I will read some of my bad dreams and ask myself how I could be afraid of something so stupid. But at night, your brain is in a different state and things are just scarier. On the other end of the spectrum, there have been times when I have woken up in the morning with the sun shining and read my bad dreams and the accounts have been absolutely chilling. In fact, I can open up my dream journal right now and have the hair stand up on my spine as I read over some of my past bad dreams.
Enough about the bad dreams though. Majority of my dreams are irrelevant, random, and weird. I really do not get into much of the dream interpretation business. I just like having the record available of things that went on as I slept that I would never be able to remember if I did not write them down. While I do not get into the interpretation of my dreams I do notice some common settings/people that seem to come up. Many of my dreams take place in the house that I grew up in. Many of my deceased relatives do appear in my dreams, especially my grandparents (my Mom’s parents). My brother is in my dreams a lot. Really weird, but a lot of times my brother and I are attacked or we are defending ourselves in some way. Food is also very common in my dreams, especially pizza.
I love my dream journal and I encourage you to get one. Develop a routine and discover the crazy things your brain comes up with while you sleep. And the most important thing for you to remember while you are actually in your dreams: Don’t Blink.