On Dreams

This is my cat. Totally reasonable. (npr.org)

I don’t put much stock in them. I mean both the day and night kind I suppose, but I’m talking about the sleeping variety in this post.

I’m an insomniac. I have always been and always will be an insomniac. Sleeping isn’t fun for me. It’s a sort of nightly chore/torture. I spend more time in a dark room looking up at a dark ceiling than I’d care to figure out. That’s why I don’t want one of those FitBit things that measures your sleep. It would be very depressing to actually know the stats.

FitBit: Because we don't have enough things to obsess about. (sportsauthority.com)
FitBit: Because we don’t have enough things to obsess about.

I am so envious of you people who turn off the lights, put your heads on pillows, and just sleep. I don’t even know what that’s like. Sleeping for me involves courage, a strength of will and pills. Lots and lots of pills.

I take over the counter sleep aids every night. I have to. My brain needs to connect point A – took a pill, to B – sleep now. If I try to skip directly to B, nothing will happen. The pills are mostly psychological. Someone could come into my house and replace all my OTC sleep pills with placebos and they’d probably work just as well as long as I didn’t know about it.


Because I rarely sleep well, I rarely dream. Or at least, I don’t remember dreams when I do have them. However, there are times when I remember my dreams as clearly as if they were memories. I still remember certain dreams I had years and years ago.

Thankfully they aren’t memories since, in one of them, I was Martin Scorcese, one involved having dinner with people-sized centipedes, and in another, my cat turned into Godzilla and stomped on my house. I remember these dreams as clearly as if they were real.

This is my cat. Totally reasonable. (npr.org)
This is my cat. Totally reasonable.

I remember the recurring nightmares I had during the time I was sexually abused. In one, I was trapped in a small powder-blue bathroom with only a sink, toilet and mirror. There was no door and only one window near the ceiling. I tried to climb on the sink to reach the window, but the higher I climbed, the farther away the window got, until by the end of the dream, the ceiling in the little bathroom was about 100 feet high. To this day, powder-blue bathrooms freak me out.

The other dream was much scarier. It was a waking dream almost, since I was lying in the exact bed and room where I went to sleep. A black spot would form on the ceiling and slowly get bigger and bigger, creeping down the walls until it enveloped me while I was unable to move. It would start with the ankles, always with the ankles, and just as it swallowed me up completely, I would wake up in a panic, sweating and gasping for breath, sometimes, screaming.

When I moved to California, I was desperately in need of psychiatric help. I had lost my therapist in Boston by moving out of state. I was poor and unemployed and had no money for therapy. A friend of mine told me about the Jungian Institute where licensed therapists take new clients at reduced rates while they learn all about Jungian psychology.

If you don’t know about Jungian psychology, among other things, it is a proponent of collective unconscious, a concept which I personally think is mostly bunk. I view the collective unconscious with the same amount of skepticism and sidelong eye rolls as I reserve for astrology.


Jungian psychology is also very, very big on dream symbolism. It is ultimately responsible for all those “what does your dream mean?” interpretation websites and books. Obviously, your dream probably has some sort of meaning to you, but I don’t believe that meaning is the same for everyone as Jung’s collective unconscious hypothesis does.

However, I signed up for a service that I basically think is hogwash, because poor is poor. I lucked out and got a good therapist, even though she always wanted to know about my dreams. Fortunately, for me, I rarely remember them.

I did tell her about the recurring nightmares I had as a child and she was very interested in those. She was especially keen to figure out what the powder-blue meant. Did I have a powder-blue bathroom as a child? No. Our bathrooms were green and gray/pink. Did I remember any significance to a powder-blue bathroom? No. So, it must be the collective unconscious then! Sigh.

Eventually, she graduated and doubled her rate, and I haven’t been in therapy since. Whenever I remember the occasional dream, I do think about her though. I wonder what she’d have to say about it.

Do you remember your dreams? Do you believe in the collective unconscious? Have you ever had recurring nightmares?