Here we go again. One of the more interesting observations that I have gleamed about my lockdown experience is how it has impacted upon my dreamscape.
Much like back in March 2020, the movies in my mind have gone bonkers. I’m an extremely vivid dreamer at the best of times and so I guess it follows that when in a state of heightened alert, our brains are going to be processing a whole lot of extra “stuff” overnight, ironing out our daily hopes and fears.
As someone who has suffered from anxiety and low mood on and off over the years, this fascinates me. In particular, the role of our subconscious thoughts on our dreams.
I have absolutely had moments over the last year where I have broken down into big bad tears, but – by and large – in the absence of losing nothing more than my freedom; I have somehow managed to harness and manage my mental health fairly well over the time. I see these tears as a healthy release, although crying is not something that comes naturally to me. Top tip: switch off the news!
Basically, my subconscious mind is clearly carrying a lot more fear and anxiety about coronavirus than my conscious/latent mind appears to be as day to day I’m doing ok.
A couple of months ago, I discovered that the Freud Museum in London were going to be doing a series of online lectures.
You may already know that one of Freud’s most famous works is his Interpretation of Dreams theorem, and so bonkers Dreams abound, I decided to sign up for a day of lectures on this very subject to see if I could delve a bit deeper into my dreams.
My thoughts on certain aspects of Freud’s approach (and his personality traits) are probably worthy of another post another time. Love him or loathe him, the long and the short of his theory is that he believes that all dreams can be analysed backwards from their manifest content (ie the dream itself) to discover an individuals’ specific latent (or subconscious) desires, and hopes.
The approach to interpretation is clearly likely to be way more nuanced and complex than this – depending on the patient’s mental state or circumstance. In other words, it is not an exact or objective science, but somehow seems to work almost universally when applied as part of a Freudian based therapeutic psychoanalysis package.
I’m sceptical of how the hell a third party could interpret another’s dream accurately, particularly in terms of reliance on the patient to not only remember their dream clearly, but to communicate it effectively to Freud for him to formulate a bespoke analysis.
But who am I to question the founding father of psychoanalysis!? His techniques still form it’s backbone today, which is fascinating, and if you do ever decide to join me in a scholarly (albeit lay person) read of his stuff, I would love to know your thoughts on his work.
And so on I pootled to do a spot of dream self analysis.
Several of my recent dreams have revolved around: socialising in a drinking/drunk context (I have been sober for 265 days); being pregnant again (and going into labour), and; being back at work in a fairly senior position (and being fairly ruthless with it).
I understand that it is really common to be drunk in your dreams or be enjoying a sociable drink if you have or are in the process of giving up alcohol. This doesn’t worry me because I don’t crave alcoholic drinks any more when I’m awake. What I probably do desire, if anything, would be the ability to turn the clock back and drink alcohol like a teenager again – ie go large without any worries or consequence. But I’m no longer carefree and I’m just not really interested in experimenting with moderation just now! But an interesting and fun repeater dream nonetheless.
Being pregnant as a dream is interesting as I often dream that I can feel the initial pain and sensations as my labour contractions start. I already have two lovely little children, a girl and a boy, aged 7 and 5. If you asked me straight out if I want more children, I would say no way! Scratch a bit deeper though and interestingly, the broodiness and maternal yearning is still very much there. Yet my conscious thinking mind tells me it’s a no go due to my age, finance, health, plus the thought of the endless sleepless nights and all that jazz. So do I desire another child…. ? Is it just about creating cons to outweigh the pros…maybe a kitten would satisfy this need instead?!?! Less work involved!
Finally, the ruthless boss lady dream. I used to have a really quite high powered corporate job and earned lots of money. It has feathered our nest well, but it deep down it wasn’t really me. So I drifted off into motherhood and never returned. I do miss aspects of it though, I met some good people amongst the shit bags. It also felt like I was wonderfully independent. I was terrible at conflict and resolution though, which was stressful and didn’t always make me too popular (something I craved). Although I don’t think I would want to go back, I would love to feel that huge sense of empowerment and financial independence again. Interestingly, rather than wishing for better negotiation and diplomacy skills, I would love the ability just be a ruthless bitch and not give a toss what anyone thinks about it. Life would be so easy if I had this superpower! Hehe.
So there we go, a mini dream self-analysis using a grossly simplified version of Freud’s interpretation of dreams method. Et Voila!!
How about you? How are your dreams holding up during the pandemic? What do they all mean to you?