“To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.”
Hamlet, Act III: Scene 1: Lines 65-69
Recently, I’ve become fascinated by my dreams. Growing up, I had two recurring dreams that I remember to this day, both nightmares of being kidnapped and tortured (by, of all things, SHEEP in one of them! Hence, my distrust of sheep to this day). Then, for years, I never remembered my dreams upon waking. However, in the past few years or so, I’ve again begun to have dreams that I remember in my waking hours. I’m fairly certain that the reason I’ve been more likely to remember my dreams these days probably has a good bit to do with the medications I take for anxiety and depression. Most recently, I’ve had alternating and sometimes colliding dreams of a recurring nature.
The first is almost definitely a product of my anxiety. Specifically, when I find myself struggling with my anxiety in my daily life, I tend to grind my teeth at night – worse than usual. I find that I wake up with a clenched jaw and sometimes even a headache from the tension. It is during these times that I have the dream about my teeth breaking/crumbling. I often swallow my teeth in these dreams.
The second most frequently dream is a mashup of houses and places I’ve lived or visited, including the landscaping that existed during my time living on campus during college, all connected. I go from room to room, up and down flights of stairs repeatedly. I seem to be looking for something or for a place to hide. In these dreams, I often end up in a building that looks like a hospital, but with really messed up elevators that give me a feeling of anxiety or danger. If I don’t end up there, I end up in this tall Gothic looking castle. In the topmost spire of the castle is a spiral staircase that leads to a large library (bigger on the inside).
A third dream that commonly mingles with the previous dream is one in which I travel through the mashup of places I’ve lived and, in each room, there is some sort of water. A tub, a shower, a swimming pool…all indoors mind you. In most cases, the water is warm and inviting though there have been a few where it’s a public restroom (one of my least favorite things on Earth) that is dark and creepy and extremely dirty.
The last and most recent addition to my dream catalog is one of my car breaking down, but not just breaking down – the undercarriage completely falls off my car and drags on the ground! This was in conjunction with the crumbling teeth at one point.
Over the past few days, I’ve taken to looking up potential meanings for these dreams. I’ve gotten everything from anxiety to rebirth, stopping to evaluate my energy/health, making progress or growth in a spiritual/emotional journey to repression of thoughts and things I want to say, to the attainment of a higher level of rational thinking and objectivity. The pools, tubs, and showers could represent the cleansing of negative thoughts/emotions or that I’m in tune with my unconscious mind and that I’m receptive to my intuition and creativity in my waking hours.
Regardless of what they mean or if they mean anything at all, puzzling over these dreams leaves me with a strange mix of fascination, anxiety, and curiosity.