Where Do Dreams Go?

‘And for that matter, where do nightmares go?

the storm

© 2016 Barbara H. Knowles

Bear with me, because I know there is nothing more boring than listening to people talk about their dreams.  Unless they tell you that they dreamt that you won the lottery and lived happily ever after in luxury.

When I was a little girl, like little little, I had a recurring nightmare that I was walking down a driveway that was not ours, and that ended at a big, looming house.  The driveway had tall, cinder-block walls on each side.  As I walked closer and closer to the house, the walls closed in and at the point of impact with the house, I woke up.

Pretty scary for a 4 year old.  Pretty scary for a 5 year old.  And a 6 year old. Pretty scary until the day I realized that I hadn’t had that nightmare in a long time.  Until the nightmare was a thing in the past.  But most importantly, a nightmare that I can vividly remember decades later.

That nightmare didn’t go anywhere.  It was ever-present.

As opposed to waking up in the morning with the blurry edges of a dream that you try to hold onto, but evaporates like wispy fog as the sun begins to burn through it.

sunrise © 2016 Barbara H. Knowles

So why do some dreams float away and others are imprinted on your brain for eternity?

At first, I thought that the difference was whether or not it was a dream (and when using the word “dream” I refer to something that either is benign or outright pleasant) or a nightmare.  But I have certainly woken up in the middle of the night, sitting blot upright and covered in sweat due to a terrible nightmare. And thinking how awful and scary it was until…..nope, it’s gone.

I’m sure that scientists, doctors, therapists and your aunt can explain the where, why, when and how of dreams.  Happiness, stress, side effects of medication, brainwaves, anxiety, glee or something you ate for dinner.

But where do dreams go?


About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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31 Responses to Where Do Dreams Go?

  1. tj6james6 says:

    The same place mate to the lone sock went in the laundry?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annieg421 says:

    I guess it will be one of life’s mysteries!
    I also have a dream i remember so well that happened about 6 years ago but this one was a funny dream i actually woke myself up laughing and could not stop laughing for about 10 minutes. It still make me laugh today if i recall it. 😂😂😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Barb Knowles says:

      I only have one “good” dream that I remember. It was from middle school, and after all this time I’m not sure if it was an actual dream or just a pleasant thought that I had as I was falling asleep. You’re right….a mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Ranting Monkey says:

    I remember 2 dreams single from my 40 years of slumber and one recurring. In one I was going to meet Satan and in the other I was lost at work and then suddenly I started running, I jumped, and then I was flying. In the recurring one I was lost in a house with hundreds of equally sized yet very differently decorate rooms.

    The recurring dream and the Satan dream were nightmare though I never faced a real threat in them. The other one was just odd. That my mind has held on to those ones has always intrigued me.

    As for where dreams go, I think dreams are a lot like most of our thoughts. My total daily commute time is 3 hours and I’ve been doing that for more than a year now. I know I think on the way to work and more than just “watch the road, jerk.” but I have no memory of most of these thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      That’s a good point equating dreams with thoughts. And the fact, as you said, that our minds hold onto specific ones is exactly what I’m talking about. What is it that makes those different?


      • The Ranting Monkey says:

        The Satan one was a nightmare from when I was 10 or so. The imagery is what stuck out so much, the room I was in was all white with flowing lace tapestry. I turned on a light and a door opened in the floor revealing a black spiral staircase.

        I can still see that room very clearly. I believe that one stayed with me because of how real it felt.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I keep a notepad by my bed in case I wake and remember my dreams–they can make for great story ideas.

    The most memorable dream I ever had can only be described as a nightmare/comedy: it involved me and a former Governor of Massachusetts exploring a haunted house. It would have made a good buddy movie.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dreams and nightmares can also be so distorted. A lot of times I find myself dreaming about something or some place I was immersed in during the day. But in the dream, maybe the location changes abruptly; one minute I’m standing in my hallway only to open our front door and suddenly find myself looking out at some fantasy location, or someplace that shouldn’t be sitting outside my front door. Where do dreams go? Weird places, Barb, weird places!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    Interesting question and one I don’t have the answer for. But I’ve had that dream of the walls closing in on me too. That can’t be good…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenny says:

    “Where do dreams go?” Good question and I don’t have an earthly clue. Dreams are like the ethereal spider web on my cabbage tree early one morning that dissipated as the sun kick starts body clocks into the reality of the day. Like others, I recall nightmarish content of occasional dreams with clarity. One dream recurred during my teenage years of someone sailing a boat. Living on a inland farm I had no reason to think about boats. Some years later, I met and married the sailor. This dream never recurred. Was it a dream or was it a prophesy?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An interesting question. Maybe they never go anywhere but just wait to unlocked again or remembered. Like parts of computer software that aren’t being used.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Maybe to our hearts, love and hate? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Val says:

    I think part of the reason specific nightmares stay with us is because when we first have them we invest so much time in trying to figure out what they mean that they get retained in the memory – in the same way that a specific real life event will, like a birth or a wedding or the sudden death of a loved one. In other words, we look at them from so many angles, using so many of our sensory perceptions, that they stick. Other nightmares and dreams which are more fragmented don’t stick because we don’t expend so much emotional or sensory energy on them. They become like the other elements of our day to day existence, being filtered out so that the sheer volume of their differing parts doesn’t overwhem us. Does any of that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Κidsworld and commented:
    where dreams go?

    Liked by 1 person

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