‘And for that matter, where do nightmares go?
© 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.
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?