Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I don't normally remember my dreams, but when I do they're quite vivid and, if I'm not careful, I could almost mistake them for memories of real events.

In a particularly odd turn of events, I remember two dreams from last night. And, for whatever reason, I awoke with a profound lack of self-confidence, which followed me through half of the day, manifesting as a strange sense of my mind and body being disconnected.

I couldn't shake the feeling that this feeling of diminished self-worth and my dreams were somehow connected.

To be clear, I don't think that dreams are in any way mystical or prophetic. I suspect, instead, that dreams are our subconscious minds working on overdrive, sorting and filing away recent memories and ideas as we sleep. The mind is a funny thing, though, and it seems to me that it stores these memories and ideas by associating them with other things, which leads to some pretty creative metaphors which, sometimes, we catch a glimpse of just before waking.

Then again, maybe not. Recently I had a dream in which I was driving Paul Giamatti around, trying to save him from some G-men or mobsters or something who had been systematically causing people to disappear for some reason that was never made clear (dreams make for bad movies), and I have no idea what recent life events that was supposed to be a metaphor for. But then, maybe I'm just not as creative as my subconscious.

Anyway, the first dream I remember from last night was of the performance of a folk singer, probably Llewyn Davis, performing with another singer, probably the partner Llewyn lost before the beginning of that movie. Llewyn was singing with his guitar, and his partner was singing along without an instrument. In fact, he was almost never near a microphone. I remember once suddenly noticing a red couch on stage, which the partner proceeded to lie down on, still singing. The most interesting thing about this dream was that I had no sense of self in it: there was an audience, but I wasn't in it. My perspective changed as needed, and it felt move like a movie than a real memory--like I was watching it on a screen playing directly into my mind.

In the other dream, I was hiking with a faceless group of what I assumed to be friends. We hiked up a cliff face, alongside a frozen waterfall. At the top, I somehow knew there were fish under the ice, so I looked down and there they were, visible through the strangely clear ice at the top of the frozen waterfall. And so I decided to try ice fishing, though I've never done that before. As I woke up, I kept telling myself, "no, you don't know what you're doing. You're going to get everyone hurt, trying to ice fish at the top of a waterfall." And so, I woke up telling myself that I was trying to do something I had no business doing, which I think set the day off on a self-defeating note.

The start of the day felt oddly similar to depression, which is fine. I don't suffer from clinical depression or anything of the sort, but I think everyone, even the most chipper people, have their low moments. Mine are thankfully rare, and they pass quickly.

I wonder if dreams are a common trigger for depression.

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