What are your dreams like?
I'm not a dream person. I haven't seen one, nor do I care when someone tells me their nonsensical dreams. But I was always open to the prospect of experiencing one myself.
(And yeah, IknowIactuallyseethem andIjustcantremember and blah blah blah. Shut up already! I don't know why so many people feel entitled to tell you that, but it happens every time I mention I don't see dreams. I don't care: don't remember — didn't happen.)
The closest things to dreams I experienced are a couple of times as a kid. They seem like dreams, and I remember them vividly, but I don't trust my memories from so long ago. Plus, kids are stupid, I may've just been imagining things in bed or something.
I also have dream-like experiences sometimes. If I wake up from my alarm but don't get up and sleep again, then I may feel like I had a dream after I wake up. I'm pretty sure those aren't actual dreams because 1. I have a habit of fantasizing about being a hero in a fantasy world, or having a perfect job, or having a GF, while lying in bed. I don't feel like it was a dream when I wake up normally; but I figure when I sleep again for another hour, my mind still thinks up fantasies, which are amplified by drowsiness. So I remember them more strongly, especially since it's only an hour or so. And as far as I know, dreams only happen in REM sleep, which takes a couple of hours to get to. 2. I had similar experiences while driving in the back and on boring lectures. Except these times I was concious for the entire duration, so I knew I was just fantasizing, but it still felt more real because I was sleepy and bored, and it was very similar to what I remeber after that bad sleep habit.
So I'm pretty sure I don't have dreams, but I'm excited to see one, and I'm happy to talk about them. In general, of course. Nobody gives a damn what you saw in your dream, but I'm interested to know how you saw it, what helped you see it, what you felt.
Of course I'd like to hear about lucid dreaming, it's something I wanged to experience for a long time. But also about more general dreams, or if you also don't have any, or especially if you started to see them later in life.
So, what are your dreams like?
I have dreams seldom – maybe once or twice a week.
Half the time, they're small; other half, big.
By small I mean the kinds of dreams that aren't vast in their storytelling, or setting, or the people involved. Those are short – by my dream-based, highly-subjective measure that can't possibly translate into real-world time – are rarely leave gripping experiences that stay with me when I wake up. Usually, I only remember fragments of those after waking, and forget them soon after.
Big, by comparison, are either those that have a laid-out plot and characters, or those that stick around in the waking world as a memory or a feeling. (The two qualities are not mutually-exclusive.) The big dreams may not remain as precise memories, but leave behind the feelings that I'd felt during the dream. I've felt longing, regret, dread, overwhelming empathy, physical pleasure, and anger – many more, perhaps, that I don't readily recall.
The dreams may be either first-person, or cinematic.
I have a pretty good fantasy skill for making cinematic views – i.e., those angles and kinds of perspective that would readily remind you of a shot from a film. It comes naturally to me, and I can't control it (not that I've put any effort into trying). It's not perfect, but to me, it amounts to being pretty good as far as the quality of the frame is concerned. This kind of style affects my writing, in that I imagine scenes in a cinematic manner and try to translate what I see into words. It makes my style more vivid and detailed, which is something I don't find in many books.
The perspective may switch between first-person and cinematic within the same dream or the same "scene". The transitions are seamless, but then, my consciousness is blurred, so anything that just kind of happens is a given. "Scenes" also transition fairly smoothly.
When I'm in first-person, I'm usually me – the person I recognize and empathize with as myself. Most of the time, I'm the main character in the story. When I'm not, interesting plots happen. (See below.)
My dreams are mostly about people: the ones I know, the ones I knew, the ones I'm scared of, the ones I wish I'd met... (This part is a reflection of reality: for me, it's mostly about the people, even though I work mostly with things.) Usually the people I know appear to me as I know them: same looks, same voice, similar manners (which, I feel, are skewed by own perception and memory of them – though still more accurate than my day-dreaming). One time, I saw a person who looked nothing like the one they were supposed to represent (same gender, but all features weren't based in my knowledge of that person) – and yet, in the dream, I knew it was them. Once, I'd also dreamt of a fictional character I saw in a cartoon, appearing as a real human being: it was as if someone took the idea of the character and created a human to resemble them.
Those dreams are usually grounded and rooted in reality – in that, in the dreams, if something extraordinary (that which goes beyond the boundries of reality) happens, I usually have a vague justification for it. Not always, but usually.
For example, the first time I dreamt of flying, I had the kinds of repulsors that Tony Stark made for his Iron Man suit in the films, withion the suit – so, just the repulsors and the wires that connected them to the chest-mounted circular arc-reactor-ish battery. (I admit: I may have made the wires up after waking, so as to ground the fantasy somewhat; I'm like that.)
The further times, though, it was only through some unknown power that I was capable of forcing myself to take off and fly. Among those, initially I dreamt that I failed to take off significantly: I was trying as mightily as I could, but I was barely off the ground, flying parallel to it, sometimes scratching the surface with my feet, which were lower than my torso. Then, I had a dream I flew rather successfully: failing initially, but then taking off into the skies. (I think this relates, in some way, to my self-esteem: I started trying flying without support when I grew more confident.)
I sometimes dream of what I'd simplistically call cool things: the fantasy-esque apparati and qualities of reality that would make no sense in the world I live in, but would make for a fantastic detail in a fictional world. For example, I once dreamt of the fact that copper is the material that suppresses magical activity; the "anti-mage material". "Cool", I thought and forgot about it for a while. It re-emerged as I was working on a mages-in-the-real-world setting, where it's finally found its place. There are other examples.
(I'm starting to experience those moments in the waking world. They're rooted in the biases towards reality that we all hold to keep us sane. We settle into patterns we notice rather quickly, as a way to off-load a lot of brainwork – like caching in computers. I seem to slip into a less-biased mindframe from time to time, similar to how one's mind does when they're dreaming, and I come up with those kinds of cool things.)
Most of the times, I dream about things I've experienced: seen, heard, imagined, smelt, felt physically, felt emotionally... – that, or some sort of a way in which I process those experiences. I think it's a way I'd dealt with rejection when I dreamt about being rejected by the people I knew. (There's this theory that dreams are our subconscious processing our mind, and discarding the ideas and memories that we use less in favor of strengthening those we use, or may use, more. Most of the time, the barrage of unrelated experiences I see in a dream remind me of that theory.)
Sometimes, the things are so outstanding that they barely fit a category. (This is the part I wanted you to see below.)
One time, I dreamt I was Adolf Hitler, but different. (It was so out-there that I had it written down.) I, as Hitler, sported a more regular mustache – the kind you see Nick Offerman sport – and a red (as in, rust-color) buzzcut. I was in a squad with two other soldiers – their leader. (It says in my notes there were "several" soldiers, but I only remember two others, plus the American that was kind-of in my squad.)
An Allied female soldier – short, curly brown hair – told me about how there was an assassination plot authorized on me and a couple of other scientists, and it involved my guinea pig or hamster. (I saw the animal, but wasn't sure what kind of animal it was.) I rushed to my hideout – carved high inside a mountain – to check on the animal, when I heard a massive explosion coming from my "chamber". (It seems that my animal exploded violently, like a proper bomb, from an injected compound of some sort.)
As I assess the damages, I walk right outside the hideout to see an American soldier that was in my squad, on his knees, facing outside the entrance, distraught yet motivated to create Americaustria (as in, America + Austria) after his "US as a Nazi state" plan failed. I come by him, take out my Luger, put the end of the barrel between his neck's spinal disks, and fire. The blood's everywhere, and I feel startled and surprised, but externally, I remain collected and stoic – presumably so as to not signal weakness to my followers.
I return to my room (which is not damaged) and take two of my M1911s – a US handgun, on top of the German Luger I already had. The magazines on the M1911s have a plastic "tongue" sticking out – the kind you have on some AA-battery-powered devices, to allow for a quicker extraction. At this time, a soldier from my squad runs into the room and accuses me of something, pointing his gun at me; he looks disstressed. I put my hands up, the handguns still in my hands, and try to talk the soldier down, calmly and with a confident voice, speaking slowly. It takes a short time before he agrees with what I say and puts his gun down, no longer angry or upset with me.
It seems that whatever happened also meant that Austria – the country that I and my comrades were from – was destroyed. (No other German countries existed before or after.) As we ponder upon the situation, I put out a speech: "Now, we are Germany. Strong, capable... unstoppable."
After that, as the three of us arrive at an unknown city, the scene transitions. The two other soldiers go their own ways, and I see them no longer. I was not Hitler anymore: I was myself. As I walked through the beautiful streets of the city grown with green, I spotted a rainbow-color animal of some sort, walking on a metal rail welded high above the pavement. (The rest of the dream was short and not as outstanding, and there was no mention of Hitler, Germany, or Austria further.)
This kind of dream was once in my lifetime, and it stands out even to me because of (A) the coherent plotline, (B) the... interesting choice of the main character, (C) the general, non-real-experiences-based plot, and (D) the surprisingly-accurate details. The German soldiers (myself included – I saw all of us in one short cinematic-mode scene, which is how I knew that my Hitler looked different) wore grey uniforms, and the Allied soldier woman wore green. I had a Luger, though I can't imagine Hitler enjoying an M1911, let alone dual-wielding them. (This handgun is a passion of mine IRL, though.) There was a story that involved the Nazi Party, and Austria, and Germany (each in their own ways)... Quite something.
EDIT: forgot to say: I also experience sex dreams sometimes.
Those are always kinesthetically-sensual – as in, I experience physical contact as if I was touching something or someone. I feel the skin under my palm and the – let's put it mildly – moment of sexual contact. I feel both the physical and the emotional pleasure from having sex, whatever form it takes. I don't remember finishing in such a dream, though there was one time I can attest to that I woke up in the morning noticing the traces of a nocturnal discharge.
I always remember my dreams, at least visually, not the "story".
It's usually places l've seen irl, in games or movies or on photos, intertwined with others, remix-and-matched, as if you're cobbling together assets in a 3D modeling program.
Sizes change, buildings are bigger, smaller, different location, different look. I draw a lot of inspiration from dreams for drawings and designs; architecture, nature, environments.
A shopping street with light yellowish grey brick walls, curved glass ceilings and a revolving door into a jeweler's shop
Tall buildings made from the same yellowish grey brick in a neighborhood, similar to my parents' home but a full neighborhood of it, on a slight inclinec all brick and no greens.
A large circular red brick building around a lake; inside it's brick, warm light and medium dark wood. A tunnel of wood and brick curves down into the underground with workshops and art galleries in the side walls of the tunnel.
A concrete frame of a derelict building, standing at the local shopping centre where in reality there's a parking garage. The dream version is a lot taller and a lot nastier. The shopping centre itself is taller, and resembles both the current situation and what it was like 15 years ago.
A laboratory / chemical plant similar to the one l workef at, except wider and colder. There's a center area with grass encircled by glass windows, floor spotlights shining upwards and wooden benches near it.
In terms of storyline my dreams always reflect my real life personality to an extreme; I am always late because l forgot something, l lose things often and spend a ton of time looking for them.
In the dreams this results in a few common themes: I really want to go somewhere, but l also really need to find a specific item before l can go there. Result: l spend the entire dream looking for the lost thing and never actually get to the location l want to go.
Another common theme is the use of my phone: l dream l'm chatting with people, browsing stuff online, only to wake up and realize l'm not even holding the phone.
I'm also really chaotic and forgetful in real life, combined with not forgetting dreams l often find myself unable to discern if a memory or location actually exists or that l saw it in a dream. Pretty annoying actually :p
"I did the laundry, didn't I? Wait no l dreamed that l think".
In all, dreams are very interesting and inspiring and l like having them, though the effects can be annoying sometimes.
I rarely remember them (only remembering "hey, I just woke up from a dream!") but every once in awhile some of the imagery will stick, a second here, a moment there.
What they have in common: they're almost always some sort of "adventure", where me and others are going from point A to point B in whatever crazy dreamscape my brain has come up with. I dream in color and in vivid detail. The most recent one I can remember, my friends and I were trying to get somewhere in this vast landscape of rustic mountain cabins built over a sea or giant lake or something, a massive maze of ghost-town-style decaying wooden planks and buildings.
Another was... I think it was some massive Titanic-style cruise ship only you got around it by crawling through these big glass tubes with brass connectors like a fancy hamster playset. Right before I woke up I remember dropping down out of a tube into a restaurant section and landed next to my old high-school music teacher.
My dreams usually involve me in a group of a lot of people with some kind of plot. I don't always remember them very well, but I know that I interact with a lot of people in my dreams. My dreams stem from my reality and usually involve people that I know or things I've seen before. But they are never quite the same and my mind builds off the base of what I know to make the are I'm in really interesting. I've traveled through time in dreams, gone in massive underwater submarine buildings, gone through walls, transformed into animals, and participated in big events. My dreams tend to be really cool, I am trying to remember them better when I wake up.
I write the ones that really hit me into a notes app the second I wake up. I find I "lose" them lots, within seconds/minutes of waking while writing, but sometimes I get enough down to get the gist of it, and other times if I very very quickly just write a bullet point list of what happens it helps retain it and I can flesh it out more afterwards.
What animals exactly? Like a cat or a mouse?
One time I remember turning into a dog and switching back and forth to human. It would be pretty dope to be a moose in a dream, maybe that will happen soon
I have disturbingly vivid dreams, sometimes multiple a night. I also get extreme time dilation, where I can "experience" hours and hours in the dream world, then wake up and it's been 1 hour or less in the real world (I wake up lots in general).
A little while ago I had a dream that went for a few days, seemingly in realtime, ending in something quite horrible which woke me with a start, only to find out it had been under an hour. In the dream, I experienced a huge adventure-of-sorts (being chased by someone across a city, day and night), and it was seriously intense and it took my a solid few minutes after waking to realise it didn't actually happen.
A majority of the dreams arent anything special. They're not fantasy worlds or sci fi or anything, but generally something that could happen in real life but maybe with random aspects that couldn't really happen. Eg going to a sports match with a friend who's no longer alive plus someone I've seen on TV before. They're always "realistic" not fantasy, but they're also very random. I'll be walking along having a conversation with someone then suddenly I'm in another country driving a car with someone else, then suddenly I'm sitting in a restaurant with someone else again, but all in the same "story", like a movie cutting between scenes.
Having vivid dreams is great when they're good dreams, but I'd say a bit more than half are bad, and some can leave me shook up for the entire next day, or days. Some of the nightmares still give me shivers months later.
I actually keep a dream journal, so I consistently remember my dreams day to day. If you want to try to increase the amount of dreams that you remember, I recommend trying out a dream journal. Even if you don't remember a dream, just write down what you would have wanted to dream about in the journal.
Usually each night my dreams have about 2-6 separate stories/plots. Sometimes they are interwoven, and other times they are separate. My dreams can vary wildly, sometimes I'll have dreams that seem almost like real life, like I'm doing something normal at home or school, and interacting with people I know. Other times my dreams will be completely nonsensical. For example, tonight I dreampt that a scientist discovered a "psychic" star that is coming toward earth and being controlled by a sentient asteroid, and that the only way to stop it was by capturing a man that looked like a rat.
In the dreams with odd plots, such as this one, I'm not always myself. Sometimes I'll be an onlooker, or an entirely different character. Notably, in real life I'm male, but sometimes in a dream I'll be female. I almost never question anything weird that happens in my dreams, and I'll usually completely take the role that I've been given, until I wake up and realize what happened.
When I wake up, I don't remember all of the events that occurred. While I write the dream down the events slowly come back to me, primarily in the form of images (which is interesting, since in the aphantasia thread I heard that some people with aphantasia remember their dreams in a textual form).
My dreams are very visually realistic, and my memories of them are about as detailed as memories of real life events, although they are less permanent and fade quickly if I don't write them down.
I've dabbled a bit in lucid dreaming. I've attempted some of the techniques, such as WILD (which didn't work for me), and consistent reality checks. I managed to get some success out of consistent reality checks, but it becomes quite draining to continue to do them throughout the day, especially when I need to focus on something, so I've stopped doing them. Since I haven't had that many lucid dreams, I haven't really gotten the opportunity to practice controlling them. So most of the time I find myself walking around dream environments until I get bored and wake up, or fall out of lucidity.
Something I've found interesting and that I haven't seen many people talk about is VR in dreams. I have a VR headset that I use regularly, and sometimes I find myself using VR in dreams. I usually either know this in the dream (since it's part of the plot), or I can see the screen door effect of the VR display in my visual memory of the dream. Usually I'll find myself playing weird nonsensical VR games, although sometimes it just seems like the entire dream is in VR.
Dreams also happen in other phases of sleep.
AFAIK everybody dreams, it's just that you don't remember them:
There seem to be a lot of recurring locations in my dreams. I usually have no direct memory of them while awake, but sometimes when I wake up, I can briefly remember and visualize them. I often have a lot of confusion about whether the locations I remember are from dreaming that night, or are from a dream years before. Sometimes I initially decide that a location must've been new to my a dream that night, and then realize it was a place I dreamed about long ago, or vice versa. Usually my dreams are connected to things I've been worried or thinking about lately, which helps for figuring out when they happened.
Usually I have most of my dreams when I'm partway into waking up in the morning. I'm prone to falling asleep really quickly after hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock, and I'll often have another dream or re-enter a dream when this happens. I can get really disoriented in the morning upon waking up again if a dream really grips me in this time. I'll often get it in my head that there's some important task I have to accomplish in the dream before I fully wake up, and I'll will myself back to sleep.
My dreams tend to be grounded in reality - all the laws of physics apply. Like, I read about people who have dreams where they can fly or breathe underwater or dreaming of a sci-fi future with hoverboards and lasers. But everything that happens in my dreams could theoretically happen in the real world, but other things about them can be strange. For instance, I'll be back in high school again, or someone from my past will show up inexplicably even though I haven't seen them for many years, or I'll be in a weird situation that I would never get myself into in the waking world.
From time to time, I'll have a strikingly... cinematic? dream, for lack of a better way of describing it. I've had dreams with full soundtracks (note: I'm not a musician in my waking life, so extra bonus points to my subconscious brain!). One notable dream - nightmare, really - was a "chase" dream where my friends and I were hiding from some type of monster that was picking off other friends and classmates one-by-one. But this monster had a sound cue! I remember hearing the cue right next to my ear and waking up in a panic because I knew the monster was right behind me.
Not to derail the discussion, but does anyone else get frequent sleep paralysis? Every time I have a nightmare, I wake up with sleep paralysis. My heart beats really fast and I'm unable to move. By now I'm used to it, but it was pretty scary when I was a kid!
I have existential nightmares, like horror movies directed by Ingmar Bergman. As if I almost ceased to exist and adopted the form of a quark bordering zero mass. It feels like how I imagine the afterlife of a suicidal person in my religion - one of it's highest "sins". Sometimes these nightmares lead to sleepwalking. I walk and scream around the house, trying to escape from the hallways that in my confused mind represent the subatomic prison in which I am.
It is not pleasant.