Thursday, December 09, 2010


Ever since I have been a small child, I've always had very vivid dreams. I remember a dream that I had from the time I was around 4 or 5 because it was so vivid, even. Often, I consider it a gift to have such an active subconscious, but sometimes I am troubled by what my brain brings up. But, on the whole, I appreciate the visions of sugarplums that dance through my head.

I think that because of my long history of vivid dreams, and the fact that I remember many of them has helped me become fairly good at decoding what they are saying. Often, I think back to what was on my mind before I went to sleep, and can then figure things out.

I had a dream yesterday that was very odd. I finished my annotated bibliography for a class, took the book back to the library, and sat down at my desk to send it off to the professors. However, I was quickly sidetracked by a horrible bout of nausea (figures, right?). So, I went to lie down on my bed. Soon enough, I was asleep and dreaming this:

I was down in this big basement like room because I was following a bear. It was like I was going into a water level in Super Mario Bros, though it wasn't cartoon-like. It was dark, and I think I had come down a pipe. I jumped off the little platform and into the water. The water didn't really make me feel cold or anything; it was simply something in the dream. As I swam along, I found myself soon enough at this really gross little house that was on stilts to keep it out of the water. It looked all black and mildewy and everything. As the house came into my sight, I also saw the bear I had been following. It was also swimming, but just as I got it in my sight, it pulled this big hose that had a plug on it. I realized it was draining all the water out of the big room, so I went right back to the platform to try to get out, but too much water was already gone. I couldn't get back up onto the platform. Soon, all the water was gone and the bear was backing me against a wall. I was very scared as it continued to back me up until my back was against the wall. But, as I backed into the wall, I looked down and saw a bunch of really long 2x4s right there. As I looked down at them, it didn't register in my brain to pick one up. The bear was snarling at me, and at this point I picked up one of the 2x4s and started swinging it at the beast. Even though the bear was very close to me, I still missed. But, the bear started backing away anyway and then it turned into a less scary thing; a man. It was at this point that I woke up, gasping for breath because I was so scared.

As I lie there in my bed, I thought, "What a strange dream. I wonder what it means." Then, out of the blue, the meaning hit me. The bear was dementia and the big room was grief. The dementia pulled the plug and made me stuck in grief even though I tried to get out of it. When the dementia started coming after me, I didn't know what to do about it and I felt trapped. I saw tools to help and eventually picked one up and used it to help me. I missed because dementia is such a huge opponent, but I felt empowered. When I felt empowered, the bear (dementia) turned into the man (something more manageable). I was fighting it back because I needed to before it ate me up. I kept missing the bear but it kept backing away.

And that's the meaning that came and whacked me upside the head. I have found myself wondering what the water is, but I don't think it had much to do with the dream. I wasn't cold because of it, nor was I drowning in it. It was just something that was. Often, I see water as a symbol for chaos in dreams, but that doesn't fit in this one because the chaos seems to increase with dementia because a person can feel so helpless. I also do not quite know what the gross house was about. Other than maybe the house is symbolic of the brain. The fact that it was covered in mildew (akin to plaques afflicting those with Alzheimer's, or like the blocking of blood vessels due to vascular dementia), and that it was far too small for the bear to live in makes me think that the house is symbolic of the brain. I don't know. Those two things didn't "come to me" the way the rest of the meaning did.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that dream because of the odd circumstances around it. I very rarely wake up gasping for air, but I was really afraid in this dream, and I was also really putting forth an effort to hit the bear with the 2x4. Crazy, I know. But, also an interesting look into my subconscious.