I’ve always had vivid, colorful dreams and nightmares. My absolute favorite dream was when I was on the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise. I was on the REAL Enterprise, with the real Captain-- James T. Kirk. Who else can say they’ve ever been there? And what did my space adventure dream mean?
Don't know, don't care; it was just a blast.
An article in Scientific America, The Science Behind Dreaming, Sander van der Linden describes research that found that vivid, bizarre and emotionally intense dreams (the dreams that people usually remember) are linked to parts of the amygdala and hippocampus. Hmmm, trauma is linked to the amygdala and hippocampus. We know that the amygdala plays a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions, and the hippocampus has something to do with moving information from short-term to long-term memory. In other words, dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them.
When I was young, I a lot of dreams when I was flying. That was so cool. I would guess that flying has something to do with feeling free and unencumbered. I was sad to hear that neither my son, nor my daughter had ever dreampt that they could fly. But here are some dreams that we all probably share.
Common dream symbols for the targeted parent.
#1. Being chased means you're feeling threatened, (duh). The trick is suppose to be to figure out why you feel threatened and by who but that's not very tricky for us.
After I had been in therapy for about 4 months, my nightmares can back with a vengeance. Every night I’d be terrified, running around a bunch of parked cars. Of course I couldn’t find mine, but that happens all of the time. Anyway, I thought that the increased nightmares meant that I was regressing; but, my therapist was delighted.! She said to me, “You're thawing Kay!” She went on to explain that I had been paralyzed in the freeze fear response ever since I had started therapy. Now that I had processed some of the traumatic experiences, I had escaped and was running away. I thought that was some pretty concrete evidence of brain rewiring.
#2. They say falling relates to our anxieties about letting go, losing control, or somehow failing after a success. And you don’t die if you hit the bottom. On a related note:, when my daughter was young, she dreampt that her teeth were falling out. We later found out that it was from anxiety. It makes sense because it was a very stressful time for her.
#3 Being trapped (physically) reflects our real life inability to escape or fix our crisis.
#4 Demons. I didn’t like the description I read about this, so I made up my own. I think that demons represent the evil in my world, (instead of significantly repressed emotions). One reason is because I handle all my demons the same way. I scare them off by singing old church hymns and telling them that I know Jesus personally.
#5 Not so long ago, my life was all just trying to get to point A on the right day and time. If I got to the right place at the right time, it was a miracle. They say that dreaming that you miss a flight or something like that means that you're frustrated over missing important opportunities in life. This is probably pretty true.
# 6 & # 7 Nudity and exams always went together in my dreams. And actually the combination makes sense. Nudity represents feeling vulnerable and exposed to others and exams reveal uncertainty under conditions where we are being evaluated or judged. It didn't help that I always came into the exam room late, so everyone would see that I was naked.
#8 House. My mom lived in the same house for 35 years, and that was home. Anytime I was in my house in my dreams, I was comfortable and safe. But if that's too boring of a description, try this interpretation. A House represents your mind. The floors in the house represent different levels of thinking. The mind is made up of three major parts: the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the super-conscious mind. Within these three parts are seven levels of consciousness. The house is where you stay/live – your belief system.
On that note: hooray for our brains, AGAIN. They are working on processing our trauma day and night. Aneffective therapy for many traumatized people works on the same principles and dreaming. It is called EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. I'll post more on my experiences with EMDR later.
And the word on the street is
Neurofeedback rewires your brain like Buddha on steroids.