I am the sort of person who dreams vividly, in bright Technicolor, and I usually dream entire movies. Fantasies, horrors, action thrillers, whatever – but so much happens in my dreams that you would hardly believe me if I outlined one of them for you. They feel so shudderingly real that I often have to force myself to wake up just to tear myself out of them. I feel their effects for hours, sometimes days, afterwards.
I’ve always been this way. I still remember terrifying or anxiety-ridden dreams from my childhood. I don’t know why this happens to me. I have a hard time believing it has anything to do with diet or bedtimes or any of the million other reasons I’m often given. If that was the case, it would’ve changed over the thirty-plus years I’ve been alive.
I’ve met others who have similar experiences, and we’re all the same – exhausted in the morning when we wake up. It’s as if the intensity of our dream lives drains away any of the benefits sleep is supposed to provide our waking lives. I’ve had dreams of boyfriends cheating on me where I literally woke up and rolled over in bed to fight them, still infuriated by an experience that felt so real. I’ve woken up from dreams of loved ones dying or leaving me with tears rolling down my cheeks. It’s taken me entire mornings to get back into a normal state of mind after some of them.
I’m of the belief that my heightened dreams probably have something to do with the fact that I’m a HSP (highly sensitive person). I thought all the “highly sensitive” stuff was probably a crock until I started reading about it and realizing the description fit me to a tee. It’s nice to have some sort of explanation for why I’m the way I am, even if knowing doesn’t necessarily change any of it.
My dreams still affect my waking mood more than I would like, and God forbid I nap! That’s when I get the worst of it, and I awaken slowly and groggily. Just today I had to force myself out of a terrifying nightmare that pulled me back in even after my alarm sounded. Fifteen minutes later I sprung out of bed, more than ready to be done with the whole thing. Like I said, I often wake up exhausted from dreams like this – dreams that contain more stress than my real life does in at least a week.
I don’t know how to change the landscape of my dream world. It’s such a part of me now that I try to accept it and move on. If nothing else, I can take notes and make stories from them later. Some of the plotlines aren’t so terrible, if I do say so myself. Maybe my subconscious knows something that I don’t.