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Recurring Dreams

For months now I’ve been dreaming almost nightly of smoking cigarettes. It’s always the same. I’m smoking, and I’m so disappointed. Then I wake up, realize it was a dream, and feel relieved. A couple of nights ago there was an unusual twist – I dreamed I was smoking again, but this time it occurred to me I might be dreaming. I concluded I wasn’t, and proceeded to feel disappointed, but then I woke up and realized I had been dreaming and was so relieved. (I haven’t had a cigarette for a few years now, and I don’t miss it, so I don’t know why it still figures so predominantly in my dreams.)

I also dream a lot about getting laid off. I started having this dream several years before I got laid off, and it continues even now, probably once a week or so. You’d think the dream would have stopped after it came true, but no, it didn’t. It’s always the same too – I get laid off and I feel like it’s my own fault.

For about 10 years I dreamed almost nightly of apartment-hunting. Even when the dream was about something else, apartment-hunting was always going on in the background. I kept finding perfect places and terrible places, and exploring mazes of rooms and thinking about the possibilities. Often I found my dream home, but with a single deal-breaking fault, like there was no bathroom, or the devil lived in the basement, or it was a three-hour commute to work, or it was just a three-month sublet, or it was in an elevator shaft, or I could live there but I’d have to hide from the real tenants, who would also be living there. But other than that, it was perfect.

Do you have recurring dreams, or recurring themes to your dreams? Do you think they mean anything?

13 comments to Recurring dreams

  • I have several. 2 creepy ones and one that is pretty universal. I don’t want to go into them fully but the first creepy one is about being trapped because no one believes me. The second is about having to dispose of a body and the mounting fear that I’m going to get caught as obstacle after obstacle pops up. I know both relate to a single issue and I stopped having them when I did something about it. I was told by a therapist that in our dream state everything in the dream is a facet of ourselves so the body I was trying to dispose of was a part of myself, the house I couldn’t escape was myself.

    The other one is like your househunting dream, except for me I find a wing or a room in my house that I didn’t know existed and it’s PERFECT and I know EXACTLY how I’ll use the space but it is totally cluttered with junk – like a hoarder left all their stuff there and I can’t seem to get it cleared out to use it no matter how much effort I put into it. There’s plenty of cool stuff in there but if it’s neat it’s been irreprably damaged in some way and I still have to dispose of it. I think it’s a part of me I’ve locked away thats full of potential if I can just drop the baggage and take advantage of it.

  • redfraggle

    ” or the devil lives in the basement “. I like the way you just tossed that in there with a bunch of normalish stuff.

  • Took almost 30 years to stop dreaming about school (exam is tomorrow and I hadn’t gone to any classes, hadn’t read any books, didn’t even know what the professor looked like to ask for an extension, not sure I even knew what the subject was). Went through a phase of performing on stage, playing the clarinet, having long hair (nightmare!). The current recurring dream is not being able to find a bathroom.

    Think I need more imagination….

  • The only recurring nightmare I have is of suddenly going blind. I also often dream of being trapped in an elevator that is going up and up, into the sky, and won’t stop for me to get off, but that’s often not a scary dream for me, just a weird floating sensation.

    I’ve read that if you dream of a house, it represents your physical body. Things that are in the basement of the house or very dirty are things that are ill/not getting enough attention. For example, if you dream that you are in a basement bedroom, it might mean you are not getting enough sleep. If you dream of a crappy, run-down kitchen with a broken stove, you are probably hungry. If you dream of a missing or very dirty bathroom, you probably need to get up to pee.

    Reading this really took a lot of the glamour and mystery out of my dreams. But at least I am peeing more often.

  • Rachel

    I quit drinking 6 years ago and about once a week I dream of drinking. I’ll be drunk and I can smell the fumes. I wake up so relieved but sometimes I’ll still smell a small whiff of alcohol.
    I never went to kindergarten and I’ll dream when I’m under stress about needing to complete kindergarten or I’ll lose my job.
    The awful, recurring dream is smelling rotten flesh. It’ll happen for no reason in a dream. Could it be that my cat is breathing on me while I sleep?

  • I have similar dreams to both mudmama and Pamela. I am always dreaming about finding a whole new part of my house that I never knew I had, and I am overjoyed to have more space all of a sudden. I don’t even have to clean the junk out of it…it’s all ready to go.

    And the school exam dream I have at least once a week. A variant of it is that I can’t find my school timetable and I don’t know what class I have or where it is.

    Dreams are so strange!

  • Oh yes, I have recurring dreams. To me, they are themes and they reflect what is happening in my life. There’s the stress dream, the fear of public embarrassment dream, the unfulfilled wish dream, etc. While I can have vivid and crazy dreams, I never ascribe to them the quality of being prescient. You can’t see the future – you can only know the past.

  • felonius bunk

    smoking: guilt you can count on; your dearth of true vices leaves you without ‘reason’ for the punishment of ‘career setback’ (just another tragic pre-echo of the deaferring sounds of silence that is discourse today – if it was alll your fault then a lot of disgruntled folks are looking for you, zoom); first step to lucid dreaming is said to be focussing on the hands (holding the smoke), then orienting ‘outwards’ (and lucid waking?); i was mortified to be caught walking without a limp (“faker!”), felt deeply ashamed, then woke up still in the leg cast…

  • bmr

    I don’t know why but I don’t see dreams for years already. huh

  • Nancy

    I have two fairly mundane recurring dreams, although I haven’t had either of them recently. Like Pamela I dream I’m looking for a bathroom, and when I find one it often has cubicles with walls that are only half-height. As Lynn suggested, I think I have this dream when I need to get up and go to the bathroom.

    The other recurring dream is I’m about to leave for a holiday, my plane leaves in an hour and I’m not packed yet. Or I’m at the airport but I don’t have my passport.

  • Just remembered another theme, that I haven’t had in ages: wandering through buildings, around campuses (not necessarily, although often, universities), usually libraries were involved. I knew all the shortcuts, all the secret passages, the way to get to the answers. I kinda miss these dreams.

  • I have a sib who’s been an addict; I used to dream that I woke up to the phone ringing & picked up to hear her asking me to come get her up at the bus depot. Not exactly a nightmare, but I would wake up in a sweat regardless. After about the 15th or 25th reoccurence, this dream has mostly faded away. I had a very strange dream last week, which I can’t recall ever having before, but while I was dreaming it I thought it seemed familiar, as if I’d had the dream before. Don’t know what that means!

  • Funnily, my recurring dreams always feature babies. Not that I want one (had my fun already), so I assume its my nascent creativity…(that I must nurture, right?)