And the dreams go on and on and on
April 12, 2010 4:48 AM Subscribe
I have telescopic dreams
once in a while - dreaming something only to realise that I'm dreaming, "wake up" in another dream, then sometimes switching back to the first dream or "waking up" to another dream entirely. They freak me out quite a bit as I'm never quite sure if or when I'm really awake. Why do these dreams happen? Is anything the matter?
posted by divabat to health & fitness (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The telescopic dreams I have tend to fall under 2 varieties:
a) I dream that I'm waking up, getting out of bed, doing the usual things, etc. Then something strikes me as off - something subtle but surreal, like the mirror melting or something who can't possibly be my housemate living with me. I then "wake up" back in my bed, get out of bed, doing the usual things...then again something surreal but different happens. This happens in a chain of about 5-6 "dreams", and at one point I try to force myself awake but can't due to sleep paralysis. When I finally do get myself awake (for real) it takes me a moment to work out whether it's a dream or reality.
b) The telescopic dream alluded to in the linked SMBC comic, where I'm alternating between two dreams, claiming each time that "this" is "real" and the other was a dream. These happen less often and tend to be less realistic (though I haven't had one with lobster heads).
In both types of dreams I'm lucid enough to notice the dreaming, and that something's off, but I don't tend to realise that I can control how the dream goes. I can think in-dream "Oh, this can't be right, So and So isn't a girl" or something boringly factual, but it never occurs to me to actively change the dream. The main difference between the dreams and real life is almost like a question of HD versus normal screen resolution; it looks different.
These dreams sometime distress me upon waking, as it makes me question my concept of reality. Sometimes I feel like I will be stuck in a dream and never wake up. Do these dreams actually indicate some type of health issue? Asides from mild depression & anxiety I don't have any other underlying health issues, though my sleeping patterns are a little messed up. I can't recall any specific patterns to these dreams in terms of what happens in my life when I dream them, though the perpetual-waking-up dreams do tend to happen when I've had an afternoon nap.
The usual methods of knowing I'm in a dream don't quite work - I can feel pain and still not wake up, and quite a few of my dreams involve clearly reading some sort of document. I'm ambivalent on whether dreams are merely neurological background processing, psychological, travel to the astral worlds, meaningful, meaningless.
Do I have anything to worry about? Do they reflect some issue with my brain? Or are these dreams normal?