Recurrent dreams that frustrate—why?

I had a recurrent dream last night. I was near the end of my third year of college working on my chemical engineering degree when I realized I had not attended any of my math classes, done any of the work or taken any of the tests.  Apparently I just forgot that I had signed up for the class that I needed as a pre-requisite for senior-year courses. I was in a state of panic over how I was ever going to recover from this lapse of memory.

The dream didn’t just affect my head; it affected my whole body. When I woke I felt as if I had been under a lot of stress.

In real life, I did earn my ChemE degree and now that I think about it, I don’t recall  that I even needed math courses by my junior year. I think I may have finished those requirements with the Calculus and Differential Equations classes I completed by the end of my second year. Dreams don’t have to be real to cause you distress.

Here’s an interesting aside about my ChemE degree. I once received  a certificate, it may have been from the Engineer-in-Training exam, or one of the engineering societies I was a member of in college. The certificate contained the standard language with a blank line where my name was written in. Below my name, the certificate read, “on his achievement.” You can be sure I brought this lapse to the attention of the appropriate authority. Before the late seventies when I studied engineering, there weren’t many women in the field. The isolated individuals who charted this course before that time were true pioneers indeed. I think there were five or six women in my class of about 30 chemical engineering students. We had largest representation. Electrical, mechanical and civil engineering had one or two women per class.

When I got my second bachelor’s degree about five years ago, an English degree with a written communications minor, a female student made a derogatory comment on our online classroom discussion board. She used the term “femi-nazis.” I was in classes with primarily traditional students in their early 20s and I was shocked at how little they knew about the women’s struggles and movement over the years. Maybe they should have been better taught. Maybe it’s like calculators, you have to learn to add so you understand the principles behind the calculations.

Anyway, I digress.

I used to have a similar recurrent dream in high school where I showed up to school and found out I had a test that I hadn’t studied for.

Once in a while I even had the standard dream of showing up somewhere and realizing I was in my underwear. Why do our brains do this to us?

When I was small I used to have a dream that my sister Kathy was driving me and my siblings somewhere. It was a big, kind of bubble-top car. I think it may have been  an early Chevy. In my dream it looked something like this, that I got from a Cuban taxis page on somebody’s blog, only it was black. Kathy was only 2-1/2 years older than me and could hardly see over the steering wheel, but she was driving fast and careening around corners. We didn’t know where we were or how to get where we were going. I thought I would never get home again.

I don’t know why I am occasionally harassed by dreams in my sleep.  My dreams should be filled with peaceful waterfall, quiet sun-dappled forest or gently lapping waves scenes. Isn’t real life full enough of frustration, fear and sorrow?

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17 thoughts on “Recurrent dreams that frustrate—why?”

  1. I usually post my dreams b/c they have a great fiction flavor.

    Anyway, when I was in college I dreamed about a roller coaster that constantly changed directions.

  2. Wow. That would have been a terrifying dream for me. Maybe our subconscious only throws at us what we can handle. I stay away from roller coasters.

  3. Funny, I sometimes have this same dream. I just always thought it was a flashback to early college days when I really did stuff like this.

  4. Yes, women did have a hard time…I was there and I remember. And no, the young women now have no true understanding.

    As for the dreams…I sometimes have recurring dreams. I try to look past the stress (if there is any) in the dreams…see what my mind is saying that I am not ‘listening’ to in my awake state.

    great post:)

  5. Your engineering background is probably giving you extraordinary insight into things us English majors only dream of….

  6. I agree with Debra. Recurring dreams are trying to tell us something ~ for example, that we’ve forgotten to do what we came here to do.

    As for the real feelings of stress and panic ~ our minds cannot differentiate between real and imaginary scenarios.

    That’s why self-created suffering is so prevalent. We tell ourselves “lies” and our mind buys into them ~ life is unfair, people are terrible, etc.

    It’s also why Creative Visualization is so powerful.

    If you sit quietly and imagine yourself sitting beside peaceful waterfalls, quiet sun-dappled forests or gently lapping waves, you will begin to negate much of the frustration, fear and sorrow you feel in “real life.”

    Peace.

  7. I know there are recurring dreams that I get that I wonder… what the hell is that about?

    Like singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in a cave with trolls, knights, dragons, and all manner of beasties.

  8. I know what you mean about frustrating dreams. It would be nice to go to sleep and spend the night in some peaceful place where all tension and stress melt away, and I wake up feeling recharged and ready to go.

    The older I get, the stranger my dreams become.

  9. I use to have a similar recurring dream about college…that I didn’t get my degree. Before awaking I seemed to go over the details of my graduation, through to picking the diploma up from the administrative offices. At the ceremony, we got an empty diploma jacket. Because I went to a large university, the actual certificates weren’t always ready by the day of the ceremony.

    Anyway, I think I’ve finally stopped having that particular dream.

    thank goodness…hugmamma. 😉

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