I am a sleep expert. I know light sleep, deep sleep, sleep in cars, sleep in planes, sleep in my own bed, in hotels, on the floors of friends’, in classrooms, on fountains in Europe, in a museum…in the latter, I was awoken by a curator who asked if I was ok, and then told me to not sleep there. I awkwardly sat up and did my best to stare at a painting like I was interested in it. The struggle was real.
I’ve heard voices while I slept and felt sleep paralysis. I’ve slept through alarms and phone calls and knocks on the door. Sleep and I have been good friends and bitter enemies.
I dream A LOT. Like, more than normal people, at least in terms of how much I remember. I used to keep a dream journal but I stopped because I was recording two dreams every day and I couldn’t keep up. I dream at night and whenever I take a nap, even if it’s really short. Dreams have provided the inspiration for more than one story.
I see friends in dreams, friends who with whom there’s been a kind of tension, or conflict, and it hasn’t been resolved. Friends who are no longer friends. Even if I don’t actively think about them very much, they make their way into my dreams. Sometimes there is actually a resolution, where we talk about what happened between us. Other times, they are just there. The dream is either set in the past when they were in my life, or we’re in a bizarre situation like fighting a war against vampires or what not.
What’s weird and unsettling about these dreams is how vivid they are. Having vivid dreams in general is an effect of the antidepressant I’m on, so the people in my dreams are always very clear, look like themselves, have the right voices, and everything. It is like they are really there. The dreams have gotten more vivid, so I’m at the point now where I hesitate before acting in a dream because I am not sure if I’m dreaming or not. Even if the dream is set in an impossible reality, in the moment, the dream world is very real.
In the dreams, I’m always happy to have some kind of resolution. With some of them, I tell them how much I miss them. How I wish things were different. When I wake and realize none of it was real, disappointment follows me the rest of the day. Sometimes longer. Because with some of these people, I know resolution will never happen. Except in a sleep reality.