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Why on earth did I dream about Johnny Depp?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind dreaming about Johnny Depp.  If you have to dream (and you do), there are worse people who could turn up in there.  But for me, it was pretty random.  Thinking about it, I could only come up with four or five of his movies that I’d seen, and one of those was Platoon.  Admittedly, he looked really  good in Platoon, but it’s not what typically comes to mind when you think Johhny Depp. Which is my point: why would I dream about someone famous, when I can’t even come up with a decent list of their movie credits?  The only thing I can think of is I saw his picture the day before.  It was just a little 3×3-ish photo that I glanced at long enough to read the caption, and then I didn’t think about it again.  At least I thought I didn’t think.

It’s got me wondering what the heck is going on in that brain of mine when I dream.  I’m often surprised by my dreams and what memories my mind holds on to that I don’t realize are still in there.  Last week, I had a dream about a building that I had dreamt of a very long time ago.  In the new dream, I started thinking about how I had already dreamed about this particular building.  Do you do that?  Do you analyze your dreams while you’re still dreaming the dreams?

So Johnny Depp, or rather, my fictionalized dream representation of Johnny Depp, started me thinking about some of the other things that happen in my mind while I sleep.  For example:

  • I don’t have many recurring dreams, except these surreal dreams about two or three different buildings.  At some point in each dream, I realize it’s one of these buildings, and I wonder why I’m dreaming about it again.
  • When I dream about buildings, the interiors are most often cut-aways.
  • My stress dreams are usually about not having brakes.  The scenes and vehicles are different, and we could be going fast or gently rolling away, but no matter the scenario, I’m steadily slamming on the brakes to no avail.  I’m always panicked, but I never crash.  As I’ve gotten older, these dreams also typically end with me telling myself that I’m having “another one of those stress dreams” and wondering why.
  • I have created whole movies in my dreams, editing and re-shooting scenes as I go.
  • Sometimes I dream the sequels to other dreams.
  • I’m always an observer; I never dream from the point of view of my own eyes.  The story is always from my perspective, but I’m generally watching the action unfold from behind myself.
  • I just realized that I can’t remember a single dream that I wasn’t in.
  • I dream in color, with full sound and touch sensations, such as pain, textures, heat and cold, etc.  Does everybody?  And the emotions feel really real, true.  I think that’s interesting.
  • I can only remember one dream that I woke up from believing it had actually happened.  Note: it was not the Johnny Depp dream 🙂

Of course, that’s just what I remember.  The reality is that I don’t remember 99% of what I dream.  Usually I just remember dreams I wake out of, and not many of those.  Sometimes a dream will follow me into the day or make such an impression that I remember it later, but that doesn’t happen very often.  The thing is, we dream all night long.  That’s a lot of dream activity that I can’t remember; that’s a lot of stuff happening in my own mind that I know nothing about.  Maybe I’m better off not knowing.

What about you?  What are your dreams like?

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. I dream in color. I remember in 1st grade, telling my teacher, who told me I was wrong, that we dream in black and white, which doesn’t even make sense, biologically.

    My dad used to each school. One day, a kid asked him, “Mr. Pack, you ever dream you’re swimming and you wake up and your bed’s wet?”

    January 19, 2012
    • For a long time, I didn’t know whether I dreamt in color or black and white. I could remember what happened in a dream, but I couldn’t remember seeing colors or if I could feel the sensations of real life. I really wanted to know, so I started trying to pay attention. It took me a long time to remember to think about it right after I woke up, but I finally did. I wonder if your teacher actually did dream in black and white (which I think is possible, because if you’ve ever seen a black and white movie, then your mind knows how to re-create that in a dream) or if your teacher just couldn’t remember seeing color in dream.

      Luckily, I have never woken up in a wet bed before. I did eat a pillow once.

      Just kidding :).

      January 20, 2012
  2. Wow, I didn’t even know that Johnny Depp was in Platoon, and I’ve seen it several times (though it’s been years). It must have been one of his first films. Not a bad guy to come visiting in the dark, even if it’s only in your dreams! I can only remember snippets of dreams these days, but there are certain dreams I remember all the time. My stress dreams tend to be airplanes about to crash, forgetting to wear shoes or clothes in public places, or running in place on a dark street. I also seem to have a lot of dreams about houses, which are usually very insightful.

    January 19, 2012
    • He was, but it was a small role – one of his first movie roles. At one point in the movie, he’s interpreting between the soldiers and the villagers.

      It’s interesting to read about everyone’s stress dreams, how they’re all different, but usually related to something in our lives (like running for you and teaching for yearstricken; although I don’t know where I got the no brakes thing from). I don’t dream about houses, so much as office or industrial buildings. I don’t find them as insightful for me as just odd. Those are some of the dreams that I can’t seem to figure out.

      January 20, 2012
  3. Yeah, house dreams are interesting, and can tell you a lot about what is going on with you. I dream in technicolor, too, although I have also been told it isn’t possible. My recurring dream involves going shopping for a Breyer horse…I LOVED those when I was a kid and I think I have that dream when I’m not playing enough. …Feel free to send Johnny Depp my way! 🙂

    January 19, 2012
    • I don’t understand what about the house dreams tells you about yourself, I think because I don’t dream about houses, but about bigger buildings. I’m curious to know how they help you figure things out. As for the color thing, I’m like Todd in that I don’t see how people can think it’s impossible. It only makes sense – most of us see the world in color, so why wouldn’t our minds dream in color?

      It’s really interesting to me that you dream about something you really wanted as a kid. I don’t have a lot of recurring dreams (that I remember). It’s so interesting to me how people’s minds are so different from one another, even as we sleep.

      Also, if Johnny Depp shows up again, I think I’ll keep him to myself. I’m going to ask him to do the dusting. 🙂

      January 20, 2012
  4. I have house dreams occasionally where I find extra rooms or a pass through a garden gate and see a expansive and beautiful landscape I didn’t know I owned. I love those dreams. And I know what you mean, Michelle, about being at a place that only is in your dreams and knowing it’s a dream place. There is a city I go to that is like that and I’m always happy to be back and trying to remember different streets with shops I like or a park that I like to visit. My stress dream is having an emergency and I can’t dial the phone. 914…damn! 811…Damn! 111…Damn!

    January 19, 2012
    • Now you’re sparking my memories a bit! I didn’t think I dreamt of houses, but you made me remember that I have!! And it’s like yours – houses with hidden doorways or tunnels or whatnot. I have repeatedly dreamed about a few different houses. There were always hidden rooms, oddly shaped rooms, always weird floor plans, etc. And there is always something wrong with the place, lots of renovation needed, or the place is falling down or something. But I always really, really want to live there. Interesting!! I had convinced myself that I didn’t dream about houses and just you saying “extra rooms” made me remember many house dreams. I wonder why I had blocked that out?

      Your dream city sounds pretty great. I don’t remember a specific place that I go back to a lot, but I do occasionally realize while I’m dreaming that I’ve been in a building or a place before in my dreams, and I’ll try to visit the areas that I liked. It’s pretty cool that we can do that, isn’t it?

      You make your stress dream sound funny, but I bet it’s so frustrating. I wonder why that one is yours? Maybe my secret fear is a car accident and your secret fear is not being able to get help in an emergency. The fears are so secret, they’re even secret to us. Because I don’t think I’m afraid of being in a car accident, but maybe I am and don’t know it.

      January 20, 2012
      • Maybe you feel your life sometimes is getting out of control and you want to slow it all down. I don’t think I’m afraid of emergencies but instead afraid of letting people down when there IS an emergency. A fear I’ll be no help to people. For psychological services, you owe me 25 cents.

        January 21, 2012
        • Maybe…definitely the out of control part rings a bell. Good call!

          January 21, 2012
  5. Do you ever edit your dreams. Sometimes if I don’t like the way it is going I change things. Once my mother was in a dream and I asked her what she was doing in the dream then told her she didn’t belong in that dream because she is dead. Once a brat always a brat!

    January 19, 2012
    • Patricia, that’s funny! My sister did that to a bear who showed up in a reoccurring nightmare when she was a little girl. She never had the dream again. I hardly ever dream about my mother who has been gone 11 years. One night last year she was in a dream and talking to me. Then the dream was over and there was a screen like on YouTube with a replay button so i replayed it several times!

      January 20, 2012
      • It’s funny, and good, that your sister was able to do that. It’s just as hard to face your fears in dreamland as it is in real life.

        I think your YouTube mom dream experience is completely wonderful. That’s exactly what I’m talking about!! I can’t remember half of what I see, and yet my mind remembers it perfectly when I’m asleep. Why can’t I access that clarity while I’m conscious? It’s just amazing that you could hit that replay button and it was all there, playing over as many times as you wanted. And how cool is it that your mind did your own YouTube? So creative.

        January 20, 2012
        • I thought it was very clever of my mind to give me a way to see my mom over and over but when I told friends and family about it they just said I spend too much time on YouTube 😛

          January 21, 2012
    • I definitely edit my dreams, and it’s just like you said. Sometimes I’ll say things like, “no, I don’t like that; let’s do it like this.” Or similar. I sometimes realize that the “wrong” people are in a dream and I edit them out. Sometimes I realize they shouldn’t be there, but I let them stay anyway :).

      January 20, 2012
  6. The dreams that reveal my stress always involve being in a class I’ve never taught and not being prepared or having any materials. Sometimes I’m late for the class, but I can’t find it. I don’t know what I’ll dream about once I stop teaching.

    January 19, 2012
    • I had school related stress dreams up until my 30’s, I think. Every now and then one will pop up again. Mine is always a variation on not knowing where I’m supposed to go. Sometimes I can’t remember where my locker is, much less the combination. Sometimes I come out of a class and have no idea where I’m supposed to go next, or for the rest of the day. Total mind freeze, a blank slate.

      I’m thinking that a lot of the stress dreams are about not being in control of our own destinies. Maybe that’s a leap, but it sounds good!

      January 20, 2012
  7. I wouldn’t mind dreaming of Johnny Depp except I always see Edward Scissorhands when I think of him. Do you dream in parts? I sometimes wake up from a dream, and then go back to sleep just so I can continue with part 2. This is especially if the dream is a good one, and I really need to find out what happens next. My stress dreams involve trying to get a giant contact lens into my eye. And while I’m trying to figure it out, I realise that the lens is made of a really brittle material and bits keep breaking off, leaving jagged edges! When I get dreams like this, it usually means it’s time for a holiday 🙂

    January 19, 2012
    • When I looked up his movies, I realized that that was why I couldn’t think of what movies I had seen him in – all of them were real character parts where he didn’t really look like himself: Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Carribean, etc.

      I can do that too, if I’m very careful not to let myself wake up too much. I sometimes dream the sequels at totally different times, and sometimes I dream the same story, but change things that I didn’t like about it the first time.

      Your stress dreams sound Really Stressful!! I hate putting in contacts (so I don’t), but those jagged edges sound like a nightmare. Yes, the stress dreams for me usually mean that there’s something going on in my work life that I’m finding difficult – things that I have no control over. I guess that makes sense, though, right?

      January 20, 2012
  8. I always dream about a strange kingdom or land that needs my protection. I am usually some type of warrior and I need to rescue someone using my magic or weapons, I guess I watch too many movies that are similar to Lord of the Rings. 🙂

    January 19, 2012
    • Keep on watching those movies, I say! I don’t have dreams like that (I don’t think), but now I’m kind of jealous. It sounds kind of wonderful to me – adventure and magic, and you are the hero! It makes me think again about how our dreams are an extension, or result of, who we are. Maybe you’re more romantic and adventurous and warrior-like than I am. Hmmm….now I might need to keep a dream journal or something, because I want to know what my dreams are saying about who I am.

      January 20, 2012
  9. I had a random dream about Tom Cruise once. Very random indeed.

    January 21, 2012
    • Haha, yeah he would be really random for me, too. I think I’ve only seen 1 Tom Cruise movie since Top Gun.

      January 21, 2012
  10. You can tell I’m loving this thread…I have to comment again.

    About 20 years ago I had a dream about Alan Jackson. He kissed me on a bus and I can still feel his mustache…

    January 21, 2012
    • Me too – this one has been fun! Now, Alan Jackson is a good one! He can visit my dreams any time he wants.

      January 21, 2012
  11. I dream in color and as if it’s happening to me…only every now and again do I watch the dream rather than participate. I do often think about the fact that I’m dreaming and change things up during the dream. I’ve never died in a dream, but wake up just as I should be, this has happened 3 or 4 times.

    February 7, 2012
    • The perspective part is interesting – that’s one thing that I was hoping someone would tell me. I have wondered for a long time why I see my dreams as a spectator. Maybe I do also dream in the first person, but just don’t remember; I need to start trying to pay attention to that.

      I have never died in a dream either. I think I’ve had those dreams where I wake up right before I die, but I can’t remember for sure.

      February 11, 2012

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