Dreams and TMS
Dreams are "windows through which we can see what's going on deep within our bodies."
-Nancy Selfridge, Freedom From Fibromyalgia
When people sleep their unconscious mind creates dreams. These dreams can shed light on feelings, situations, and issues that a person may be repressing. TMS patients may have success in recognizing and understanding their repressed emotions by remembering and concentrating on their dreams. Incorporating dreams into a TMS recovery can be useful and help a person gain insight about their unconscious mind.
Sigmund Freud developed the idea of the unconscious mind including the ego, superego, and the Id. In the 1900 book, The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud discussed how the unconscious influences dreams, and how people can analyze their dreams to uncover their repressed emotions. In Freud's opinion the unconscious mind tries to resolve conflicts and issues from the past or recent events by creating dreams where the unconscious fulfills its desires and wishes. Freud called this wish-fulfillment.
However, because the information in the unconscious mind is intense, unruly, and disturbing, the unconscious mind must hide its emotions by distorting and warping itself. In analyzing dreams Freud said,
"You entirely disregard the apparent connections between the elements in the manifest dream and collect the ideas that occur to you in connection with each separate element of the dream by free association according to the psychoanalytic rule of procedure. From this material you arrive at the latent dream-thoughts, just as you arrived at the patient's hidden complexes from his associations to his symptoms and memories... The true meaning of the dream, which has now replaced the manifest content, is always clearly intelligible."
[Freud, Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (1909); Lecture Three]
Keeping a Dream Journal
One way a person can understand their dreams is by keeping a dream journal. The following are tips and suggestions on how to keep track of dreams.
- First it is important to commit to keeping track of your dreams. This includes a person deciding to write down what happened in their dreams when they wake up, either in the night or in the morning.
- Remembering what happened in your dreams can be difficult, but with practice this will become easier.
- Be a reporter: During your journal time, write out what happened in your dreams. Instead of writing about how you feel about your dreams, simply write down what happened in them. This means who else was in them, and what actions did they do. It is important for a person to remember that it is their dreams talking, not themselves.
- After a person has an idea about the events of their dreams they can then write about how those events made them feel .
Wiki Discussions on Dreams
Your own dreams are often the best source of information about your struggles and emotional turmoil that remains unresolved. I have found it helpful to work on my dreams that alert me to issues I am ignoring - that comes out in sciatica and gastrointestinal upsets.
I have also found that the dreams of my patients were illuminating. One dream about pulling out a hair never seemed to end from the mouth- the hair was incredibly long. We worked on how my client was beginning to take the gunk outside her body and begin to put it into words - represented by the endless hair which was indicative of the years of emotional repression that had been stuffed inside her body.
The same client had a dream many months later about her skin oozing green pus, but she had a good feeling about it. We worked on what it may mean for her, and came to an understanding that it was her readiness to let out all the awful things about herself and her experiences that had festered inside that she was now able to see, smell, and accept.
Dreams are precious gifts to help you understand yourself and integrate all parts of you so that you don't stuff your angst into your body.
heronlady, author of Theurapuetic Journaling, wrote
My own personal work with dreams taught me to pay attention to the emotional feeling coming out of the dream. The fact that you describe that as neutral or 'semi-pleasant' would seem to indicate healing on your part. Most of our dreams are symbolic in nature and not factual. (ie: dream of Lucy falling down the stairs would not mean that Lucy actually fell down the stairs but something else.) If you are having repeated dreams of a similar nature, I would play with some of those components. Again, if you come out of the dream with good feelings that is a powerful message for you.
Source: 1. Nancy Selfridge. Freedom From Fibromyalgia. Three Rivers Press: New York, 2001.
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