Living Another Life in a Recurring Dream

2 years, 4 months ago

Starting three weeks ago, I came back from a trip, exhausted, and slept for about 15 hours. In those 15 hours, I had a dream that spanned 17 years. The dream started with me waking up the next day and I lived out my normal and mundane day to day life for 17 years. Everything was exactly as it should be, and time was never messed up, as it normally is with dreams. Everything was normal, within all bounds of physics, clocks worked, mirrors worked. It was exactly as waking life should be and is. I did every mundane task of life, as well as continue with what I imagined my life would be like. I finished college, went to law school, got married and became a divorce lawyer, living outside of Boston. I went to bed every night and had dreams. When I awoke, to reality, I believed I was having a dream about being in college again. For that day, I believed I was lucid dreaming. I lucid dream regularly and most of the time I don’t have full control of the dream (i.e. making things appear and going flying are out of my control) but I am aware I am dreaming. When I woke up the next day, I was confused why I was still 19 and at my parents home. That day I started to realize that this was actually my real life, and I had dreamt those 17 years that had passed. It took me about a week to fully accept that this was real life, and to say the least I was very emotionally unstable after the event. I felt as if I had to start over again and that I had lost everything I worked for and basically had lost my life. I had to redo my life. After a week and a half had passed and I truly accepted my dream, I had had the dream again and awoke the next day in my 36 year old self, believing I had had a weird week and a half long dream about being 19 again. In that dream, as the 36 year old lawyer I lived for about a month until she went to bed one night and I woke up and I was 19 again. This time I was severely confused and unable to determine which one is truly a dream and which one is my real life. After that night, every night I go to bed and have a dream of waking up the next day in the other body. Every dream begins with me waking up and ends with me going to bed. In my dual life, as a 36 year old lawyer, I am going to shrink about my recurring dreams of being a kid again. The therapist tells me it’s because I want to escape my dull monotonous life.
I am pretty sure that this is my real life, being 19 and in college, but I also don’t want to mess up anything in the other, just in case this is really the dream.

Has this happened to any one else? I.e. living another dual life in a dream? Dreams have always excited me ever since I was little. I’ve kept dream journals for years, and can always remember most of my dreams, normally three or four a night. But ever since this recurring dream has started, I have had no other dreams, just the one of the other life. I keep looking for signs in both lives to help me determine which is the dream but neither hold any of those markers which normally help me identify when I’m dreaming.

I would love some advice, help, or anything anyone has to offer on the subject!

Also, I am 100% sober, so this isn’t caused by any drugs or narcotics.

07.07.2012 at 4:53 pm

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

maybe both of them are real

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

or neither

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

does physical pain exist in your other life?

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Profile photo of EmmaElizabeth EmmaElizabeth (@emmaelizabeth) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Yeah physical pain exists, I’ve stubbed my toe on many occasions and I even broke an arm in the original dream that lasted 17 years.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

did anything extraordinary happen on your trip before the original dream? i’m just shooting in the dark here, but this whole ordeal you’re going through is fascinating

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Profile photo of Stealf Stealf (@stealf) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Okay, in the life that you’re writing on high existence, this one.. go skydiving, travel the world, do something awesome. Maybe you need something to prove to yourself that this life is better than that one. I’m pretty amazed by this whole story I didn’t even think it was possible, I would probably go insane if I woke up one day and I was a even a year younger. Good riddance to you man, get off these forums and fill this life with something awesome. Actually, I should probably be doing that aswell.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@stealf, I’ll have to disagree to just neglect this condition and “go skydiving”. I mean, if Emma knew which existence was real and which is the make-believe, she could go crazy and do anything in that one. However, until then if this keeps on and she can’t differentiate between the worlds, she might go insane… no offense. And you don’t have to listen to my ramblings, but to me, first priority would be to get to the bottom of this.

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Profile photo of Michael Michael (@mike) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

nbc did it

terribly interesting if you’re serious, though.

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Profile photo of Nancy B. Nancy B. (@rockernatnat) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@emmaelizabeth, I am completely and utterly amazed at your predicament. I also watched the link posted above by @mike and and even more intrigued at the level of extreme this is. Have you tried leaving yourself notes in places you could maybe access from both lives? Are there any common places that the two lives cross paths? Whatever control you do have over yourself in either lives, I think you should try to leave yourself a reminder or something that you know you put there. I have always had a hard time sleeping so it’s hard for me to know the stress of a recurring dream, but i have had recurring themes. Nothing in comparison to yours. I think you made a good decision asking for advice on here. Good luck on your quest. I’d be interested in any changes or updates.

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Profile photo of MattH MattH (@lucidmatt) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@emmaelizabeth, this is truly amazing. If you can’t figure out which one is real, then you must incorporate your two lives into your one consciousness. Use one to help out the other, and vice versa. Hell, this may even be a huge advantage. Life is so precious, and you have double the fun. Try not to brush this off, this could be fate or a huge opportunity

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Profile photo of SomewhatRelative SomewhatRelative (@setu) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

What year is it in the other life?

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Profile photo of Peter Peter (@searchingforthetruth) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

I wonder if you could somehow prove to yourself that both your lives are real..what year are you living..do you have the same life?

Can you travel to certain location and mark it with a unique symbol…and then travel to that location in another life and see if it is real? Like..write to yourself or something from the past to the present?

Can you give more details..what are your names in the lives…do you have the same look..identity..family..etc..

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Profile photo of Joe Hall Joe Hall (@jhall314) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

If you discover a way to distinguish which of the worlds is real, then the fake one will most certainly collapse. If you have a deep love connection with someone in the dream world, this situation could be potentially traumatizing.
The first thing I think is that you should at least take the time to appreciate that you are of great enough intelligence to experience this type of mental tomfoolery. You probably need to step out of the dream world as soon as possible for your own sake, but you should also explore every idea you can think of.
Perhaps you are getting glimpses of your potential future, and have the power to manipulate your current life for better future circumstances. This is where the earlier mentioned idea of notes could be fascinating. Leave a time capsule for yourself somewhere you know it would stay safe and see if you can find it in your older life.
If you DON’T find it, you’ll know you’re dreaming of different worlds and one is most certainly fake.
If you DO find it, it would be hard to judge if your mind is just very consistent or if it is actually something beyond ‘natural.’

Another most basic thought is to trust whichever world you have first memory of, which seems to be the younger you. The less you let yourself believe the older you is real, the more it could start to disappear.

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Profile photo of Athens Athens (@giraffe) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1839683/

If true, both are probably real.

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Profile photo of EmmaElizabeth EmmaElizabeth (@emmaelizabeth) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Thank you all for the wonderful feedback and support. I wish I could have gotten back to you all sooner but I’ve been pretty busy with classes.

I am going to mark something in both worlds and see if I can find it.

I am beginning to accept both worlds and it has become less chaotic and more enjoyable for sure.

The interesting thing is that I am not a different person in the different realms. I am just older. I have the same memories of before all of this happened and keep up with the same friends I have had. It is me, in every aspect of who I am other than age. It’s literally just the older version of me. I do have a deep love connection in the dream world, I am married to the boy I have been dating for 6 years. He is my high school sweet heart and we plan to get married after I finish law school and he finishes medical school, in this world, the forum world. So basically my dream world, or my older me world, is just the continuation of my life I am living now. It is basically the future I have been imagining for myself since I was little.

In the trip, before my first dream, I went into NYC and visited friends who live there and also toured Columbia, where I really want to go for Law School. But in my older life, I didn’t end up going there but remained at the law school at the University I am attending now so that I could stay with my boyfriend.

As for living my life to the fullest potential, in one of the lives, I feel that I do that already. I try to live with no regrets and travel frequently. For instance, I am leaving for a backpacking trip through Eastern Europe in a month. There is nothing that I would rather being doing than the life I have embraced, in both worlds.

Twice, however, since this all began I have had eery moments of deja vu where I realize I am doing something exactly as my memory from my older self did. For example, I create furniture art, I don’t really know how to describe it. I find furniture in people’s trash which I then take and paint and create functional furniture which is also art, and I sell it. Well I was creating a patio set for a friend’s apartment, in this realm, and I had a great idea of what to do for it, until I realized that I had already done that in my other life. My inspiration for the piece came from the dream world, from a memory I had of myself doing that already in college. It could all be coincidence, or I have merged consciences from both realms, being that I am the same person, in both, just older.

For now,though, I am going to embrace both.

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Profile photo of DaJetPlane DaJetPlane (@lytning91) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@emmaelizabeth, I’d say you might consider a temporary impairment on your memory. Maybe start smoking a LOT of weed and see if you can remove you ability to remember your dreams. If you can influence your biological processes enough, you might actually be able to forget about whichever of the worlds is the dream world and finally have a conclusion.

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Profile photo of DaJetPlane DaJetPlane (@lytning91) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Also, you could really be drastic about it and try to seek out a doctor that can give a treatment for it, and do this in both worlds. Even if both worlds CLAIM to remove your ability to dream, only ONE will succeed…the real world.

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Profile photo of EmmaElizabeth EmmaElizabeth (@emmaelizabeth) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Those do sound like wonderful ideas, but I have actually started to really enjoy having two lives. As they say everyone is alive, but not everyone truly lives. I get to do it twice. I also would hate to impair my ability to dream because I love dreams and everything about them. I have become quite attached to both worlds. Thankfully I have quite the support team in both realms and I am no longer as unstable as I was when I originally started this thread. Also, I used to smoke a lot of weed, I would smoke every day and every night before I went to bed and it never affected my ability to remember dreams. However, I don’t anymore smoke anymore. As for the use of psychotics to stop my dreaming, I’d rather not as for the neurobiological processes associated with many of these drugs are not well understood. I find that quite terrifying.

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Profile photo of DaJetPlane DaJetPlane (@lytning91) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Well, I am not a huge advocate of synthetics either but I was thinking more like, IDK, getting an ok to like go without sleep for an extended amount of time. It’s not really dreaming if it’s real. You are foregoing a lot of the opportunities of the dream world to confine yourself to a second reality. Call me an escapist, but I kind of appreciate the dream as a manipulable exercising of one’s imagination.

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Profile photo of Joe Hall Joe Hall (@jhall314) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Emma I’m jealous in a way of what you’re doing, but I think you need to be careful! You seem to already be addicted to the sensation of separate realities, which one day would most certainly come back to haunt you. I don’t think you can control both worlds forever and the longer you stay in the dream world, the more horrible it will feel when it crumbles. You may choose to stay in one world forever and end up completely losing yourself.
You could have a great tool for self expansion, exploration, and a perspectively-prolonged life, but “with great power, comes great responsibility” and in this case, your main responsibility is to yourself! (sorry to use the cheesy quote lol)

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

I have to agree with Joe Hall. Right now it might seem harmless to have another life. But what if things get out of control and you feel like you’ve had enough and have to decide? I know it’s pretty extreme, but then without having a clue for what is real and what is make-believe, you might decide that you had enough of one of the lives and choose to… exterminate it.

Well, I guess you’ll still have a 50% chance to choose reality, whatever that may be.

On a side note, now your whole story is starting to resemble Inception.

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Profile photo of Ellie Ellie (@tangledupinplaid21) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Have you tried methods that work for identifying whether you’re dreaming, like covering your nose and mouth and trying to breathe?(In dreams you will still be able to).

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Profile photo of Christian Christian (@christian92) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@tangledupinplaid21, That’s not always the case. In dreams, you create the rules(consciously or subconsciously), so it should also be possible to create the dream in a way that you can’t breathe when you cover your mouth and nose. But it’s still worth a shot. Alternatively I would try to alter the dream with my mind.

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Profile photo of Ka Ka (@kaciula) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

It’s interesting that people answering on this thread don’t say “This is reality and the other one is a dream because I myself exist here and I am real”. So, if the other reality (the one where she is older) is the “real” one, we all are basically dream characters. Yay!

Personally, if what you are saying is indeed your experience, I think both are real and you should enjoy them as much as you can. You maybe should check out the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Out of the infinite realities, you somehow managed to be in 2.

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Profile photo of Joe Hall Joe Hall (@jhall314) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

I would also experiment with solipsism…the concept that you are the only true being in your universe, and the world was created as you perceived it should be. In one of your worlds that could definitely be true.

Go fully “Inception” like and bend the fuck out of these worlds. I don’t think it’s possible for both worlds to be real. Not because the concept is impossible, but because I THINK it’s impossible to end up in two. Never underestimate the power of the brain, you’re doing something amazing, but one of them isn’t real.

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