Living Another Life in a Recurring Dream
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.
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@emmaelizabeth, It’s 05:08 AM where I am in the world and I have just read this entire thread for the first time, I’m completely amazed. I’m so happy you got through it, fair play to you for keeping a solid head through all of that! It must have been an incredible experience. A lotta respect for you. :)
It’s been over a year now since I wrote this thread. Let me first say, I’m sorry for leaving the discussion so quickly. Rather than addressing all the fine points brought up, which I have just finished reading, I thought I would update everyone on my current situation. Oh, how my life has drastically changed.
I fell incredibly ill a week or so after posting the thread, thus why it was abandoned. My current hypothesis is that the dream state I achieved was directly related to my health. Let me explain… and yes this is going to be kind of long so…
TL;DR: I became very sick, went into a surgery with a 15% survival rate, and lived. So I dropped out of college, started traveling the world.
So here is the long story… (with some needed background).
The life I had one year ago seemed perfect. I was very health conscious, running 4-6 miles everyday, eating all organic. I mean, I drank Kale juice for breakfast. I was a prime example of health and of person. I was a perfectionist, with a 3.9 GPA and big dreams. Big dreams of the “perfect” all-american-suburban-country-club life. This was the life I came from and all I have ever known. I was a trust fund prep-school kid. My parents own a hedge fund, and my childhood consisted of sailing and playing tennis in New England. Part of me had always dreamed of adventure, but I told myself that that life wasn’t an option for “someone like me.” I kept this reckless romantic quiet for the most part, but every now and then it would tear me apart. I would look at the so-called “perfection” around me and would only be disgusted by the absurd superficiality of it all. I longed for the road, for the mountains; I dreamed of pursuing my passion for life.
When I wrote the thread, I had been losing weight, not intentionally though. I assumed it was because of the stress caused by the dreams. But the weight started falling off even faster, it came to a point where I had no energy to run or do anything. I am 5′ 11″ and normally weigh around 140 lbs. I probably had about 14% body fat, at that point. Being a female at such a low body fat percentage, I no longer had my period. My boyfriend and I would fight and he would ask me to put on a little weight because I didn’t need to be so fit. He said that I wasn’t a professional athlete so this was just unnecessary and potentially harmful for my body. About a month after I had the initial dream (the one that lasted 17 years) I weighed around 105, and I had lost most of my muscle mass.
My boyfriend was convinced now that I was anorexic or bulimic. I swore to him that I was eating, but it began to tear apart our relationship. He said the perfectonist had gotten the best of me, and believed my “anorexia” to be comparable to a drug addiction. I went to two different doctors with my boyfriend and he hinted to them that he believed I had an eating disorder. Upon hearing this they both clung to the idea and suggested therapy, without even looking into any other possibilities. At this point I was still having the dreams of my older self, every night. To the doctors and my boyfriend, I was starting to seem crazy. I was easily disoriented and confused, and would forget which realm I was in. Partly because I was experiencing this ongoing dream and also because I was so weak. For example, I would go on errands and realise I had purchased the things I needed in the other life.
My life in the other dream started to fall apart, as well. My marriage was failing with my husband (the older version of my boyfriend) and my children barely knew me because I had sent them to boarding school. My husband and I had such intense careers that we realised we didn’t have time to raise our two sons. In this realm, my husband was the chief of surgery and I was now the partner at my law firm. I was becoming incredibly dissatisfied with my life (as a 36 year old). I was constantly wishing that my younger self had had the courage to leave the safety of suburbia, and telling myself that at least “I can live another life in the dreams I have of being a 19 year old.”
The stress of both lives was unbearable. This is the point where I lost consciousness.
I went to bed as a 19 year old and woke up in the 36 year old world. But then when I went to bed as a 36 year old, I didn’t dream, I woke up the next day as my 36 year old self. For two years the dream of the 36 year old continued. I believed that I had finally figured it out, that this, this mess of a perfect professional suburban life was truly mine. I stopped dreaming at night. I sunk into despair. The hope that kept me going through the monotony of my life, the possibility that I had a second chance at life, was gone. I had everything I had worked for, but nothing I ever wanted. I knew that deep down, all along, I had known that I would never be satisfied by this idealistic so-called perfect life. And yet, I was pulled into it and followed it anyways, and in the end felt entirely empty.
What had actually happened in the real world, this world, was that I lost consciousness, and was put into a medically induced coma for 11 days. I went to bed and in the middle of the night my boyfriend woke up to something warm and wet. He flipped on the light and found I had been vomiting blood while I slept. (Thank god I sleep on my side and didn’t aspirate.) He immediately called 911 and I was rushed into the hospital. They found that my intestines were failing. I was losing weight because I wasn’t getting any nutrition. I was rushed into surgery and they found my colon to be almost entirely dead. My colon was resected and I was induced into a coma and received nutrition intravenously until a transplant could be found. This was all happening while I was believing in my dream world that I had figured out which one was real.
In the world of my 36 year old self, I hated who I had become. I barely knew my husband anymore. He slept most nights at the hospital, and I would come home, after a long days work, to a big empty house. The only reason my husband and I didn’t get a divorce was because people at the country club would talk. We admitted that we didn’t love each other any more, but we were still good partners. We didn’t hate each other, we just realised we didn’t love each other anymore either. It made financial sense to stay together, we became the co-captains of the life we had created. My life consisted of settling divorces(as I was a divorce lawyer), and there was none of the romantic idealism that I had as a kid. My sons came home for Christmas, and for a few weeks in the summer, but other than that I didn’t know them. I hated myself for putting them through the same thing my parents put me through. My parents own a hedge fund and work primarily out of Dubai. I grew up at the same boarding school, my two dream sons attended. A year after my last “dream” of being 19, I had finally given up hope that I would ever have the dreams again. I continued on in my dismal existence, never working up the courage to leave it.
Another year went by, as a thirty year old (so 2 years since that last time I dreamed of being 19), when I woke from my anaesthesia. I was 19 and in the hospital. My boyfriend was sleeping in a chair next to my bed as my doctor gently told me I had just had surgery and I might be “kind of groggy for a while.” I urged my body to fall back asleep to go back to the 38 year old me. I couldn’t deal with this again. I had finally overcome the grieving, which was very similar to the death of a friend. But it’s been a year now and I have never returned to the older version of myself.
As my health slowly improved, my emotional stability improved, as well. I most likely contracted a bacterial infection from the weird un-pasteurised, non-FDA approved, health foods I was eating. Things like growing my own kombucha from starters I had bought from some unknown man in oregon on the internet.
I had to take a semester off of school and I have not returned, in fact, I do not plan on it. I went to therapy everyday for all of August 2012. My boyfriend and I have separated. I told him that our existence, if we continued on the path we were headed, would be terrible. I tried to warn him of the monotony and emptiness, but to him it all seemed crazy. He told me that I was scared, that everyone is afraid of the future to some degree. But “honey, our future is so bright.” We parted ways, and he has been accepted to medical school. Once my health was 100% and I promised my doctors that I wouldn’t venture into the realms of unsanitary foods again, I decided to just leave. I filled my backpacking pack with the bare essentials, and bought a strong pair of hiking boots. I decided to travel until I ran out of money that my parents had given me for law school and my final year of university. I did a little bit of research donated the entirety of my trust fund to charity.
I left on January 1st of 2013. I first went to South America and trekked across Patagonia. I then flew to the South Pacific and put my prep-school sailing team background to good work. I sailed amongst some of the island chains, following the trail of Paul Theroux. (If you need a great read check out The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific by Paul Theroux.) In May, I flew into Greece and there I met a beautiful woman. We fell in love and on August 1st I moved to Paris to be with her. She is a professional athlete and is only home for a few months before she leaves on tour again. At that point I plan to begin my travels again. I have no idea where I shall go from here. I have begun working on my memoir of this experience. The amazing people I have met and the experiences I have had, have spiritually awakened me. Every once and a while, I think to myself, that this must be the dream life. When I lay my head down on the pillow, I often wonder whether I will wake up as a 38 year old. But I refuse to let those thoughts linger for too long. I can’t let myself get caught up in this lack of integrity of my own realities. I must just accept that this life could be lost at any moment, I let that drive me to experience all that this world has to offer me.
I was sitting at a coffee shop in Paris, when I stumbled upon this website and I remembered the thread I had created. Reading back through all of it caused an emotional outpouring that I was unprepared for. I felt like all of you deserved an explanation. I believe now that my dream series was caused by my deteriorating health. I believe subconsciously I knew I was very sick, and I knew I needed to be woken up from my “merry American dream.” I am living the life I could barely even dream of as a child. Although at times, it is very hard, especially for the perfectionist in me, to not know what the next day will hold, I feel like I have lived more in the past year than most people have in their entire lives.
If you ever needed a push to go out and live the life you always dreamed of, then let this be it.
@emmaelizabeth, what you’re describing sounds amazing, Watch Mister Nobody, that film introduces this subject well I believe.
Also I think that what you have experienced is just, and most importantly, an experience, just like any in your life. That this experience is “unusual” does not make it any less a part of all other experiences experienced. Questions that if it is real or not doesn’t seem very important. Life includes many mysterious things ^^
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.
That’s really fascinating! But i won’t like to live two lifes at the same time, it could be confusing and depressing if one life is better than another…
I like the idea of Senam! to going at an unknown place to see if everything is the same… But there could be a contradiction that many years after, this place could change and becomes what it’s like in your older life…
Also, can you check the presidents of your country, if it’s the same or not? How is the economy and society there?
Also you say that this older life is the life you have always DREAM for your future… i’m not saying that it’s a dream for sure but our mind can create very impressive experiences…
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.
@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.
and please dont smoke a lot of pot to erase your memories, lol… as you said, you are starting to be comfortable having both these lives. its amazing how your deja vu related to your other world’s memory. maybe this will all lead to a great something… :)
(now, do i feel like a dream character? thats an interesting thought)
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.
@graschi, Funny I can remember every aspect as clear as if it were really happening. For instance I can read in my dreams. No blurry Newspapers or books everything is clear. Faces of people funny it freaked me out at first. The very first dream was crazy like out of a movie. I woke up in a hospital and was told I was in a coma for the past 3 months. I did not know anyone or where I was or anything I was told I had a high fever form pneumonia that caused my brain to cook and put me into a coma. And that they suspect that I am suffering from brain damage that caused amnesia. Then I met my dream wife Ashley and went through rehab for a few weeks and went home. I told my wife that she was a dream and all of it was a dream. I even stayed down stairs in our house for the first week I was home. Mind you I would wake up in my real life and be like that is so crazy. Now I just accept it. It’s been happening for the past few months every night. I enjoy going to bed now. Sometimes I wake up tired from my dreams. I stopped trying to figure it out.
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.
Emma, this sounds very similar to the TV show ‘Awake’ — you should check out that show if you haven’t already. Still though, the writer of the show must have known someone who experienced that or experienced it himself to come up with a storyline like that. This is very interesting and now I believe in past lives and parallel universes all over again. Hmm.. I wonder if you could talk to a dream expert about this…
You’d probably also like the show ‘Being Erica’ — time travel is involved, she goes back into her past to undo regrets. Anyway. This post really interests me… I guess you’re the only one who can ever know the real reason ‘why’ :)
@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.
I don’t really have much to add except that I find this absolutely fascinating if you’re for real. Also, I don’t believe in coincidences, so however this ends up, I firmly believe this is happening for a reason. I think you should keep alert and look for important signs.
Maybe consider visiting a tarot reader in both worlds. Even if you don’t believe in that sort of thing, this is obviously an abnormal phenomenon you’re experiencing. Might as well try anything you can.
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.
This is fascinating beyond belief! Emma, share with us some of your future experience. What happens in the world? Major events? You remind me of the book Replay, which inspired the film Groundhog Day. In it, the hero dies in 1988 and starts his life again in college at age 18, in 1963, many times. Your situation is a mix of this book and of the TV series Awake just like others have already mentioned, which makes it all the more interesting. Do you feel older now, after having those 17 years of experince under your belt? Does the other life feel unreal once you’ve woken up from it, just like dreams normally do?
@beardlike, Or I just might enjoy living two lives for as long as I can. I have noticed that I have taken on a few of my alter self’s traits. Like drinking tea and being more down to earth instead of so happy go lucky all the time. And my yard and house chores are all done now. In other words I don’t put things off as much as I used to…
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.