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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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.
As others have said, this is very interesting and unusual. Also, whether or not “enjoying” both realities is good for you, as one of them might break down, it is probably still good that you are taking it calmly and accepting it, as this situation could easily drive I person insane… I doubt I would handle it so well myself, for example.
Anyway, I have an interesting idea that might be worth trying out. Say, you go to a known city/place that you have never been to before in both realities (if that is possible in your current circumstances), and see if things look alike, and maybe find a specific detail to look for. That way you could compare them, but I don’t think it would necessarily break down one of the realities. If only one reality is real, and you go there in that reality first the dream may mimic what you remember, so it could be smart to try both ways. So first going somewhere in the city as your 36 year old self and then your 19 year old, and then the other way around. Or do two completely different cities/places in different orders.
I know that got a bit messy, but I hope you get my point. Anyway, just an idea.
@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.
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)
@emmaelizabeth, If I were you I’d keep track of everything and try to notice the differences in each world, technology for example. In the long run it’s probably not a smart move to get attached to having two lives and not knowing which one is real, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore it. It sounds awesome, you could probably write a book about it.
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.
@emmaelizabeth, that same thing has been happening to me from the past 4 years now… and it has been more than just one life… It’s fascinating, sure! But from my personal experience, it can be confusing as hell. I could suggest you to make “anchors” to separate different lifes… those anchors can be any object that reminds you the most important things in the life you are living currently.
As to the question… “What is real?”, from what I understood from life itself, everything you can feel, sense, believe or think, just IS… despite all the philosophical mumbo-jumbo… AND just because it IS, makes it real to you… And that’s the important thing!
That is really fucking cool! The closest thing that has ever happened to me like that is “waking up” in a second dream, getting ready for the day, then actually waking up. Fucking sucks to do boring shit twice.
@generaltitsvonchodehoffen, Sure but thank God it’s not turning into a dream with in a dream with in a dream type of thing that would be freaky as hell. I have had some freaky stuff happen real creepy stuff! I asked my dream wife where we live and so when I woke up I goggled it and this is what came up, the location of a nursing home that was called Courville<— My last name is Courville and I did not enter that into the search part of the Google. I took a screen shot of it. Also I work taken care of elderly people for the state of Idaho and have never stepped foot out of Idaho my whole life!
@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.
@graschi, For real it’s crazy everything about it. Think about it your brain tells you what is real and what is not. Pain is what your brain tells you it is same with taste. Everything in my every day dream is nothing strange it’s just life stuff. I don’t talk to my wife about it because it makes her feel like I am crazy. Funny how the mind works. My other life is very normal I work in insureance and live in Man chester. My wife in my dream worlds name is Ashly she’s nice.