Stuck in a dream & recursive dreams

It happens at least once a week, and I suspect even more frequently. I’ll be dreaming and suddenly the situation will start to turn awry. And, even in my dreaming stupor, I realize that I must be dreaming. Sometimes, it’s not even a nightmare. I just realize I’ve gone lucid and I’ve grown bored of the imaginary situation I’ve been taking part in. Whether it’s to escape boredom or sheer terror, I force myself to wake up. So, I’ll wake up, throw my pants on, walk out my bedroom door, and shimmy down the slide to the first floor. “Wait a second, that’s not right. We don’t have a slide instead of stairs”. I’ll crawl back into bed, close my eyes and try again. I’ll repeat the routine, walk through my bedroom door, and float off into a technicolor mist. “Crap, it happened again!” After many attempts, I’ll finally awake, unable to move my muscles for what seems like 10-15 seconds, and sit wide eyed at the computer for the next 45 minutes. After shaking off the after-dream residual terror, I’ll go back to bed for the rest of the night.

As I’m completely lucid during these incidences, I’ve taken to counting the number of iterations I go through. Usually after the first few iterations, I’ll begin deliberately “killing” myself in the dream to startle myself into waking. Usually, I’ll jump headfirst out second story windows. My heart will let out a hammerlike thump and I’ll “awaken” in another iteration. I once counted 18 iterations before I truly awoke.

Because of these incidences, I’ve grown very capable of manipulating my dreams to my will. I can defuse a nightmarish situation with ninja like speed and precision. I can entertain myself seemingly endlessly by getting away with things I could never do in real life. But, it’s so damned annoying. Crazy stuff.

Isn’t it exhausting? I used to dream that I was dreaming but dreamed the alarm woke me up and I was so relieved but then I slip into something else in the dream, rinse, repeat. FINALLY really wake up, exhausted.

Ugh. Those are awful. I’m thankfully able to wake myself up for real when things get to scary (like last night - damn, Grandma!) but sometimes I get stuck in a boring dream, where I’m trapped in some large building, and there’s no one there, and nothing happening, and I can’t wake up. Any experimenting I’ve done with lucid dreaming seems to lead to pretty awful night terrors, so I’m not very good at making things happen.

I guess sometimes my life is exciting enough that I get to have boring dreams.

The o.p. sounds to be stuck in a rejected Charlie Kaufman screenplay. Try looking for a portal behind a filing cabinet, which may dump you out of the synecdoche of your real life and onto the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.


I do that all the time.

Usually, I can wake myself up (for real) with no problem.

One time tho’ I kept waking myself up in my dream. After several attempts, I convinced myself the reason I can’t wake up is because I’m dead.

Surprisingly, even that didn’t rattle my cage too bad. I clearly remember thinking “This ain’t so bad” Then the atheist side of me kept thing “Holy crap! there’s an afterlife!”

Egad, this happens to me all the time. Mine are usually totally realistic (no fire poles or other telltale signs) which makes it harder to extricate myself. Funny, isn’t it, how part of your brain knows you’re dreaming and is actively trying to wake itself yet you keep falling for it. I used to use the numbers on my clock as an indicator of whether or not I was still dreaming (they’re green) but my brain got wise to that and that method no longer works:(

My trick is to realize that I always really know when I’m awake. Lately, though, that thought hasn’t been occurring to me, and I’ll actually feel guilty for what I do in-dream. Before, I’d use the dream as a chance to enjoy the fun parts of what I’d do in dream, without the bad.

I may be being naive, but if I found myself stuck in a dream in which I knew I was dreaming I’d want to stay. In LDs you’re supposed to take advantage. If it’s boring learn to make it more interesting. If it’s scary turn the scary monster into something funny.