07 May, 2019

A Dream Sickness

[Edit (one week later): This was written while under a heavy fever and doesn't truly represent my normal experiences of lucid dreaming.]

I've been an oneironaut for as long as I can remember. At seven years of age, I learned to use tells that would let me know if I could affect this dream, rather than others. At first it was only occasional. Now, 30 years later, I enter a state of lucid dreaming nearly every night, sometimes doing so multiple times each day.

It has pretty significant drawbacks. I never truly appreciate cultural media, because it immediately gets compared to what I dream that night. I never have a desire to optimize for less sleep, as I consider it part of my entertainment time, which means I don't get as much done each day as I otherwise might would. And if I'm in bed anyway, sometimes I'll opt to dream rather than actually start my day. In short: it makes me lazier and more unappreciative of the things I experience in waking reality.

Yet it's not quite a curse. I enjoy my dreams. Most, by far, are pleasant. It gives me an outlet for creativity. It also means I never truly get homesick.

But I'm not bringing up my lucid dreaming today just to wax on -- instead I wanted to point out that lucid dreaming does not interact well with being very sick, and from April 29 through May 7 (so far), I have been (what I consider) extraordinarily ill continuously. I have not exactly been bedridden, but at least restricted to either the bed or the couch for anything longer than bathroom breaks. I've had extreme chills, treated incorrectly with heating pads, and the strongest headache I've ever experienced, but which I would not term 'migraine', due to my ability to communicate somewhat during them. I've looked up combinations of medications that may help, realizing several days in that I was doing it wrong at first. I've experienced the most utter exhaustion, feeling as though it started in my very bones. I've seen the alarm say that it's time to take another dose, and the bottle lies less than a foot before me, on the couchside-table, and yet it takes me ten minutes to actually reach for the bottle.

The sickness sucks. But possibly worse is the way I will constantly lucid dream without desiring and, indeed, with me actively trying to suppress it. Some of these are similar to hallucinations, except they are happening while my eyes are shut and I'm lying down; these are not occurring during the wakeful state. I have to double-, then triple-check anything important. If I am moving needed objects from one place to another, I can't just trust that they are moved. And worse: if a conversation happened, it may not have really happened. It would be utter chaos, except I can almost always tell at the time whether I'm in a dream, but later, when I'm trying to remember what I did the previous day, it's difficult to decide whether this or that conversation happened in a dream or in a wakeful state.

I've never done any recreational drugs. I wonder if this is anything like some of those experiences.