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Dreams and hallucinations

The other day I was talking to some co-workers about dreams (there was an article about the psychology of dreams in the New York Times which was an inspiration for this conversation). The article basically says that interpreting dreams in psychotherapy doesn’t help patients get over nightmares, but talking through the dream and creating an alternate ending and changing the dream from scary into something else is successful at helping people stop having horrible nightmares. My co-worker wondered if that technique would work for stress dreams. I commented that I have always done this technique. I remember waking up from nightmares about fires (or something equally scary) and it was past the time when I could run to my parents room. And sometimes part of the nightmare was something that threatened me if I left the comfort of my bed (maybe giant spiders on the floor?). I would lay in bed and go over the dream and change it to make it less scary, maybe add another section past when I woke up that resolved the scare into a happier ending. My other two co-workers said  “You clearly have a strong mind. No wonder you ran 67 miles!” Thanks? I never thought the ability to not have nightmares would be connected to the fact that I have the perseverance to run for long distances. And I never thought of this dream-technique as something other people didn’t know how to do.

And related to my dreams: hallucinations when tired. Many people have hallucinations in 100-miles races. One race report I read reminded me that I need to consider this aspect when I do a 100-miler. I have had multiple experiences when I am half asleep basically hallucinate something I do or something going on around me. This morning I hallucinated/dreamed that I had an alarm set for 6:45am when my alarm went of at 6:30 and I didn’t fully wake up, and thus slept in until 7:30. I have imagined multiple times that people are having conversations around me as I drift off when they are silent. I have hallucinated/dreamed that I am studying when I am in fact drooling on my textbook. It’s kinda fun, especially if I wake up from a good dream and I can stay in a dream-like state and keep the script rolling for a bit. But I think if I get in this state on the trail it could be really dangerous. I imagine I take the right turn, but actually continued straight… I imagine I’ve been eating but I haven’t… I don’t think I’ve ever had any hallucination/dreams while standing up, only when sitting or laying down, but it’s just something to remember. Maybe look forward to?

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