April 11, 2014
English 201 – McLaughlin
You are standing on the ledge of the tallest building in the city. You can see the
clouds and all of the city lights surrounding you. Suddenly, someone from behind you
pushes you off the ledge and you feel yourself falling through the brisk air faster and
faster until abruptly you wake up in your own bed. Your heart is pounding and you can
feel the sweat dripping down your cold, chilled skin. You calm yourself down and realize
that it was all just a dream. You ask yourself, was that normal? Do other people have
these scary dreams where you feel like you cannot control what is going to happen?
These dreams occur quite often actually and they happen simply because of outside
stressors in one’s life. Stress in one’s life directly correlates with these bizarre dreams,
also known as anxiety dreams.
When talking about the dreaming process as a whole, there are two specific
men that people usually think of: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Both of these men were
psychoanalysts that made huge discoveries by studying the unconscious mind and what
occurs during sleep. Freud defined the unconscious mind as repressed thoughts, feelings,
and memories. To Freud, the unconscious was the place that people held their socially
unacceptable ideas. However, sometimes the ideas held within the unconscious can slip
Vasisko out, also known as a Freudian slip or a tongue slip (Freud). Carl Jung worked off of
Freud’s ideas. However, he divided the unconscious mind into the personal unconscious
and the collective unconscious (Dream Moods). The personal unconscious contains all of
the ideas and thoughts that are forgotten or suppressed (Dream Moods). The collective
unconscious is a deeper level of the unconscious that holds “physic structures” and
“archetypal experiences” (Dream Moods). These men were both very intelligent and
worked off of each other’s ideas to create their own individual theories. They made a
huge impact on the world because at this point, no one had really discovered what the
root of dreaming was, or what it could potentially mean.
In the late 19 century, Sigmund Freud was aiming to be a neurophysiologist,
but was unable to afford it. He instead opened up his own private practice and chose to
teach himself (Freud). Following the success of his career, he wrote a book entitled
Interpretations of Dreams. Although most of Freud’s theories were revolved around sex,
he did believe that human desire was closely linked to dreams (Freud). He theorized that
in order for humans to process traumatic events in life, one must have dreams to serve as
a blockage of thinking about these disturbances, which would otherwise disrupt sleep.
Things like unconscious desires and taboo thoughts would create stress and anxiety, so
dreams are used to recover from these stresses and ultimately letting it all out, like a way
of facing these events that occur in one’s life (Freud).
Freud suggested dreams were split into two sections; manifest content and
latent content. Manifest content is the actual images in ones dream. It’s also the material
that people can consciously remember what they dreamed about once they’ve awoken.
Latent content is composed of our distressing thoughts, which we do not recognize
[Type text] [Type text] [Type text] immediately (Freud). Both of these combined will help someone understand what they
are dreaming about and in hope to help understand exactly “why” they are dreaming
about a certain topic.
When looking specifically at the anxietydream, much can be interpreted from
it. Freud believed that anxiety dreams don’t necessarily propose problems in dreaming,
but propose problems in understanding “neurotic anxiety” in general (Freud Chpt. 4). In
order to understand an anxiety dream, one has to understand the basis of the anxiety and
where it might be coming from. In saying this, the anxiety can by explained by the dream
content. Once a person looks at the dream content, it will be easier to understand why the
anxietydream is apparent. Freud states that, “the anxiety is only fastened on to the idea
which accompanies it, and is derived from another source” (Freud Chpt. 4). This
statement explains that the anxietydreams that occur are attached to ideas and are not
just random, bizarre thoughts. This proves the idea that stress in one’s life is ultimately
effecting the person and their dreaming.
Carl Jung was a Swiss scholar in the 19 century. He initially studied medicine
in college, but being influenced by Sigmund Freud’s studies, changed his paths. After
having a spiritual revelation during college, he became interested in psychiatry. By
combining psychiatrics, Buddhism, Hinduism, and philosophy, Jung composed a book
about his ideas called The Red Book (Dream Moods). While working at a psychiatric
hospital, Jung sent a book copy of his studies to Freud, in hopes of mentorship. They
eventually met and from that connection built a friendship that would benefit each other
greatly. Freud’s intricate dream theories started to ware off onto Jung, but he did create
his own theories and they eventually split up (Dream Moods). He believed that dreams
Vasisko served as a spiritual guide. They provided answers to the problems in our lives. Stressors
in one’s life would be brought up into one’s dreams to help them understand why this
stressor is in their life. Like many other people, Jung did not agree with Freud’s strong
link between dreams and people’s unconscious sexual desires. He believed that dreams
focus on people’s relationships with themselves, and how they see themselves (Dream
Moods). Jung did separate this concept of interpretation into two parts, the conscious and
the unconscious mind. Jung believed that by balancing the conscious and the
unconscious, the meaning of dreams can be discovered. This is referred to as the process
of amplification (Dream Moods). In saying this, Freud believed that the unconscious
drives the meaning of the dream. Jung made a lot of great contributions and discoveries
within the interpretation of dreaming world.
There is so much happening on a daily basis in a person’s life that these
intricate dreams are bound to happen. Stress indeed affects one’s dreaming in multiple
ways. On a daytoday basis, so much is occurring within the mind of the common person
from everything going on around them. One’s brain is constantly receiving stimuli and
sending off impulses to respond to events and situations. A person is always assessing
these situations and thinking about many different things that go along with them whether
they notice themselves doing it or not. The level of stress does have an affect on the
dreaming as well. Whether it’s relationships, school, jobs, or any other significant factor
in one’s life, there is almost always some type of stress placed on an individual.
When we feel unprepared or powerless, we become stressed and have a sense of
anxiety. This feeling carries over into our unconscious, and a dream is then formed. A
common example of feeling unprepared or powerless would be, running to catch a flight,
[Type text] [Type text] [Type text] or being unable to find something. These events are referred to as an anxiety dream, and
it occurs during the last third of your sleep cycle, also known as REM sleep (Rheenen).
Some of the top reasons for anxiety dreams