Other anxiety dreams

line pleaseIn my last post, I relayed my newest anxiety dream involving an event I struggle with almost every day – getting my kids on the school bus. It made me realize that all the anxiety dreams I have run along the same lines:

  • I am drastically underprepared for the task at hand, but…
  • Despite almost insurmountable odds, I’m convinced that I have just enough time to overcome the situation and no one will know the difference.

Maybe this indicates a deep-down level of confidence? Or am I just delusional?Looking for a little insight, I decided to do some research to see what I could find out about these dreams and what I learned is…I feel unprepared for something in my life. Oh. I was hoping for something a little less obvious.

I did learn, however, that my dreams run along incredibly common themes. Nothing unique here, although I do have a couple of variations:

Late for a trip

I realize suddenly that I am nearly late for a plane that is transporting me to a business trip/vacation/important event. I have not yet missed the plane. Rather, I can still make it if I kick it into high gear. The remainder of the dream is me rushing around like a maniac trying to stuff items in a suitcase, clock ticking, convinced I will still make the plane.

Late for a trip, airport security version

I arrive at the airport in a rush to catch a plane. As I hurry through security I am waved out of line and taken to a table where they open my bag and systematically empty all my possessions out in front of everyone. Items spill everywhere. Underwear, cosmetics, weird things I don’t know why I packed. I’m going to make the plane, but not without some inconvenience and embarrassment. (As I recount this one, I’m getting the uncomfortable feeling that this really happened and I’ve just convinced myself it was a dream.)

Taking an exam

I am on my way to a final exam when I realize that not only have I not studied for the test, I can’t remember the last time I was at the class and I haven’t read the textbook. Convinced I have just enough time to cram for the exam I pull out a text that’s about 800 pages long – it’s always a biology textbook – and start reading.

The exam, I must be getting older version

Similar to the dream above, only in this case I’m the professor about to give an exam, and as I’m en route I realize I haven’t written it yet. The remainder of the dream is me trying to figure out how I can produce an exam out of thin air in virtually no time at all. Perhaps I can repurpose an old exam?

In a play

This one is always the same with the one exception that sometimes I am the star of the play and other times I am an understudy who has just been told I will be going on for the star in a few moments. In both cases, I suddenly realize I do not know the lines. As the curtain rises, I stand backstage trying to memorize them, convinced that somehow I will bluff my way through it. I couldn’t find any reference to this when I cruised common dream themes, but it clearly seems right up the same alley as the others – I am woefully unprepared, but I can probably fake it.

My research did tell me that there are common recurring dreams I don’t experience – thank goodness – that involve:

  • Public nudity
  • Being chased
  • Snakes
  • Tornadoes
  • …and, I think the worst one, being unable to find a toilet

But it’s clear to me that my dreams reflect the way I am living my life right now – always one step ahead of disaster. A disorganized, barely competent person masquerading as an organized competent person. Now everyone knows. (If you didn’t already.)

What are your recurring dreams? Do you know, when you wake up, what’s causing the dream?

10 thoughts on “Other anxiety dreams

  1. I’m tryin to remember a recurrin dream but the only one that stuck with me was of me walking down the road somewhere in my hometown and with each step, the road behind me goes up, like a wall behind me. I’ve had that dream so many times during highschool. Just weird.


    1. That’s interesting…I don’t remember seeing anything like that in the “most frequent dream” list. Any idea what it meant? I had different recurring dreams as a younger person, including another common one where my teeth were falling out.


  2. I have in my hands all eight hundred pages of my research paper, but they’re not typed. Or the bathroom is occupied, or I can’t find it, or it’s in such a weird configuration I can’t figure out how it will be possible to use. Our subconscious minds are fascinating, aren’t they? Thanks, Sarah, for your honesty and heart.


    1. The research paper is a new angle – whew, I’m glad I’ve not had that one. The bathroom dream is another one that is supposedly common, but I can’t recall having that one. Thanks for reading!


  3. Ooh !! I have one. I’m just about to go on stage for opening night (opera, my former life) and I realize as the curtain is about to go up, that I don’t remember what I am supposed to sing. Oh the panic. My dream slows down and I am terrified. Then the curtain slowly goes up and I wake up. In a cold sweat!


  4. I don’t have a lot of recurring dreams that I remember, but now I’ll have to start noticing. It’s not that I live my life any more steps ahead of disaster than anyone else (usually, a great deal fewer) but apparently that doesn’t worry me as much as it does you?


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