Surreal?

Wondering if any others on here have felt like this.
At night i dream,not always and not all my dreams are positive experiences,but some dreams i have feel more real and i feel more alive than daily reality.I’m confident,smile ,laugh ,very clear thinking,it’s like i’m really living life to the full,i must add my husband is not always in my dreams,yet the feeling of realness as if i’m fully there is still present.
Through the day,i feel surreal,it’s been 10 months and that unreality still hasn’t changed,lifted or moved away.So i know the sadness is forever,is the surrealness forever too.?There probably is no real answer to that.Strange how loss of a loved one changes the reality and meaning of our lives.I still as many of you have, other loving family members around me,but the unreality of it all is there,did my husband create my realness by his presence in my life?Without him am i less real?Any thoughts on this anyone xx

Over the course of my life I’ve spent a great deal of time studying and then just reading and thinking about how the mind works. I’ve read books about interpretation of dreams and the workings of the unconscious mind. I’ve never woken after dreaming and thought that deeply about what I can remember. I’ve been frustrated at not knowing how a dream turned out.
I believe that the mind is all powerful in how it monitors and regulates our very being. We accumulate sounds, images, percepts in a constant stream and when we sleep our brain (mind) sorts out all the clutter. I’ve generally assumed that people that are deep thinkers, daydreamer, creative, open minded, receptive to ideas and suggestions will have a busy mind and will have more lurid dreams but I’ve nothing much to back that up. I’m really interested in the subject of perception and how that works and whether that can be tied to how the unconscious mind sorts and stores information. After early scepticism I now think hypnosis can have an important role in understanding these processes, certainly at an individual level.
Your reality is just that, it’s unique and it’s almost certainly framed by relationships and virtually everything you know and believe in.
I’m trying to get my head round what you mean by surreal. Do you think you have heightened senses? Are you reframing those things that you held to be true or normal. I don’t particularly want to suggest words or ideas but it sounds interesting.

Hello Robina and YB1950. I’ve been reading and re-reading your posts with interest. I haven’t done much research on the working of the mind and so don’t have the depth of knowledge that you have. I’ve always believed that dreams are the work of your subconscious ( or is it unconscious) mind and is your brain’s way of “deep processing” events, thoughts,images etc. So Robina is it that your dreams of the old you are your mind and body fighting back for the real/new you to re-emerge? Maybe that’s too simplistic? Lately my dreams are of me now being the grieving widow - previous to this I was the old me with my healthy husband in the frame. Is this my mind bedding in the reality of my situation after 20 weeks of being without my husband? I hope it is as it maybe means a chink in the armour of acceptance? Cx

The distinction between subconscious mind and unconscious mind is quite interesting and I think it depends who you read and when you read it. I worked in the field of psychology until 2002 after having studied it. I haven’t worked since but am sufficiently interested to keep abreast of developments in my area, which was learning and change management.
Going back to Freud he identified the subconscious mind but then over time lumped it all together as the unconscious mind. My view is there is a distinction between subconscious and unconscious and an example I would use is subliminal learning and the role of perception. I’m taking subliminal as being different to incidental. I couldn’t tell you exactly how it occurs but it takes place at a ’ deeper’ level than targeted learning. There have been many experiments measuring brain impulses during sleep but it’s much more difficult, I understand, to split them out in wakefulness. I think a neurologist might have different theories on this.
An area that I found very rewarding and interesting was Neuro Linguistic Programming. I tell people I became hooked on NLP when I bought a book called Frogs into Princes by Bandler and Grinder and my reason was that as frog I had married a princess and I thought I needed to be transformed. It deals with the potential for reframing and tapping into the subconscious mind.
I think you got the unconscious mind bit near enough correct. There have been experiments to enable people to learn when asleep and I’m not sure if they were targeted on unconscious mind at the exclusion of the subconscious mind.
A lot of this was very New Age and fit any with many populist beliefs of that era.
Another interesting book is Freedom to Learn but can’t remember author. It was around personal centred learning.
Much of it would probably get laughed at now in current educational theory and practice.

Thank you for your response, i’ve now read it a few times and I think I get it!! It is all very confusing really but what I do feel is that in order to accept my great loss I need my subconscious thinking to marry with my conscious thinking. It’s this struggle between the two that is, I feel, causing fear and a sense of confusion and anxiety. Being pragmatic and a logical thinking I don’t like all this “woolliness” - there is a sense of the fog in my mind at the early days of loss moving to mist to haze - it’s now candy floss!
I’ll have a wee browse for the books you mention. I’m getting a lot from dipping in and out of bereavement texts. It’s very hard when all my friends are still with their partners and I have no one my age around me who really understands the trauma of losing their loved one too soon and too harshly.
Take care and stay strong - your posts are inspiring and radiate warmth and compassion.

Thank you for your kind words.
I’m not sure you would be able to manipulate your subconscious mind as such. Had I known much about clinical psychology I could probably tell you more but that’s well outside my areas of knowledge. I deliberately didn’t mention hypnotherapy as I don’t know enough about it but I’ve read about how it may be used to retrieve information relevant to trauma. I’m not sure to what extent it is manipulative but you could probably read up about it in general terms and it’s sphere of operation. It’s a very specialist area.

1 Like

Hi Thank you Cristal and YorkshireLad
You have both given me ‘food for thought’
Two things stood out to me,Cristal you said,"is it that your dreams of the old you,are your mind fighting back for the real,New you to re-emerge?and YorkshireLad,you said,Am I reframing those things that I held to be true and normal?
These both resonate with my feelings of surrealness
My dreams will hold the answers in the long term.I read the subconscious remembers everything,it,s up to me to. make sense of the information.Grief certainly has many faces,and is one hell of a learning process,and the toughest one any of us will face.I will take a look at some of the books mentioned x

1 Like

I think the big problem will be how do you make sense of that, and much more importantly, how to you extract the necessary files from the filing cabinet of the sub conscious mind. I don’t think it would be difficult to search the Internet for some possibilities but I hope you will excuse me if a don’t mention them here. You would probably need a little help with ‘supervision’ as well.
Reframing might offer some possibilities but you may need help with that. It’s a specific technique and, again, if you look it up in conjunction with NLP it might interest you enough to read more. I think the books I mentioned are out of print and are very expensive on Amazon. There are other books on the subject and other aspects of transformation but I’m only talking about it at an academic level. I’m not advocating it’s use. Not even for ageing hippies like me.

Yes i think it may lie with changing my perceptions and alternative thinking,and the subconscious mind i know is habitual,but it says can be changed by repetition.My meditation helps somewhat to calming thoughts,if i just sit in meditation all day,my mind would have a good rest.
I will keep figuring it all out,my mind is the key for me to grow through grief.I,m of the nature of trying to make sense of situations,i can accept things but always like to delve deeper and improve the place my mind’s in.Strengthening my mind is the key for me to find my way forward.
Lots of things help,creativity,walking,nature ,improving wellbeing,all round,they’re all good,but whats that saying “i think therefore i am”
Yes i will transform myself in a healthy natural way x

Yes. You are right. Your mind is the key in all this, and all of everything else. Change, transformation, or whatever else we call it begins with you. If you can convince your mind you want to change then who knows what you can achieve. Maybe a hint of realistic targets, step by step. You know all this. You always did.
You will almost certainly know when the time is right. Do you have an image as to what the new you will be. Have you read the article on Post Traumatic Growth on the What is Grief website. If not I would suggest you have a look.
Just read this back…I think it sounds a bit clichéd.

Yes i like the What is Grief website,it’s informative,i haven’t read that article,will do.I did read a book late last night The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra it gives a profound message throughout the book on how to think the easy way,little effort is needed,sort of less is more,and i found it really helpful.
I cannot say i have an image of the new me ,just a simmering knowing there has to be some sort of productive change to my thoughts.Hopefully the rest will follow,But oh if life was that simple,but then maybe it is meant to be simpler,maybe we make it complicated!No it doesn’t sound cliched,i’m always interested in your posts,thanks again x

Hi Robina, I think you are right. We do make life more complicated. I think what we also do is we take life for granted and fail to remember that life is by its very nature full of twists, turns, bumps and bruises. It’s not often fair and life is difficult to predict. I also believe that to fully experience the highs and lows of life we must live fully and embrace all that comes to us. Not always easy but then we can say we are living our life, not merely letting it pass us by. We owe that to those who have gone to soon. Oh a bit heavy for a Thurs morning! Cx

Hello Cristal
I agree Cristal life just happens to us,we never really did have much control.I’m 56 yrs now and this last 10 months has sort of woken me up to understand,the stability and security i always thought i had sussed,was actually never really there at all,life has been uncertain from day one.
Like you say embrace all that comes to us,an acceptance of it all.
You mentioned fear and anxiety in an earlier post,i read it all comes down to one thing,“the fear that you won’t be able to handle whatever life brings you!”
We are all here on this site,learning to handle our grief,so we are in the midst of it,although we find our own way of approaching it,the site is like a toolkit to grief,or maybe i mean toolbox.
Not too heavy at all Cristal,i love to throw ideas and thoughts around ,it’s the way i learn and keeps my mind ticking.
I wish you an uncomplicated day xx

So far so good! Thank you , take care X

Back to top