I’ve been doing a lot of Google searches about dreams to find out if anyone else knows what I’m talking about, but I haven’t seen anyone else describe this exact same thing, which makes me wonder if it’s just me, or if it’s one of those things that’s so hard to describe it’s just taken for granted as something that comes with the territory of dreams, which are weird by nature.
I’m talking about the feeling or mood that accompanies dreams, not the strangeness or illogic of the actual actions taking place. In fact, it’s in the more mundane dreams–those that imitate real life or take place in familiar settings or situations–where the feeling is the strongest. It’s almost impossible to describe. Things just feel different–not in a bad or good or scary way–but just different. It’s not that things seem flatter or the colors seem washed out because my dreams have as much color (sometimes more so) in them as my reality and things certainly don’t appear flat or two dimensional. It’s not that fantastical things happen either, because in most of my dreams, nothing much happens at all (if anything weird happens, it’s more likely to be of a slightly absurd or random nature than anything resembling a fantasy novel). It’s not anything you can actually point to in the dream and say, “That’s it, right there!” It’s a vaguely eerie mood or feeling, but it’s not really an emotion. I always think of it as a “parallel universe” effect–things can even be the same as they are in waking reality, but you know it isn’t waking reality because it just doesn’t feel the same. It’s as if my everyday reality were transported to another universe. All my dreams have this same parallel-universeness about them which makes me able to distinguish them from waking reality–most of the time.
Sometimes my brain makes errors though. I’ve been a little obsessed over the past day or two with two or maybe three memories that I can’t figure out were memories of a dream or memories of a real event. Complicating matters is the fact that I occasionally experience dissociation, especially derealization, in which waking reality takes on that same odd feeling dreams have. When that happens there’s nothing much (other than waking up) that distinguishes “dream” from “reality” and that makes me feel a bit insane sometimes.