Dream vs Memory?


How do you know when a dream is just a dream or is in fact a memory? Or rather a partial memory? I know I blocked out a lot but can you get those things back through dreams? Or am I just making up stuff for shits and giggles? Does it have to be the whole dream makes logical sense for it to be a memory or can it just be partially a memory and partially gaps being filled by imagination?


i disregard dreams because dreams are pretty much brain soup. some of that soup may be legitamete. because we often dream of memories.

but unless there is a physicel whay of seperating all of this-a way to know for certain what happened. evidence. that type of thing. i do not have the energy to deal with that. the things i do remember are bad enough.

but for you that you blocked out so much and now you are having recurring dreams of things-

if i were you i may consider that legitamate as well. i would look more into this and detail them out and discuss it with a therepist. and try to look for clues in my real life.

some of it may be nonsense. but some of it may be on target, as well. that is just how our brains work.


I’d say as dreams are implicated in the forming of memories, it’s not that surprising some are quite difficult to tell apart. I’d say if something is reoccuring in the same way over and over, it’s likely to be very uptight with an actual memory, but perhaps not the memory itself (here I’m assuming you’re having dreams that look like some event you think might have happened in the past). Dreams generally work with successive displacements of things.

I don’t think I tend to dream of memories that much. More terrible flash forwards of stuff that will happen in the future or in the now. These ones are terrorizing. But for the rest I tend to have dreams very distinct from reality in a sort of fantasy world where my brain tells me to look at things and pay attention. And actually this has been a construction since I’ve found out I was able of lucid dreaming, which basically can be induced by remaining on the edge of being asleep and waking up. In certain cases it’s even possible to control your dream (but too much control becomes more like thinking and then you wake up). It also helped me a lot to get the f*ck out of a nightmare when it started to mix a flashback with a flash forward. It doesn’t always work but it did lessen a lot of these.

Since I’ve been doing that… It happens sometimes that I ask my dreams, okay, what is this? And other dreams will come with a new charade, but less unclear. Over time I have a strange way of having important, long dreams with loads of details that really tell a lot of things about what I’m feeling and what are the grudges of my past. But it really took a time of me purposefully requiring my brain/mind to answer a precise question. So I’ll have it in mind while falling asleep and I’m more likely to have a dream that touches it. Also writing them down in a journal, make drawings of stuff you saw in it, trying to render the atmosphere of them as precisely and extensively as you can, it helps you developing a memory of the dreams themselves and it gives them a structure, I find. A way of dialoguing with yourself instead of wondering if it’s true or made up. It’s in between. I’d say it’s a sort of language that tells you what’s in your mind, and it takes a bit of time to speak it.

Speaking of that it’s something I might start doing again.


Does it have to be the whole dream makes logical sense for it to be a memory or can it just be partially a memory and partially gaps being filled by imagination?
From what I've read, this is unlikely.

Dreams are generally the clearing-house for thoughts/feelings/experiences you are consciously aware of. You may not be focusing much on them, but they are with you in your waking life, resonating off of other things, sometimes running in the background, or sometimes front and center. Things in dreams can associate off of each other in ways that are surprising to you, but not completely unknown to you (if that makes sense).

'Buried' memory is more likely to surface when you are in a conscious waking state and present to your environment. It's more likely to be prompted by something sensory - smell, taste, sound, touch, sight. External input, not the deliberate act of trying to remember.

The tricky part is - if you are wondering about your dreams during your waking hours? The wondering, and the things you are wondering about will - in fact - likely show up in your dreams. A little bit like the old brain-teaser, "don't think about pink elephants".

Recovered memory is dicey concept. Humans are capable of 'remembering' things we've never experienced - which makes it pretty easy to induce or create false memory.

It's fascinating stuff (even before you get into the deja vu phenomenon, and other ways our brains can trick us)...I'm absolutely not saying that you don't have memories that you've buried; simply that, they are extremely unlikely to emerge from dreams, but you could easily come to believe that your dreams are showing you memories - so, IMO, better to not spend a lot of time on it.

'Recovered' memory also isn't unique to traumatic experience, and I don't believe there's any science supporting the idea that traumatic memories are any different from other things that people forget. They are created differently - but stored the same as other forgotten (i.e. subconscious) things. If you've ever smelled something that you haven't smelled for awhile, and it immediately conjures up a set of associations - that's a 'recovered' memory.

I know I'm dropping a lot of info without providing citations....I should be able to share some links to this stuff later. Or, happy to be told that I'm wrong (it's been a few years since I was really deep into this stuff)


- Too much nightmare fuel / Blend of fiction and reality.
Are there repeating elements in your dream? If there is there may be something worth exploring. When I sorted out my nightmare (hopefully), it took a different point of view to say the stuff my brain made up that held my attention was window dressing. It was what was happening to me that was the key. Ends up that my trauma and nightmare had elements that were exactly precisely the same.

Apart from that dreams are usually your brain solving the days problems and are as @grief said, brain soup.

Dreams I don't remember. I haven't been able to recall any dreams in a very long time. I know I have them, I just can't remember what they were after I get out of bed.