Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My recurring dreams about packing

So for the last year or year-and-a-half, I've had this dream about packing. You know, like packing boxes, or packing a suitcase. Usually, though, I'm packing boxes.

I am never packing the same things, nor am I in the same place when packing, and I am never usually packing to go to the same place. The climax and the anxiety provoking part of the dream comes when I either:

a) run out of time and cannot possibly finish packing all my things (there are far too many things to pack),
b) run out of boxes to pack my many belongings into,
c) realize that I don't have the help that I need to pack everything up in time.

So it seems, in every dream with this packing theme, that if I only had more time, boxes, or help, I would be able to get everything packed to go.

Where do these insurmountable packing projects take place?
Often in one room of a house (a different one each time), or in an office (never the same one).

And where am I going?
I never really know that. That doesn't seem to be the point. The point is that wherever I'm going, I won't be able to take all the things I want to take with me. The dream always ends in the panic of the realization that I'm not meeting the "deadline" and feel lost about how to resolve the angst of not being prepared.

About 6 months ago, I asked my therapist for her take on the dream. She and I had been doing some dream analysis about a year back and she's really quite in tune with the symbolism behind dreams. She made some good observations. I had been going through a transition. Leaving one life (environment) behind and transitioning to a new path (environment). I suppose she though I was having some reservations about that, hence the anxiety.

Yah, that was partly true, but now I feel pretty confident about where I have been and where I'm going. And yet the dreams happen about 3 times per month, easily.

Today I finally decided to google this, because I'm curious (and because I don't have the luxury of asking my therapist again since she's on mat leave).

So here's what I found. Several interpretations:

This dream, as all dreams, could have several different meanings. If you are packing your stuff and storing it or packing to move, you may be concerned about significant changes that are going on in your life. Otherwise, your unconscious may be organizing and letting go of emotional "baggage." Some other interpretations say that dreaming about packing is simply a hint from your unconscious that you are involved in too many activities and may need to pack some of them up and put them away.

So maybe I need to still drop a bit of baggage yet? Hmmm...maybe?!

This is a typical PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) dream and that the progress made in the dreams reflects the progress made in healing.

I don't have PTSD, though, so.....

Because your dream theme is recurring, it could be that your unconscious is trying to get a message through but you haven't really taken it on board yet. It's using a symbol from your waking life - the packing and unpacking - to represent something going on for you at a deep, inner and as yet unconscious level.

Perhaps (the mostly likely of the 3 explanations I think).

Any thoughts or ideas?


  1. I have similar dreams, but usually I'm packing for a trip and/or getting dressed and time is up and I'm not ready to go yet. It's so funny when I'm trying to get panty hose on and they won't come up or get stuck in the ankles! In 'real life' I'm a real clock watcher, so I think it has to do with my obsession with being late. These dreams are filled with panic and anxiety.

    Another recurring dream is about New York City--usually walking around and enjoying the architecture, although sometimes I get lost and can't find a loved one in the hustle and the bustle.

    I don't think I've helped you much, but thank you for getting me thinking about my own subconscious mind.

  2. hey lyn,
    funny, i was once a real clock watcher but that has changed for me. if you ever figure out either the packing or NYC dream, let me know!