The LA Times says that worries about financial security have begun to manifest themselves in dreams. Please consider Recession-related dreams on the upswing

House foundations are crumbling in our dreams. Instead of the proverbial sheep guiding our sleep journey, dangerous thugs lurk in the shadows of our minds, and barriers block escape.

Some people, laid off or fearing job loss, dream they’re suddenly clueless about familiar work tasks or tortured by competitive co-workers who have morphed into monsters.

It’s inevitable, says Deirdre Barrett, a clinical psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School and is the editor of Dreaming, the leading professional journal in the field. “We dream about what concerns us when we’re awake. In bad times, that is likely to be about financial security.”

Recession-related dreams feature cracked foundations and walls in homes, and interlopers moving in. Los Angeles psychiatrist Judith Orloff describes a patient who panicked after her husband — breadwinner for her and their three young children — was laid off in 2009. The couple got far behind in mortgage payments and other bills. The woman dreamed she found strangers living in her house, and she couldn’t get in. “Then the strangers turned into aliens.

Walter Berry, who leads a weekly dream group in West Los Angeles, says he’s seen these leaps occur overnight. A member of the group, a middle-aged secretary who’d been laid off, described a recurring dream in 2009 about former co-workers deriding and torturing her. Her tormenters turned into monsters, and in one dream she asked them, “Why are you here?” They said, “We just want to show you where to go.”

The monsters led her into a long corridor that ended in a desert with beautiful cacti and a nice house for her to live in. She began to think of leaving L.A. for the first time. After greatly expanding her online job search, she landed a job in Phoenix that was better than the one she’d lost. “The dream expanded her horizons,” Berry says.

Despite the lack of hard scientific evidence, dream researchers think dreams could hold a trove of insights for people battered by the economy. Wakeful attention and overnight dreaming “are collaborative and interdependent,” says Rosalind Cartwright, professor emeritus at the Rush University Medical Center’s graduate program in neuroscience.

Recurring Dreams

Please see the article for more dream stories.

My most frequent recurring dream for decades after I graduated from college was that my engineering degree was invalid because I was one credit-hour short.

I had that dream hundreds of times in spite of the fact that at no point ever in either my brief 2-year stint as an engineer or in a lengthy 20-year programming career was I ever in danger of losing my job as a company employee.

I did change careers a second time in the wake of 911 and Y2K after computer consulting jobs dried up.

It’s been a while since I have had that dream, but it does still happen on rare occasions still, even though I cannot recall for certain the last time.

The origin of the dream is most certainly the fact that I was 1 hour short heading into the last semester. An engineering professor offered an extra hour credit for anyone willing to complete an extra-credit assignment. I jumped at it given the alternative was another 3-hour engineering course.

The assignment was a computer project that helped land my first programming job. It also helped that my free elective was not archery, but an advanced programming class.

My first job after graduation was engineering job. I landed that job based on one class: computer methods in civil engineering. However, I lasted all of two years as an engineer.

Ever wake up in the middle of your senior year in college realizing you got your degree in the wrong thing? I did.

I hated engineering all along but when I graduated high school, programming was still in its infancy. Guidance counselors at high school did not know anything about programming other than 2 year associates degrees for data entry. Those good in math and science were herded into engineering.

In 1973, the university of Illinois had one of the largest computers in the world, an IBM 360-75. The cheapest laptop today can beat it.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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