Afternoon Bazzers! We’re back with yet another sleepy blog, where we have learned yet more about the odd world of sleep: an activity, a true verb, that looks from the outside restful and peaceful, but we are about to shatter that impression with our booklearnin and smarts. Well, we try to with the help and guidance of resident brainbox PJ. As we inch closer to our dreamplay becoming a reality we’re more morbidly interested in the phenomena of sleeping than ever, ‘bad sleep’ if you will, so without further ado let’s dive headfirst into anxiety and dreams –see you on the other side...
We here at Baz have a bit of a downer on Freud, frankly we think the guy had issues: a touch of Narcissism and prone to fantasy episodes but that’s just laywomen’s opinions – and remind us to never use the term ‘laywomen’ again – but we do appreciate some of the ideas he put forward: most specifically those dealing with anxiety. His theory that society is a major player in the formation of anxiety is something that certainly feels true today: phones, likes, magazines, money, politics. But Freud being Freud he put it into two neat categories: that of Automatic Anxiety and Signal Anxiety – so the choice is: being afraid of being afraid of something happening to you in the moment and it being terrible, or being afraid of feeling something bad is happening anyway and all that bad stuff is just going to, you know, be really bad.
Good times, are we right, guys?
Freud theorises that these daily worries slip into our unconscious so that at night, an anxiety dream (or a ‘failed dream’) as he called it, is you trying to exorcise the anxiety by sort of living it. We know, super useful; and not traumatic at at all. But that REM state you get into when you’re about 90 minutes into the night will probably bring lovely dreams of being mugged or stuck or that moment of hearing your keys in your bag but not able to find them for an abnormally long time…or is that just us?
Anyway, Automatic Anxiety: what is it? Well, dreams that imagine a scenario when you are ambushed and are helpless to the physical or emotional consequences of it – recreating a traumatic experience – and this is where beardy Freud-y loses us a bit here. He then confidently asserts this is a reflex left over from the experience of both before and during our own births, earning it the name of ‘primary anxiety’. And hey, you don’t get more primary than that.
Signal Anxiety, on the other hand, is the sensation of being aware that something bad is going to happen, causing the emotional and physical consequences of a Bad Thing , and that in itself being just as scary as actually experiencing it, so good news – you’re not only going to get stuck on the rollercoaster upside down but you’re going to feel like you were going to before you stepped on it. The body goes into a state of constant preparation, aware that any second you might have to spring into action to avoid the unavoidable fate your dream has cooked up for you. This Freud coined as ‘Neurotic Anxiety’ and we mean….you weren’t kidding, Sigmund.
So how do we get ourselves out of this Primary/Neurotic state unscathed? Well it’s not that easy, really. Freud’s theories of defence mechanisms don’t offer much hope, throwing around words like, Repression, Regression, Projection, Denial…the future could be looking pretty dark, if it weren’t for Sublimation and Rationalisation. Rationality, kids, is your friend and when you employ it to your anxiety dreams through realisation of Freud’s patented ‘Talking Cure’ ™ you can go back to common or garden 'just going back to check I locked the front door' maybe twice, tops. But more Baz in style is Sublimation, where you take that negative energy and instead of wiping it clean away, you mould it into something else that could work for you. Probably Van Gough had anxiety, certainly depression and other tendencies but his art is beautiful and calm. He sublimated like no-ones business, and discounting the ear incident that worked out well. Of course, Freud links this to sexuality and would, at this point in the session, accuse you of having the hots for him, so we’ll leave anxiety there on that fairly positive note.
The main thing is though, enjoy yourself, put on the telly, out on Elbow, have a Pimms, read a monologue, play an improv game and sublimate, sublimate, sublimate/
(Mood) swings and roundabouts innit?
Just by the way, Baz will always confirm that you did lock the door, cos we’re that kind of friend and we dig you.
Love, Baz x