So, as you guys know dream analysis is, well, my whole thing. If you follow me on social media almost daily I try to remind fans and followers to write their dreams down and analyze them when they can. As a kid, my siblings and I usually shared a room. The first thing we’d talk about in the morning was our dreams. My mom would do it with us too sometimes and tell us different folktales and myths that our dreams could be tied to. My biggest reason for encouraging dream analysis is that once you train your brain to remember it becomes a little antenna for messages from The Divine while you are sleeping. These messages can help you mold and manifest the reality you want/need. Lately though, I’ve been thinking about the people who aren’t quite there yet, or the people who simply don’t believe in the divine. How can I make this matter to them, because even if you don’t want to talk to God…you should still want to talk to and know yourself as deeply as you can. Right? Right.
So, from a neurological perspective, dream recall is still really important! Follow me into this little rabbit hole, if you’d like.
Earlier this week I was reading about Alzheimer’s Disease and the calcification of the Pineal gland. Some of the same early onset symptoms of AD are found in patients with amnesia. We also know that chronic trauma can cause amnesia amongst other types of neuro-divergence. This fact is important because most of my studies and work is done for the black human collective. We experience massive chronic traumas on a macro and micro level. This means we are met with violence systemically and face familial and individual traumas as well at a higher rate than any other race in the United States.
The human brain has a right and left hemisphere and each part of it is mirrored on either side, with the exception of the pineal gland. We only have one, right in the middle. I’m still researching to fully understand the process of calcification but I do know that generally it creates dysfunction. The pineal gland is responsible for melatonin production, it protects our brains from neuro- inflammation, protects neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, enhances memory function and reduces oxidative stress. The pineal gland also aids our immune functionings. If it is calcified, it isn‘t doing any of this well. So, after reading this I asked myself if calcification could be reversed. For something like AD, a progressive degenerative disease, the answer is no in most cases. But, I believe Dream recall for patients with chronic trauma, calcification can be reversed or at least slowed down.
I’m still doing doing research, but let’s talk about the brain a little more. The Pineal Gland and the Hippocampus are super tight bros. They have a lot of the same jobs and need each other (the whole brain needs the pineal gland but you get what I mean). The hippocampus is responsible for everything related to learning, memory, imagining, and dreaming If the pineal gland is all calcified, we aren’t sleeping normally. This makes it harder for Mr. Hippo to do his jobs. Neuroplasticity refers to how well our brains can adapt to new stimuli, how well we can update schemas and scripts. If the pineal gland is damaged due to chronic stress and trauma, this is how our brains get stuck! This is why even when someone is safe they still have involuntary trauma responses in the brain and body. The hippocampus can’t be healthy if the pineal gland isn’t. Traumatized people have brain damage that largely presents as an inability to learn. These systems are destroying peoples ability to learn. That is very violent. Calcification of the pineal gland is not typically seen until adulthood but has been seen in children as early as age two.
Still there is hope. Studies have shown that dream recall can help stimulate/heal these parts of the brain. Better rest = more REM sleep, that’s where dreaming happens. More REM sleep means less neuroinflammation and more neuroplasticity. More adaptability equals healing on a neurological level. There have also been studies done on patients with amnesia that show correlation between dreaming and memory revival. Even when dreams aren’t an exact replay of our experiences/memories. They still help us process our experiences.
To me this is really ground breaking stuff. Maybe American psychologists already know this. But, they aren’t applying it to our demographic. Something as simple as writing down a dream in the morning could save lives, if you ask me. Young black people lose so much of themselves to trauma. We fuck up our whole lives acting out in outdated ways because we cannot turn off survival mode. Traditional therapies don’t always work for us because when these therapies were designed no one was studying us. They still aren’t studying or listening to us enough. When you intertwine then centuries of epigenetic trauma we’ve endured at the hands of white supremacy, with text book disorders and forms neurodivergence, you get a whole new set of overt and covert symptoms that traditional approaches aren’t always equipped to treat.
As an adult I’ve practiced dream recall therapy everyday since Fall 2019 after experiencing very heavy trauma and slipping into a fugue state (similar to amnesia) for five days. Because of this I am able to remember A LOT that I couldn’t before. I’ve also been able to work through repressed childhood memories and strip away false narratives about myself that I learned at a very young age.
I think this form of therapy is something special because it is accessible to everyone especially hyper marginalized people that society has already deemed irredeemable, unworthy of proper care or unbelievable: black/indigenous/poc people, drug addicts, physically and/or mentally disabled people , incarcerated people and ex cons, chronic sexual assault s
urvivors, survivors of child abuse, and LGBTQIA people. These groups of people are at the bottom of the food chain in the U.S. When I began my career as an educator after getting my psychology degree in 2016, every single seminar I went to on caring for children with trauma taught me that a child’s brain structure is solidified by the age of five. Who they are going to be is pretty much concrete and any severe damage done to their brains is likely irreversible without medication or therapies that were never accessible to these children/families to begin with. I am telling you I know different because I was that child and through dream recall therapy I have discovered my highest potential and most authentic self. Everybody deserves that second chance. Everybody. Especially when the only safe space you truly have in the world is your own mind. Let it be a wonderland and not a prison. Write your dreams down.
I’ll be back when I’ve done more research.
Til next time. Peace & Love. Casper Levi. 🌷
P.S - dreaming and dream recall also stimulate the production of serotonin and oxytocin, known as “happy hormones.”