Is it possible to have premonitions after surgery, seeing things in your head, and them sometimes but not always coming true? Sometimes they are good things and sometimes they are bad things. Does this make sense?
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Please understand that my answer to your question is from the perspective of scientific rather than spiritual or or paranormal belief. Therefore my response is based on the following:
When we sleep we go through four primary stages as we descend down deeper into sleep. These stages are based on well studied and documented brain wave measurements. In other words, brain waves grow inceasing slower and wider as we go into deeper levels. Part of this process is where we hit something called REM sleep or “Rapid Eye Movement.” REM occurs when we are dreaming. We dream during a more rapid part of the brain wave pattern when we are not at the deepest levels of sleep. During the dreaming period of time there is a protective mechanism at work that prevents us from moving and acting out the dream. Thus, sleep walking does not occur during REM.
During REM or dreaming, our brain uses material or memories from the prior day as well as from the more distant past. Alll of these stored data come together in the form of a dream that seems to make no sense unless you think about events from the prior day and week.
I think you will discover that the dreams you are experiencing as premonitions are nothing more than expectations or predictions that you have formed about your life and those of loved one’s and even friends, based on what you know about them and based on what has very recently been happening.
Your expectations or predictions are sometimes correct and sometimes wrong. Its just like tossing a coin. If you toss it enough times, it will come up heads half the time and tails the remainder of the time.
When a prediction that we dreamed about happens to come true, we experience a reward. In fact, dopamine increases its flow in our brain and that gives us a sense of pleasure. We then think, “Gee, I had a premonition.” All the other times when our predictive dream is wrong, well, that gets ignored.
So, I suggest you not worry about this and simply treat what is happening as a dream. Yes, those dreams can be and probably are influenced by the trauma and stress of going through surger.
Best of Luck and Sleep Well.