Last week I had a terrifyingly realistic dream influenced by one of my recent Netflix show binges. I recently watched the whole latest season of 13 Reasons Why over the span of a few days. This blog post will touch on a particular episode of the latest season so only read on if you wish to have the show spoiled!
I used to have strangely vivid dreams with huge plot lines and stories, with multiple characters (including family and friends), but often with abrupt endings. In the past few years I have woken up each morning not remembering if I had a dream or not. Sometimes I have a mundane dream about work which is nothing in comparison to my past eccentric dreams. I believe that this may be because I fall asleep faster and into a deeper sleep because I’m always quite tired – but I’m no expert on sleep!
My realistic dream was based around 13 Reasons Why Season 4 Episode 8 titled Acceptance/Rejection. This episode centred around the high school going into lock down due to an active shooter. All staff and students barricade doors and hide under desks in their classrooms/offices for their own safety. There are students who want to confront the shooter and defend their school, there are students who call their parents and tell them they love them, and there are those who are terrified by every sound that they hear. The show also touches on PTSD as one of the students relives trauma due to the location of where he is stuck in lock down. It is later revealed that the whole situation is a drill, one that only a select higher ups in the school knew about. The sound of shots firing were those of blanks, and officers were asked to test door handles and walk about the school as if a real shooter was in the school. The latter half of the episode discusses ‘how did this exercise keep us safe?’ The students push back against authority saying that they don’t feel safe in their own school, and that the drill was potentially harmful to a lot of their students. They argue that the drill did more harm than good amongst other security measures, which leads to a mass walk out.
My dream featured a office building location and a mixture of my colleagues and friends. I was in the lobby of the office building chatting to some colleagues when alarm bells rang out and everyone was told to take cover because there was an explosive device in the building. This device was supposedly in the lift and was quickly descending down to the ground floor, which opened out to the lobby (where we were). My colleagues and I didn’t have time to exit the building so ran to the farthest corner and turned over the large L-shaped sofa, and hid under it. I slipped my phone out of my pocket but my fingers and brain didn’t seem to register what to do. I knew I had to contact my family as it could be the last time I spoke to them. My mind was swimming with thoughts. My colleagues and I waited under the sofa for an explosion and the impact of the blast, all frantic and panicked, with some crying and distressed. It was at this moment I woke up in a cold sweat with my heart pumping faster, reeling from the events of my dream. As I pieced together the events I realised that a lot of the emotions I had felt were based on the 13 Reasons Why episode I had watched the previous evening.
The media we consume has such a great effect on our lives. There are constant studies by scientists trying to prove the direct link between violent video games/shows and perpetrators of violent crime. As someone who studied Criminology for their undergraduate degree and has a strong interest in the crime genre (podcasts, shows, films, documentaries, theories), it has never bled into my unconscious. While I enjoy watching a show to unwind in the evening I may rethink my choice of genre to keep my dreams as peaceful as possible!