An Interpretation of My MS Dreams: What Freud Might Say

Columnist Ed Tobias analyzes two recent dreams he thinks are related to MS

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by Ed Tobias |

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I studied psychology in college, but haven’t thought much about Sigmund Freud since then. I did the other night, though.

I had a couple of puzzling dreams. Thinking about them after I woke up and putting a little of that college psychology to work, the puzzle became less puzzling. I think the dreams were directly related to my multiple sclerosis (MS) experiences. Take a look at these two dreams, and before reading further, analyze them. See what you think they mean. Then I’ll tell you what I think.

Dream No. 1

Workers are ripping apart my backyard. A backhoe is digging a trench. “Stop!” I yell, but they wouldn’t. They just kept digging that trench, deeper and longer.

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Dream No. 2

A tornado is heading for someone’s house. There are people inside. I don’t think I know them, but I run inside and help them get into the basement and hide from the storm. The house is damaged, but the people are unhurt.

Earlier dreams

I’ve had MS-related dreams before. Last month, I had a dream that seemed to be directly connected to disclosing my MS. But most of my dreams disregard it. In those dreams, there’s not even a hint of a handicap.

Applying Freud’s dream theory

Freud believed that dreams have meanings, but these meanings can only be discovered through associations made by the dreamer. Patients relax and say whatever comes to mind in relation to the elements of the dream. Freud called it free association and believed the associations we make reveal desires that we’ve kept to ourselves — repressed since we were infants.

People who know me should find it pretty easy to see how my two latest dreams relate to my MS and me. I doubt they relate to early childhood desires, but they do seem to relate to desires that are current.

Even if I’m a stranger to you, analyzing dream No. 1 should be pretty easy. The workers were my MS, digging holes in my brain and stripping away parts of my body (my backyard). I couldn’t stop the damage no matter how hard I tried. Dream No. 2 was me trying to help some people I don’t know and trying to prevent them from being harmed. I like to think I do that when I write this column and when I wrote my small book, “The Multiple Sclerosis Toolbox.”

It might not be exactly as Freud would interpret these dreams, but I think my Psych 101 professor would have graded it with an “A.”

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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