What Does It Mean to Dream of Drowning?

What Does It Mean to Dream of Drowning?

A dream of drowning could be scary to experience, as drowning typically means that you die in an uncomfortable way. You might feel totally out of control during the dream.

However, the potential meanings of a drowning dream are not all bad.

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Drowning Dream Summary

Drowning Dream Symbolism

A dream of drowning can show that you feel out of control and overwhelmed in your life. You may be trying to hold on to too many things, and releasing some of them could be good for you even if that seems counterintuitive.

Most drowning dreams involve water in some form, so the dream symbolism of water is important to consider when interpreting a drowning dream. One of the major associations with water is emotions.

Emotions can be destructive when they are expressed in a way that lacks boundaries, and a drowning dream could show that you are afraid of this type of emotional expression.

However, if you have the courage to go into the emotional realm, your drowning dream could show that you have the potential for a transformative experience. As drowning can cause death, a drowning dream may share the death dream symbolism of endings followed by new beginnings.

Common Drowning Dreams

  1. Dream of drowning in water
  2. Dream of drowning in sand
  3. Dream of a drowning child
  4. Dream of drowning while swimming
  5. Dream of committing suicide by drowning
  6. Dream of drowning in a flood or tsunami
  7. Dream of rescuing someone who is drowning
  8. Dream of being rescued when you are drowning

Drowning Dream Symbolism

Drowning Dream Symbolism

Being Overwhelmed

A dream of drowning can symbolize that you feel overwhelmed. You might be burdened with excessive obligations. You may need to see if you can drop some of your commitments, or share them with others more fairly, to regain balance in your life.

Losing Control

A drowning dream could symbolize that things in your life have gotten chaotic and out of control. Your efforts to get yourself back on track may not be successful, and you might need to get help from someone else.

Letting Go

A dream of drowning could symbolize that you need to let go of something you are holding tightly to in your life. Even though you might think that you are doing what is necessary to keep yourself alive, holding on to something that you know on some level is not working may only be prolonging an inevitable bad outcome.

Your drowning dream could therefore show that, though releasing whatever you are counting on for security may be terrifying, letting go of it might be what you need to do to find something that is a better fit for you.

Emotional Upheaval

A drowning dream could symbolize that your emotions, or the emotions of someone else in your life, are more than you can deal with. This would especially be likely for a dream of drowning in water, as water in dreams symbolizes emotions.

Suffocation

Drowning typically becomes fatal when a person runs out of air to breathe. The symbolism of a drowning dream could therefore overlap substantially with the symbolism of a suffocation dream, which includes being burdened by things like overwork, toxic relationships, or an inability to express yourself.

A suffocation dream may also reflect that you have, or are worried that you will develop, a medical condition that affects your ability to breathe.

Death

As drowning is often fatal, the symbolism of a drowning dream could overlap with the symbolism of a death dream. Death dream symbolism includes endings, transformation, and transitions. In some cases, a drowning dream that involves death might indicate a desire for a fresh start.

Common Drowning Dreams

Dream of drowning in water

Dream of drowning in water

A dream of drowning in water may symbolize that you feel like your emotions, or those of someone else in your life, are getting out of control. On the other hand, giving in to an intense emotional release might be tempting, as there could at least be growth on the other side of it that you don’t get in your current condition of anxiously trying to hold all the tension inside. You may be ready to pursue this kind of fresh start, even if you know the process will be difficult.

Dream of drowning in sand

Dream of drowning in sand

A dream of drowning in sand could symbolize that there is something unstable about a situation you are involved with. You may be on shaky ground instead of solid ground.

A dream of drowning in sand could alternately symbolize that trying to help someone else with their problems has the potential to end in them taking you down with them.

You may think you are doing a good thing in coming to them from a place of relative stability, but you might not be fully aware of some vulnerability in yourself that the other person’s situation is triggering.

Dream of a drowning child

Dream of a drowning child

A dream of a drowning child could symbolize that you are afraid you are not able to meet your obligations to a child or project you are responsible for.

Alternately, as discussed in water dream symbolism, the meaning of your drowning child dream could be that a childish part of your own personality is dragging you down.

Dream of drowning while swimming

Dream of drowning while swimming

As described in swimming dream symbolism, the meaning of swimming dreams can vary based on whether you are swimming in a pool made by humans or in a natural body of water.

If you dream of drowning in a swimming pool, this might symbolize that you feel let down by other humans. However, if you dream of drowning in a river, lake, or ocean, this may symbolize that you are afraid that engaging with your physical nature could end badly for you.

Dream of committing suicide by drowning

Dream of committing suicide by drowning

Any suicide dream can symbolize a desire to intentionally end some part of your life that isn’t working.

A dream of committing suicide by drowning in water specifically could mean that you are hoping to get a fresh start after whatever ending you experience, as the dream symbolism of water includes birth and rebirth.

Dream of drowning in a flood or tsunami

Dream of drowning in a flood or tsunami

A dream of drowning in a flood could symbolize that you are afraid something catastrophic will happen if you let out your emotions. You might alternately be scared of the emotional volatility of someone else in your life. However, actually experiencing the worst-case scenario of an emotional outburst could be liberating.

That said, floods and tsunamis are generally big collective events far larger than the personal drama of any one individual. In that sense, dreaming of drowning in a tsunami or flood could symbolize that you feel like the world in general is not a stable place.

You may feel like there is no point in making plans for your own life because they will just get derailed by factors beyond your control. See also apocalypse dream symbolism.

Dream of rescuing someone who is drowning

Dream of rescuing someone who is drowning

Trying to rescue someone who is drowning is a risky thing to do. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the drowning person might take you down with them. A drowning rescue dream that goes in this direction could symbolize that a relationship where you are trying to help someone else is not serving either you or the person you are trying to help.

However, if you successfully rescue a drowning person in your dream, this could be a positive omen that you are in a stable enough place to help others as well as take care of yourself. The drowning person might also represent some part of yourself that you have rediscovered lately.

Dream of being rescued when you are drowning

Dream of being rescued when you are drowning

A dream of being rescued when you are drowning could symbolize that asking for help is likely to go well for you now. While trying to work things out on your own is often important, it is usually necessary to get someone else involved when you reach the point of drowning.

If the rescuer in your dream is using a boat, it may be necessary for you to look at boat dream symbolism, which includes protection.

Conclusion

A drowning dream often reflects that something is not going well in your waking life. This may be obvious to you if you feel totally overwhelmed with an excess of responsibilities, demands, and obligations.

However, dreaming of drowning can potentially offer hope. If you are able to take the risk of letting go of some of your burdens, you may have a chance to reconfigure your life in a way that ultimately works better for you going forward, even if the transition still has some messy and scary parts. You might be better off finding a way to choose to do this on your own terms before circumstances make the choice for you.

Eva Sylwester

Eva Sylwester has been fascinated with the interpretation of dreams since middle school. She got a B.A. in psychology and religious studies from the University of Oregon in 2007. After that, she began exploring astrology and other new frontiers in spirituality. In her approach, the goal of dream interpretation is to help the dreamer articulate their own intuition. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, United States.