Ever since I
can remember, I have had the most incredibly vivid and realistic
dreams. From a teenager onwards they have varied in frequency in
occurring until the last few years, as my bipolar disorder became
more and more pronounced.
Since then they have been almost a
constant in my life but especially when my moods are out of balance
and they tend to be less frequent when I am more stable. I don’t
know if it is just me or if other people with bipolar disorder also
have these very real dreams.
What are my dreams like? Well – they
almost always revolve around the same type of theme although the
setting changes. They always leave me emotionally and physically
wrung out by their reality and intensity. And they always leave me
emotionally fragile the next day.
My dreams nearly always involve a loss
of a family member in some way, either by them disappearing and not
being able to find them, or knowing where they are and simply not
being able to get to them. Some times they involve me being
extremely paranoid about my wife having an affair and a loss over
this type of situation.
Let me run you through one of my
dreams and see if this type of thing is familiar to you.
My wife and I are out shopping at our
local shopping centre. We wander from shop to shop as normal. Then I
turn around and find my wife is missing. I look around the shop we
were in to no avail. She’s not there. I start looking at the other
shops one by one getting increasingly frantic. No one I ask has seen
I scour the entire shopping centre and
she is not there. I start shouting out her name as I go through the
crowded centre ignoring the people staring at me. I then start to
look in the service areas and carparks and then it starts to get
As I go through areas of the centre
they change – I will go through a door leading to a particular spot
but when I get to the other side of the door, it’s not where I am
supposed to be. I turn around to go back and the door has
disappeared and I have to follow on where I am. This happens time
and time again – I go along one area that I know well and it has
changed and whenever I try and backtrack to where I was – I can’t
get there because doors have disappeared or they lead to somewhere
My heart is thumping. I am shouting
out, crying and screaming but to no avail. I can’t find my wife and
I have this overwhelming feeling of being absolutely trapped.
In real life, I am tossing and turning
in the bed, crying and sweating profusely and mumbling or calling
out in my sleep, until the dream gets so intense that I wake up
completely drained and terrified of going back to sleep as I know
that I will just return to the same dream.
The setting changes, the scenario
changes but the intensity and realism continues. There is always
either a tremendously overwhelming sense of loss or being trapped or
both and being able to do nothing about it.
Why am I sharing this? For the same
reasons I have shared other situations – I might be the only person
with Bipolar who has these dreams, but if I am not, you know you are