More Bipolar Dreams

Since I wrote my first article about my vivid dreams, I have had many emails from readers all around the world, about them.  Mostly saying that they had dreams just as vivid and emotionally draining as mine, and with similar themes and ideas.

The great sense of relief contained in those emails was wonderful to see.  At last, there were others who had the same sort of issues and they were not alone!  There were others that they could relate to. 

One reader asked my if I could tell my mood swings by my dreams or did they just happen regardless of which end of the spectrum I was.  I had never really considered this before and so I have been trying to see if there was a pattern that happened to me that I could share.

Looking at my dreams closely, I have discovered that there are a number of things about them.  Firstly, I seem to get them most when I am either depressed or hypomanic, not so much when I am in that more stable middle ground.

Secondly, I discovered that the dream content is slightly different from my depressive spells to my more manic periods.

The constant between the both types is an overwhelming sense of reality.  I wake up emotionally drained and in that space between sleep and full wake, feel a sense of dread until I realize that I am now awake.

In my previous article I described the theme and content of my dreams that occur when I am depressed.  The sense of being lost, of being unable to find my way out of familiar places and the missing of family and loved ones, and now this is a description of the other dreams.

Where the first set of dreams centred on losing someone or the way out or around someplace, these dreams always centre on a loss of control of some kind and being helpless.

For example one that I had last week started off with the family and I on the farm where we live enjoying the day.  All of a sudden there is a bunch of people who turn up on the farm and start setting up camp.  I go and tell them that this is private property and that they can’t camp here and they just ignore me.  I raise my voice, shout and nothing I do makes any difference.  Then they start moving into my home and taking over there and again nothing I say or do can stop them.

In desperation I often find myself holding some sort of weapon, but to no avail – either the firearm doesn’t work, or the ammunition is the wrong type or whatever else just doesn’t have any effect and the home is overwhelmed.

The other theme that happens is that I am talking to my wife and she suddenly announces that she is leaving me, no reason, just leaving.  I try to find out the why so that I can change whatever I have to, to save the situation but she just responds by saying she is going.

No matter what I say, no matter how much I plead and beg, to know what I have done wrong has any effect and I find myself in tears both in the dream and in real life when I wake up.

What really affects me is the sense of absolute lack of control over the situations and a profound feeling of helplessness hangs around me during the dream and usually over the next day.

For those of you who wish to know what it all means – beats the dickens out of me!  I don’t have a clue either; just that this is what happens; feel free to do what the film says and “Analyse This!”


Graham Brown

30 December 2004

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