For the past month or so, I have had some vividly disturbing dreams, mostly due to a prescription drug that I am taking. The nightmarish atmosphere of this dreams appeals to my taste. One dream was about a movie starring Meryl Streep and Sally Field, who are ghosts watching over their husbands. Streep and Field both fall in love with each other. That is one of the more coherent dreams. Mostly, the dreams are collections of images that star people from my life, and are set in bizarre landscapes, such as a city of subterranean canals, or an Arctic tundra. It is a treat, to enter a world as rich and surreal as any film by Bunuel, Lynch or Peter Greenaway.

The Sleeping Gypsy, by Henri Rousseau
The Sleeping Gypsy, by Henri Rousseau

But there is a downside. These dreams are often full of suspense. Either something is chasing me (or my avatars), or there is a fight—mostly verbal, sometimes physical. At such junctures, I become acutely aware that I am dreaming, but I can’t wake up. It’s a kind of dream paralysis. The line between real and illusion is blurred. One time, I woke up and saw a boy-shaped shadow run right past my bed. Another time, the alien person I’d been watching turned to me and revealed his true, awesome appearance. He told me that he knew that I was watching him, and that I would never wake up. I did wake up, saying, “You’re real! You’re real!”

I will discuss this with my doctor. However, I must admit that I will be slightly disappointed if I have to discontinue the prescription.