The one possible side-effect of taking Abilify that I have developed is having disturbing dreams. I dream every night, and, except for occasional nights when I dream of still-living people — like work colleagues and former friends — my dreams have been filled with people in my life who are dead: my parents, my ex-husband, my cousin Lorraine, one of my former boyfriends, my former boss, and even a guy I dated my freshman year in college who, I heard, died years later on an operating table. I was surprised that I even remembered him, as well as his name.
My dreams are fraught with frustration, as I navigate Escher-like landscapes in which I rarely find a way to get where I want to go. The landscapes, based vaguely on places I have worked, lived, and danced, and are dark and distorted. The people I encounter (not just the dead ones) make me feel uneasy, as though I know they don’t really like me.
I am always trying to get someplace, and I always can’t find where I parked my car. My efforts are thwarted by people and circumstances over which I have no control.
When I first started taking Abililfy, I had actual nightmares in which I was afraid for my life. I would wind up forcing myself to wake up, and then I would lie there trying to figure out from where it was all coming.
There was a time, before I developed (and solved) a Circadian Rhythm problem, that I always had vivid dreams filled with color and sound and engaging adventures. I still dream in color, and often hear sounds, including conversations, the actual words I can’t remember after I awake. It feels like I’m living in some alternate dystopian reality. It is all too real and unnerving.
I hope other dreams will come — sweet dreams the realities of which are comforting rather than disturbing. For now, I will continue to try to figure out why I am always lost and searching and why there there are all of these dead people complicating my dream life.