The Link Between Mental Illness and Dreaming

dream catcher mental illness and dreaming

We all dream. Some of us wake up and don’t remember a thing. Some people feel like they have just watched an all-night movie marathon. I am one of those people. Dreaming fascinates me; I do believe that at night our brains try to tell us things; subtle hints that our lives are too stressful, or that we’re running from our fears.

The problem is, I don’t have the typical dreams you so often hear about. I have never dreamt that I was falling, or that I was back at school taking an exam, or my clothes disappeared. Experts have analysed and written about these common dreams for years. My dreams are always vivid, strange, and feel totally unique to me.

Scientists still don’t know why we dream, or if it means anything at all, but people love to speculate. I like to think they can tell us a little bit about ourselves.

In an effort to learn more about myself and what my mind may or may not be trying to tell me; I started a dream diary. Encouraged by my counsellor, who was also intrigued to see if there were links between my dreaming and my waking life.

Every morning, after having a strange or interesting dream, I would grab a notebook and pen and write down every detail like I was writing a story. This practice helped me remember dreams more clearly, and even in some cases, remember more dreams. It is said that we dream up to 7 dreams a night, but we only ever remember the last one, right before waking.

People with PTSD and depression report more nightmares and intense dreams, but that’s not to say it’s a symptom everybody gets. For some people, it’s just their imagination at play when they’re sleeping.

My counsellor and I started to analyse my dreams, and we noticed patterns. As well as signs pointing to changes and struggles in my life. I would relive old trauma or rewrite a scenario in my dreams. I think dreams can be an interesting insight into your subconscious, which is why I’m so excited to be starting a new series on my blog.

‘Dream Diary’ will be published every Friday (as long as I have weird enough dreams to write about). I will write as clearly and in as much detail as I can recall. I like the idea of sharing an insight into something personal and not widely talked about.

There are dozens or articles on common dream types, but never about unique experiences. I have never personally known anyone to dream as vividly as I do. I would love to know if there are more of you out there; and I would love to hear from experts and amateurs alike about the science of dreaming, and what mine may be trying to tell me – if they make any sense at all.

links between mental illness and dreaming dream catcher dream journal

3 thoughts on “The Link Between Mental Illness and Dreaming

  1. I have always had crazy, wild, very vivid dreams and I can remember them. One of my most recurring dreams is of tornados. I see them coming, hear them, know what to do, do it and then they are gone. I have never been in a tornado though. It usually happens when I’m stressed. I fly in my dreams, too. Over roof tops, power lines, etc. My dreams are truly interesting.


  2. I have really vivid dreams. When my grandad died I didn’t dream for months. I was utterly exhausted and didn’t feel I had proper sleep until i started to dream again


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