This week, I started having dreams of disconcerting detail. I jotted them down each morning, though I didn’t need to, because I still remember them all… these were not normal dreams, especially not for me, being someone who rarely has dreams she remembers. This week’s dreams have been sharp, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, layered with thought processes, inner voices and memories.
Monday night: Details such as my dream-self thinking of the specific reason why I’d gone to bed when I did, in my dream, and the chipped paint on the corner of the distressed piece of furniture (a small chest of drawers), and how there were four pieces of white furniture, but two of them were different shades of white than the others, the image of the different shades etched deep on the surface of my memory when I woke up… and also knowing and remembering exactly how it was that I’d come across these pieces, and my thought process regarding the differing shades, looking at all four of them together and comparing the colors, and then the crisp detail of the style of the first piece, and of the others, going clockwise around the room and back, etc…. This kind of detail in a dream can drive you crazy, can’t it?
Tuesday night: The detail of the side of the bed in which I – my dream-self – had slept, and why I’d chosen that side. Dream rationale. The layout of the house, its floor-plan, how the water – the shoreline – wrapped around it; on the left side of the house, the fence closing off the private backyard, and noting how, from that side, you could only access the water from the inside of the house (a private little stretch of the beach), but how on the other side, to the right of the house, the water could be accessed by the public, though it was still a part of the private property. This kind of detail, and also the detail of the reasons why the new homeowner bought that particular house. The detail of the interior scents, as each room had its own, unique fragrance. The detail of the planning and the strategizing that went into the moving (into the house). The weather on the day of the move, and what the person explained to me (regarding my motivations the previous night) when my dream-self woke up in the morning.
Exciting stuff, right?
Wednesday night: How the angles of the clouds looked in the reflection of the rising sun. Yes, the clouds in the sky were angular. Fluffy sharp mirrors, blinding. Remnants of the hours spent dwelling on this. This is insanity. Also, the clouds were conversing with each other, and they were speaking French, each side of the dialogue absorbed into the ether.
Thursday (last night): The dog, a cute mutt, sitting and waiting in glorious detail on the front steps of a particular house in California, the key under the doormat, the doubled food and water bowls in the garage (hot pink bowls nested inside larger electric blue ones), and the heavy smell of rain in the air, a scent of rain so powerful that it wasn’t just intense, it was actually invasive, the dream-scent lingering in my nostrils when I woke up.
What is all of this? I wondered when I opened my eyes this morning, feeling tired after four nights of dreamscape insanity. Where are these dreams coming from?
Then it occurred to me.
On Monday, my doctor at the V.A. gave me Ropinirole for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Ropinirole is a dopamine agonist, which is a compound that works to activate the brain’s dopamine receptors. It’s prescribed to patients with Parkinson’s disease as well as those with RLS. Following my hunch that it must be related to my bizarre dream activity, I looked it up online and read that the drug can cause hallucinations.
So that explains it, right? Whew! I’m tired. How can anyone feel rested after nights on end dreaming to this ridiculous degree?
Since the drug isn’t really helping, and since I’m not enjoying the level of dream activity it’s provoking, I’m going to stop taking it. There are other options.
There’s a reason why I’ve never been attracted to the notion of experimentation with hallucinogenic recreational drugs – I don’t want to hallucinate. The idea has never appealed to me. I like reality. I like reality in all of its mundane and often depressing, dubious splendor, and I will navigate it with my sanity intact, thank you very much. Give me reality and the dreamless sleep of the dead any day.
Ropinirole. Not for me!