101. Manchego Nights

I’ve had a lot of dreams recently. Most of them I can’t remember. Analysts used to like interpreting dreams, but now I think dreams are viewed as a kind of mental Pilates, rehearsing possibilities and dangers ahead.

I knew a patient once who thought that we were recording all his dreams and sending them to Disney to be made into cartoons. DIsney never replied to his letters. With medication and therapy he stopped believing his dreams were stolen, but sadly when this happened he also stopped dreaming altogether. I’m sending some of my new dreams to Disney right now before I forget them or get my medication increased.

Driving the bus

This one comes up quite frequently. I’m driving a double decker but from the upper deck, looking down the little periscope window at the right front corner. Sometimes it changes into a Volkswagen Variant station wagon which I drive from the back seat. The bus very nearly topples over round corners. Probably one for the Freudians.

Quantum of Amnesia.

In this one, no-one can remember anything about the Bond movie Quantum of Solace, even though everyone has seen it at least once. Even straight after watching it on TV I cannot remember any of the plot or characters. I find that others have noticed the same thing. Some anaesthetists in China are showing the movie in operating theatres instead of using gas. A news article finds that Quantum of Solace is the favourite movie choice for date rapists. The Alzheimer’s Society calls for the film to be banned.

Wisconsin Shuffle.

I am a professional gambler, working the Mississippi river boats, dealing the Wisconsin Card Sort Test. The other big players are all psychologists, some of whom I recognise, though now they all have moustaches and one of them wears the uniform of a Norwegian navy captain. 

The dream suddenly moves to an appraisal meeting where I am facing the Trust Board. They demand a share of my winnings and suddenly the medical director produces a Derringer from up his sleeve and the chairwoman comes at me with a tiny dagger. I protest that my gambling takes place in my own time and not one of the Trust’s programmed activity sessions. ‘We’ve changed the paradigm,’ laughs the chairwoman. As she lunges forward I see the little NHS Trust logo on her stiletto and then I wake up.

Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew arrives for his CBT session. He’s upset because he’s going down in the line of succession. He was eighth in line to the throne, now he’s ninth, overtaken by baby Lilibet Diana. How badly upset should he feel? Ninth out of sixty million, surely not too bad? 

‘In line to the throne’ is Andrew’s best top trumps suit, even though he’s now overtaken by a tiny girl.

As consolation I remind him he’s still Earl Of Inverness. ‘They can’t take that away from me’ he nods, though in his homework assignment he has found that some residents of that city are trying to sack him. It’s a title that’s been created several times, in 1718, 1801, 1892, 1920 and 1986. I make a note of the sequence to put in a pub quiz one day.

Ward twenty something

In this one I’m admitted to a hospital in Scunthorpe, left in A and E for 12 hours without any water or food, wrongly diagnosed and sent to an inappropriate ward. The other 3 patients in the 4 bedded bay appear to be zombies. Mrs EP visits me and asks if there is any food available. The nurse shakes her head sadly. ‘A long time ago we had vending machines but they have all been taken away’. On her way out, just outside the ward, my visitor sees an enormous bank of vending machines full of chocolate and pepsi. She has enough change for a Twix bar and Ribena, which she brings back for me. I try one finger of Twix, but the effect is like the wafer thin mint in Meaning of Life and I vomit till I explode.

Tower of Babel

This one is like a biblical epic movie, in letterbox format and starring Kirk Douglas. It’s meant to be a comment on the modern world, where there are too many words being uttered or written. But Kirk keeps saying things like  ‘I know there is huge merit in talking about your issues and the only thing about keeping it quiet is that it’s only ever going to make it worse’ and the director just keeps saying ‘cut’.

Be mindful

Its mental health awareness week yet again. I learn that stress affects exactly 74% of people. I take the Perceived Stress test and am surprised to find I score 16, which is described as moderately stressed. Apparently I could reduce it to 10 by taking a Be Mindful course.

After a cup of tea, I take the test again and score 8. Apparently I could reduce it to 5 by taking a Be Mindful course. I open up the Be Mindful course on a web page and a giant shark comes out of the screen and I wake up.

Spacey is exonerated

In this one the actor is totally cleared of any wrongdoing. As a recompense, the movie All the Money in the World, for which he was replaced by Christopher Plummer, has to be re-shot frame by frame with Spacey CGI’ed back in place. I wake up when Spacey seizes the Oscar from Plummer’s cold dead hands.

Learning points

Are any of these dreams food-related? Scrooge, in Christmas Carol, attributed his ghostly night fantasies to tyramine-rich products:

‘You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!’, he yells at the ghost of Jacob Marley. 

Dickens was quite advanced in suggesting a molecular basis for psychopathology, even though later Scrooge found plenty of meaning in his dream.

Scrooge changed his whole life around but I came up with two small changes from my dream work. 1. Avoid the combination of Manchego, Chianti and Amitriptyline before bed time. 2. Don’t go to ward twenty something ever again.

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