I became very interested in mental illnesses from quite an early age. My Dad had some very old books on medicine that I used to pore over. I remember the adverts on the back pages, particularly those for cigarettes that were the best kind for treating asthma.
There was a fascinating Psychology section, describing 3 types of physique, endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph. According to this you could then confidently predict what variety of crazy you were predestined to get.
Visiting my mother in the psychiatric hospital gave me plenty of opportunity to put this to the test. It was surprisingly accurate.Incidentally, I also noticed that quite a few of the medical staff were deeply strange and less likeable than the patients.
This led to an interest in personality disorders. I found I had a natural talent for diagnosing them in other people. I soon noticed that most of the people I knew clearly had at least one. Then I started to see myself in a lot of the types listed, so I lost all confidence in the whole idea. The fascination with minds that go wonky remained though.
I have had CBT therapy, talk therapy, Gestalt, and medication. One thing I have never experienced is old-school on the couch very costly Freudian psychoanalysis. A close friend had years of it. He became obsessed with his dreams and recorded them in a book. His condition actually worsened, and he lost most of his friends with his naval gazing.
Maybe unfairly, this left me thinking that dream analysis is just cod science. Given that we all dream, you would think that it must be beneficial to mind or body. It is hard to see how that is. My own experience is that bad dreams cause me to feel low long after waking. So-called wish fulfilment dreams leave me deflated when I wake to reality.
The commonest kind are just apparently random trivia - or are they?
Take the other night. In the dream I went into One Stop round the corner, to find the newsstand empty. The assistant said they had staff shortages and presented me with a big bundle of loose pages to sort through to help myself. I did so and took my selection of print home. All a bit pointless?
So, I wondered if we could offer up our own experiences and thoughts about dreams. Do you have, as I do, a recurring theme, or maybe one dream from the past that you have never forgotten? Perhaps your dreams reflect your current mental state, or warn you if a downturn is looming. Maybe we can even have a shot at decoding your dream, no fees involved!