My experience with Sertraline is generally positive in that I don’t seem to be suffering any adverse side effects. However, one thing that has definitely been affected as my dosage has increased is the frequency of sleep disturbances. I often wake up several times in the night, wide awake, and struggle to get back to sleep. Additionally, I suffer quite badly with night sweats which don’t seem to be alleviated by sleeping with the window wide open, minimal pyjamas or a fan by my bedside. When I do sleep, I dream the most vivid of dreams which usually feature random people I’ve encountered before and haven’t necessarily thought about in years. The scenarios are bizarre and sometimes quite realistic, to the extent that I wake up crying or feeling very anxious. It can sometimes take a matter of minutes for me to process that the dream wasn’t real yet I’ll still remember it throughout the day, as if it were a live memory and not a fictitious vision I’d summoned up by accident. The impact of this is lessening (I think) but I’m feeling generally very tired and some of the dreams I’ve had over the last week have been quite disturbing. As a writer, I figure that this could be quite productive material at some point in the future when I am perhaps off the medication and can try to make sense of some narratives lurking in the dreamscapes. Without further ado, here is the first of the many twisted dreams I’ve experienced under the influence of Sertraline:
I am walking with Dobby in a large shopping mall- it looks like it could be Birmingham Bullring. She’s stuck in a sullen silence and I don’t know why, but this is an ordinary occurrence so I’m not too phased by it. We’re near the base of an escalator when I spot a bucket-hat amongst the flurry of heads and faces- there’s a primal urge to go to this figure, as if I know them personally. I practically leap away from Dobby to pursue the bucket-hat dude, squeezing through the throng of shoppers. I can hear her shouting my name as I gather some distance but it’s too late, I’m dead close now. I can see bucket-hat about 3 people ahead, he’s just about to get onto the escalator. I manage to plant myself on the same step as him, alarming the guy in the process. He clings onto the side for balance and I look up at the round face of Lewis Capaldi, who is smiling awkwardly at me. “It really is you!”, I say and he literally nods back, shrugging his shoulders. When we reach the top of the escalators, we shake hands and then embark on a walk that somehow leads to us to canal-side. We’re talking all manner of things, laughing and joking whilst taking pictures. He’s cracking me up with all the Glaswegian banter and strangers wave on as they pass. Eventually, dad and Dobby arrive as though we’d all planned to meet here. The end.
I work for Harvey Weinstein as a literary scout. We are in a meeting and talking about a new project when he suddenly looks at me and asks me an inappropriate question. I refuse to answer and try to deflect back to the original subject of conversation but he’s persistent. After five minutes of his vile drivel, I am still refusing to engage and this enrages him. He’s shouting at me and his arms are flailing everywhere. I slam my laptop shut and dart for the door, slamming it shut behind me. I walk down a corridor and people watch me from inside their office cubicles, separated by only layers of glass.
I grab my belongings from my office and leave immediately, done with the stress of working for an egotistical, self-entitled prick. When I reach the exit and find myself outside, I am facing the dreary grey of the transport platforms. Both trains and buses can be taken from this interchange- I just want to get home as soon as possible. I rush down platform 1 towards a bus that is fast filling and bump into a beautiful woman (I can’t remember the name/face of this person but she definitely had long blonde hair). She dislikes me, perhaps because of my superiority in the office, but I try to reassure her she can have it all. I tell her about what happened in Harvey’s office and she practically rolls her eyes at me with disbelief- she really isn’t having it and thinks this is all some weird ploy to mess with her. I try to explain that it isn’t safe to work here at all and that if she valued her own safety, she should quit like I am.
As I’m talking, somebody grabs my shoulder from behind me. It’s a man in a very formal suit with unflinching eyes. He tells me, “Harvey says you’re only allowed to take a train from platform 3”. I stare back at him. “You can go tell Harvey to fuck himself. I’ll go wherever I want.” The man’s eyebrows shoot up but I just shrug my shoulders, I don’t think I could have been more concise. The man decides not to retaliate and walks away, back towards the offices. The woman who had been otherwise displeased with my encounter is suddenly interested after the commotion. It’s like his appearance validated what I’d said, the fact I was a danger to Harvey now.
I’m about to enter an apartment. It’s a dumping ground for Harvey victims, a place to lay low and avoid the rampant phone calls as well as the threatening walk-ins with bulky men from intelligence agencies. When I enter, I notice the walls and carpet are matching shades of coral peach. I am to live here with 2 other women, though I don’t know where they are right now.