Dear Cynthia: I have these dreams in which I am another person. Last night I dreamed that a particular man was me--it's such a weird thing and I wonder if you have ever heard of this. It is as if I get into someone else's body in my dreams. My situation with this person is complicated. I no longer have contact although I love him very much. He is my brother and I have lost him to mental illness. I do not know where he is, but I do know that he is in excruciating pain. I feel it channeling through me in my dreams and I frequently wake up crying. I don't know what to do or how to help my dreams. Do you have any advice?
Dear T.D.: I have heard of this phenomenon, though in my experience it is rare. Typically when we dream of other people they appear in our dreams as a symbol of what they represent to us. A mate might symbolize partnership, a policeman authority. Sometimes when we are very connected to someone we will dream of the person and our relationship with him or her. In this case they do indeed represent themselves. To be "in the body" of your brother, you are seeing through his eyes, feeling his pain. In your dreams you seem to be seeing and feeling through the eyes and heart of your estranged brother.