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I am sorry to hear of your issue. Firstly you can get dimmer controls in a range of wattages, you also have to be careful as not all bulbs are 'dimmerable'.
The fact you said on ceciling light was working and the other dim\barely on suggests the lights have not been wired properly (it suggests they have been wired in series rather than parallel).
So I am clear both lights are now fitted with 6 x 28 watt energy bulbs which brings your total load to less than 336W (12 x 28W)?
Next does the box the bulbs came in say they are dimmerable, if it doesnt say what is the exact make and model and I will see if I can look up the spec.