The reason I made this page is because I want to respond to a post by Skinny Vegan but I don't want to scare people off with a post the size of War & Peace. I made a quick post about it so please feel free to leave replies to this page on that post.
Here's what's happening-
- I mentioned in a comment that I was a lucid dreamer and experience weird sleep stuff. Skinny Vegan asked me to go into detail so I posted a dream that I thought would represent what I'm taking about. My post is here. I already have gotten quite a few comments and thank you. Please, anyone who wants, share with me as I am a collector of dreams and want to know more. Skinny Vegan replied by posting her own experiences which you can find here . Her post is amazing and I had to break it down so that I could make comments and ask questions for different posts. So here it is, and I have no idea if it will make sense:
Black text is Skinny Vegan, and blue text in me, Amelia:
Firstly- apologies if this doesn't make sense to anyone, I'll do my best to explain but you know how confusing dreams can get!
So here goes. I dream. I dream A LOT. I have always dreamt. I have always remembered my dreams.
I have always had issues distinguishing reality from dreams (I used to get in such trouble as a child when I was convinced something had happened, told people and everyone got confused/angry at each other for it).
This happens to me as well. Often they are caused by false awakening or because REM happens almost immediately and I think I’m still awake. I have to ask my husband all the time, “Did this happen?” I know exactly what you’re talking about. It causes problems and people think I’m on drugs or have a mental condition.
I dream multiple times a night. I have never slept well.
Double-Dog-Ditto on this one. There’s a reason and there are resources that will help. Promise.
I have suffered from depression, insomnia, panic attacks etc.
You’re on to something here. There is a direct link. When you have these dream experiences, if they content feels like it occurred over a period of hours, days, weeks, that’s how long the depression and anxiety can last after waking. You’re brain is processing all the information and if it’s stressful, your body will continue to react emotionally,physically.
I have been to sleep specialists who were NO HELP WHAT-SO-EVER & so not worth the waiting list.
Pardon my language, but, FUCK THOSE ASSHOLES! Same thing here and they were wrong. The person who helped me the most is a scientist named Dr. Jorge Conesa. His book, Wrestling with Ghosts, is an amazing scientific account of his personal experience and research. He’s amazing. I will send you the book if you can’t find it. I’m serious. I emailed him and he responded immediately which was a catalyst to a very powerful transformation from feeling like a helpless, insane victim to become more aware and confident, helping me to deal with this. I will always dream like this but now, I wouldn’t want that to change.
I have stayed up days at a time due to the sheer terror of nightmares.
This is awful and I spent my entire life dealing with the same thing. The self-imposed insomnia worsens the problem and will leave you less able to maintain awareness. This is a skill you can learn and here’s why- unlike normal dreams, you are remaining conscious during the experience and you will be able to remember what you’ve learned and able to recognize signs. It may take a while, but then again, the initial relief might astound you.
I have tried sleeping pills, they are still useless as they make you so groggy the next morning you can't do any work & I found the sleep they give you to be more akin to passing out than actual sleep.
My DR put me on Ambien for SEVEN YEARS! While it did help me to at least get some sleep, it was false sleep and if the special nightmares happen on Ambien, watch the fuck out. It’s like trying to battle a war on acid. If you decide to try something, I recommend Klonopin- not valium, not xanax or any other benzo- but Klonopin. First of all, it’s the safest of the benzos and quite mild at a low dosage. It can help ease you into sleep and help with sleep anxiety. It’s a tool that can be temporary. I’ve gone from taking 1mg twice a day (along with other meds) to now only .5 mg once in a while. It’s just a thought but I totally respect the no meds route. I’m headed that way.
I have eliminated sugar and caffeine and anything processed from my diet and found that to be the most productive change to my sleeping habits.
Me too! I love junk food and I used to eat all sorts of crap and then exercise 3+ hours a day to compensate. I still love junk food, but when I changed my diet for body image reasons, the real benefits were in the changes in my sleep, emotions, etc. I wouldn’t be able to stick to this diet if it weren’t for the drastic (non-weight related) benefits. I don’t want to go back to the way I felt before now that I know that nutritional changes worked for me (I know it doesn’t for everyone and I totally sympathize). That’s also why I am able to stick to the Bikram yoga. Sure, it will keep my weight in check, but that’s not why I do it. It has been one of the biggest factors in my ability to deal with the dreams. If Bikram worked for me, I believe that there are other things out there that will work. I know Bikram is expensive, time consuming and not always easy to find, but I think I can offers some elements of what works that can be done at home.
So thats not so strange, it gets weird when we start talking about what I do at night. My usual routine goes something like this:
lay there for ages- drift off (usually on my front)
This sucks, I know. It’s been happening to me a lot lately due to stress and no money for Bikram. Since you’re a creative person (me too), there may be some things you can try to help. I’ll explain more later. AHHH! This is so nuts!
talk in sleep-
This is where we differ and I think I know why. First of all, I’m a light sleeper. Everything wakes me up (internal and external stimuli). I go from sleep to awake instantly so if I start to talk, it wakes me up.
move in sleep (sometimes getting out of bed)-
This also is a difference and I think, again, I might know why. My problem is that my brain turns on the sleep paralysis switch before I enter REM which means I’m constantly experiencing sleep paralysis while I’m still awake. You appear to be suffering from a lack of this process. I have an abundance of information for you about this and I think once you read about this stuff, you’ll find explanations and symptoms articulating what you’re trying to say. You’ll catch on to the lingo quickly.
roll around, switch sides and sleeping positions- fight with sheets and or husband
Have you had a sleep study and if so, what did they do? If you don’t mind sharing, what did the doctors tell you and what tests did they run?
dream- run and perform random actions that happen in my dream
Woman! This is something you need to address so you don’t hurt yourself or others. I have to get a little serious about this- no doctor should be ignoring this and it’s not a psychiatric condition. If you have Netflix, watch “What are Dreams?” by Nova. I have other resources.
wake up & repeat. Usually 3+ times a night.
Again, this is a problem and definitely means you’re not getting enough rest. This affects everything and you should give yourself a break for all the struggles in your life. This has definitely changed the course of your life but that’s not a bad thing. I am so appreciative of my struggles because I survived them and I’m growing from them. I still have bad nights, usually weekly. I still do not know what it means to sleep normal and I don’t feel like I sleep. It’s as if there’s an alternate universe I’m creating in my dreaming life.
It gets dangerous, I swear people think my husband hurts me because of all the random bruises and injuries I get from it.
Same as above. This is such bullshit that no one has helped you and I’m sorry if doctors and others have made you feel neurotic or like you’re making this shit up. The fucked up thing is that all doctors learn about sleep paralysis early on in Med school but it’s one of those concepts they forget because people don’t know how to describe the experience and the fucking doctors don’t bother to do a little back research and go, “oh yeah. SP may have something to do with this. Hmmmm. Let me see if I can help”. Nope. Instead they put me on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and sleeping pills. All things that negatively impact the sleep stages for normal people. Guess what it fucking does to people like us? It makes it impossible to find a way out of the rabbit hole. I was meant to be a doctor, a mad scientist. I know it. But I couldn’t get through college because of these issues.
I strap my wrists at night because they're prone to tendonitis and they need to be protected from me.
There must be other options to address this. I know there are.
I've fallen out of bed numerous times
woken up with every toenail broken from kicking the wall that hard
woken up choking in blood from my nose (so gross)
regularly wake up with pulled muscles, sore bits and sprained things...
All the things in mentioned above- why in the hell are you having to suffer through this without medical support? You are so articulate and seem clear headed so a sleep expert should be excited to work with someone like you. This is one of those conditions where the patient teaches the doctor and that’s what I would do if I was a doctor.
sleeping is not restful- it's downright exhausting!
Amen, sister. Sleep is the most important thing and you should give yourself a lot of credit for dealing with this on your own.
I've woken hubby up screaming/talking/kicking/twitching etc etc
I think the best one was hovering- apparently I woke him up because I was in a sit up with my legs straight (half way through a roll up for those who do pilates) just holding it there shaking and getting a good old ab workout.
Again, although it could be something else, this is a hallmark example of Behavioral REM Sleep Disorder.
Another good one was the dream he captured and killed all my friends... I woke up covered in sweat, heart pounding (after climbing this huge ladder to get out of the hole where all the dead bodies were) jumped over him and sprinted out of the house before I woke up and worked out what was going on.
You need to read about the case of Brian Thomas. Here’s a link to one article about him. Don’t let it scare you- there is help and it’s not all about taking medications. Please don’t let any of the information scare you because you’re fine and this will help even if it freaks you out at first.
So the things that freak me out the most are the in-between stages. The part where you're almost awake but can't move yet, or are almost asleep and can hear others but can't do anything- I'm not talking too tired to move, I'm talking if a truck was headed for you you still couldn't move.
So, this indicates that you do experience sleep paralysis because that’s what you’re describing. I think you and I are the same with one opposite factor- I experience too much SP during the wrong times, and you don’t experience it enough during the crucial times. We are one in the same, my friend. More than you know. I believe once you’re able to address this, other things will start to fall in place. How the hell are you supposed to manage and balance a life with the most crucial biological process is being ripped apart and tainted with an acid-like substance? Seriously, I can’t believe how strong you are to have made it this far with no professional (medical, not psychiatric) help.
One time I was face down in my pillow when that happened- thank goodness my husband was awake and could roll me over or it could have been very bad.
I’ve had something similar- face down in the pillow. Fucking freaky!
The other odd thing that happened recently was I was buzzing. Husband told me I was vibrating, that I had a current surrounding me, almost like electricity. This one I have NO idea about- if any of you do feel free to share!- but that happened after I was awake too... my skin felt a little funny but there was no visible shaking.. apparently you could feel it a few inches away from my skin. Husband thinks religion is a cult so refuses to believe in anything like auras but that was my guess (most 'cause I've got nothing else..)
First of all, you are not alone. Please let your husband know that there is scientific research that explains some of this. I’m not saying that it isn’t a spiritual or paranormal experience, but think about this- narcoleptics, certain epileptics and people with other neurological issues experience these things. I’ll get together my resources to better explain this and it doesn’t have to take away from whatever it means to you. Native American Indians as well as other cultures embrace these dream experience as a way of life. Just because we don’t have the science to explain it yet, doesn’t mean it’s magic. It can be magically and change the meaning of your life but that’s beautiful.
The buzzing, the vibrations- wooo! I know this one. Had it yesterday morning after not being able to sleep. Too much to explain but I’ll talk more on this with you. I remember vividly as a child, right around when puberty started for me (early, at 8 years old), lying in my room in a reclining chair, drifting in and out watching TV. Suddenly, I became paralyzed and felt as if I was being shocked or electrocuted over and over again. It would stop but before I could move it would start again. I don’t know how long it went on but I was terrified, ran to my father (who is a surgical and medical doctor) and he grounded me for making stuff up to try to stay up late). From that point on, I was completely alone. I still get the electric shock feeling, especially if I’m sleep deprived and trying to go to sleep. I’ll shut my eyes but I continue to see images and feel pulses of shocks and shutters.
I think the issue lies in my head- recently I made a friend at uni with ADHD (can you tell I like her the most out of all my new friends? she's the only one I keep mentioning!) and she's convinced I have undiagnosed tendencies or something or other. I know I'm not exactly normal but I've managed to put on a decent mask for this long. My mind never stops- I find meditating almost impossible (I'm never giving up though) when I study I switch tasks regularly, when I talk most people lose me if I don't plan out what I'm going to say before I say it. I often say and write things wrong- the wrong way round or make up words or my own sentence structure. I'm an artist- I just assume this is how my brain is supposed to work so I can produce things others would never think of. Anyway the point of sharing that was if any of you know more about it could you please let me know? I'm curious to know if she's right but her idea of taking her ritalin 'just to see' didn't seem too sensible to me...
Everything you said- me, me, and me too. For me, it caused failure in so many areas of my life- I wasn’t able to get through college even though I loved it and I’m very smart. My brain wouldn’t turn off and at night, when I closed my eyes, I would keep seeing the images of what I was working on, or past images, or images from I don’t know where. This is a sign of a creative brain and a strong visual thinking. I have an ADHD brain and there seems to be quite a bit of evidence that I may also have mild Aspergers (my dr agrees but he doesn’t care- I’m an adult so I should just get over these childhood like issues-asshole). After all the medications (too many to name) my doctor put me on because he thought I was manic depressive (even though I did not have the behavior of it), I went to another doctor and asked to be put on Ritalin. I’m not advocating it but it’s not a bad medication and not everyone abuses it. I don’t. Yes, the Ritalin helps with my ADHD brain, but that’s not why I take it. The doctors agreed that I showed signs of atypical narcolepsy and I found studies showing that Ritalin and klonopin were helpful with my particular complaints. Basically, the Ritalin helps me regulate my sleep. If I’m tired the next day after the bad dreams, the Ritalin keeps me from taking naps (which I have to avoid at all costs) and it helps me stay focused and lifts my mood a bit. For me, at the end of the day, if I do my bikram, eat right and moderate my stress, I’m sort of tired at the end of the night. Once I came off all the other meds, and was only using Ritalin, my life improved drastically. As far as side effects, it doesn’t raise my heart rate or blood pressure and I’m not experiencing racing thoughts, anxiety or mood changes. It’s all about brain chemistry and this one clicked for me. I use the regular, fast acting Ritalin and I like that I control when I take it because it depends on what’s going on with me. Here’s something weird about me and Ritalin- let’s say I can’t sleep all night and I have to up for work the next morning. 4am rolls around and still no sleep and I have to be up at 6 or 6:30am. I take my Ritalin at 4:30am. It takes exactly 45 minutes for it to start to work. For some reason, especially if I can’t sleep because my mind is racing, I will fall asleep around 5am and get the best hour or hour and a half of sleep. This allows me to get up for work and get back on track. My doctor refuses to believe that I can sleep on Ritalin but my husband has seen it all too often. He can tell when it gets into my system because I suddenly become calm, focused, able to follow conversations and not constantly interrupt. I also have strange movements that I do with my hands and feet so it allows me to keep this somewhat under control.
I’m not advocating Ritalin because there may be long term factors I’m not aware of but my quality of life has skyrocketing in the past 3 to 4 years which is exactly when I started the Ritalin. The klonopin is great for getting through sleep anxiety and initiating a sleepy feeling not like a sedative hypnotic. My goal is to use these as a tool until I’m able to find natural ways that work. And I seem to be heading in that direction. I’m an absolute failure in every other area of my life (education, career, finances, family, friends,etc) but I don’t care as much because none of those things would have ever offered me answers and relief. If I remain a loser in the conventional sense, I’m fine with that. I love exploring this and learning about this stuff even if I still have to have the terrible dreams (and I do- 4 in the past week that were awful).
Oh I also work in my sleep- my mind keeps going, I dream about my artwork or uni work, I come up with new ideas, fixes to problems in my life, revisit memories or just random ideas in general. At least it's productive sleep? At lease I burn calories? but then I've read if you don't get enough quality sleep your appetite increases which could explain my fatness..
How do you guys sleep/dream??
This just continues what I said above- yes, this is something that you’ll be able to use to your advantage and you’ve already discovered that despite the lack of help. You’re amazing.
I don’t want to stop but I have to right now. I hope we can continue and I hope this helps at least a little.