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Bipolar Disorder; Dreams and Night Terrors- The Mercurial Mind Asleep

Posted Apr 04 2006 12:00am
Sleeping is a mysterious phenomenom. It is also the number one obstacle I meet in living with Bipolar Disorder. It is not just insomnia, it is much more bazarre and complicated with the same devastating effects on your health and mood.

Recently I have caught myself loosing sleep and as it begins to increase nightly, so do the nightmares. It is important that I do not fool myself in to thinking these were restful nights. I really should chalk them up on the board as antother sleepless night, as not to fool myself that my sleeping patterns are okay. This sleep disruption is the first sign of mania in this mercurial mind. Many bipolar individuals recognize this feeling.

A reader can find hundreds of books and internet sites on the subject of dream interpretaition. After reading just a few samples of these it becomes comman sense to figure out what your unconcious is telling you. For instance, the old "I am late for class, or can't get in my locker, or I have not studied." when you have not been in a classroom for years. The books usually report this dream related to something along the lines of anxiety about being prepared. Standing in the middle of your old high school gym or a business meeting naked, perhaps you are feeling over exposed or you are hiding something. Not too tricky, once you get the hang of it.

(Although, I do not think I will ever understand why sometimes I have so much chewing gum in my mouth I can not even speak. I pull it and pull at it more, but just keeps coming out like a majicians majic scarf. I quickly start stuffing it in pockets and sleeves to hide it. What in the world am I going to do with all of this gum? Where is it coming from? All the while some important person is trying to converse with me. It is like an I Love Lucy episode.)

There is something I find more confusing. Bipolar Dreams. I recently read an article, Nightmares and Night Terrors in Bipolar Disorder.* The article discusses a study of bipolar patients and night terrors. The most interesting point was that night terrors are really not that common among adults. However, this study noted that amongst those who reported to be Bipolar the rate of night terror occurance is higher.

I have various stages of interrupted sleeping cycles. Sometimes I have interrupted sleep. Other nights I will have so many wildly vivid nightmares that when I wake up I am exhausted, both mentally and physically. Many event filled nights like this are equally disruptive to ones mood and health as insomnia. The nightmares are reptitive thrue the night with the same reacuuring themes thoroughout my life. Frieghtened, abandoned, lost, and scared are usually the premis.

Sometimes I will wake up screaming, and I will still feel the anger toward the person in the dream. Worse, if it was a painful hurtful dream, I will feel that pain after I wake. The pain and anger will resinate through the day.

One does not awake from a night like this feeling rested.
The confusion of why my inner most thoughts bring me to a place like that weigh heavy on me for the day. Why did I think that, feel that? Why about her our him? Then I must tell myself, perhaps it was the nature of the beast (the Bipolar) getting to me when I sleep.

I should not be analyzing the beast through a distorted Bell Jar perspective.
The Bell Jar holding the secrets that I keep in my sleep.

The dreams, the phenomena, is so ingriguing despite the stress and lack of sleep I will still ponder it all. Especially when I wake bursting with obsenities, cursing at the top of my lungs. My poor husband, he fears that it is him. In the morning he questions why I was so upset with him to speak to him that way in my nightmare (as I only curse like crazy when I am manic).

I was stuck in a rock and a hard spot. I did remember the few bits of the nightmare that led me to a screaming rage. It was a woman, it was his mother.

* Nightmares and Night Terrors in Bipolar Disorder



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