Do you have Nightmares? Do things go bump in your night? What about Night Terrors? Do you wake up in a panic? I do. Almost every night involves some sort of vivid, anxiety provoking dreams. Some are scary. Others are so terrifying that they possess my whole mind and body.
I had so many Nightmares and Night Terrors last night I feel I must have been Hallucinating. At one point I couldn’t get myself to open my eyes because I was convinced a masked man, clad in all black, was standing over me with a machete pointed straight down, ready to pierce through my heart if I moved or opened my eyes. Another had me running down the hall from my room after I was convinced I heard someone breaking in and my daughter yell, “PaPa!!!” I found my daughter sound asleep. The dogs waking briefly to give me a quizzical look.
As a person with a Mental Health Disorder (Bipolar) I felt the need to investigate this to prove to myself that I wasn’t slipping further down the rabbit hole.
Night Terrors are supposed to be rare in adults. Unfortunately, a 1999 study by Dr. Maurice Ohayon confirmed that people with Bipolar Disorder that have depression and anxiety attributes (ex. Myself) had these Terrors on a more frequent basis. The International Bipolar Foundation reports that Nightmares also occur more commonly with Bipolar.
I found that people with Bipolar Disorder have reported bizarre dreams with death and injury themes occurring more commonly before their shift to mania. Those with Bipolar with rapid cycling may have a shift in the content of their dreams prior to noticing a change in their affect or behavior.(“Reinterpretation of Dreams” by A. Revonsuo).
Bipolar Disorder can lead to a number of sleep disturbances. From Insomnia (unable to sleep), to Hypersomnia (sleeping too much), to a decreased need for sleep (Insomnia without tiredness), to REM sleep abnormalities (causing dreams to be vivid and bizarre)(WebMD.com). I’d like to mention that I have had all of these but Hypersomnia has plagued me since I was 16. Doctors have drawn labs and even after a sleep study resulting in a CPAP that I use regularly, I am exhausted ALL THE TIME. I have tried all measures to assist in helping this and continue to seek an answer.
Please, I encourage any and all comments and helpful hints. Maybe together we can find an answer.