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Are Your Hypnopompic Hallucinations Similar To Mine?

by Mike
(Worcester, MA)

Brief Introduction: My name is Mike and I am 26 years old. I am a 2nd year medical student struggling with narcolepsy (w/out cataplexy). I was diagnosed a few months ago. My symptoms began when I was 18 years old. Before my diagnosis I always blamed my persistent sleepiness and sleep attacks on sleep deprivation, accumulated sleep debt, and an inconsistent sleeping schedule. I figured out quite a long time ago that if I take a nap as soon as a sleep attack begins that I feel much better after I wake up and can then get back to studying or whatever activity I was up to. This is how I've coped.

My doctor never considered narcolepsy until I shared with him these strange dreams I have. For those of you who have hypnopompic "hallucinations" during your waking hours, please tell me if your experiences are similar...

During the waking hours I experience the following: I "experience" strange speech that goes on in my head. The conversation consists of sentences after sentences of words that make no sense whatsoever. The speech, if you want to call it that, is very similar to how someone with Wernicke's aphasia would speak (people with Wernicke's aphasia speak with normal grammar, syntax, rate, and intonation, but they cannot express themselves meaningfully using language.) I don't "hear" the words though. The words don't come from the environment of my bedroom, as if someone was standing there talking to me. Instead, the words are my own and they exist within my mind and I am merely "aware" of them. Furthermore, I feel as if I can anticipate what words are going to come next. The entire experience is akin to a lucid dreamlike state. Sometimes its not "speech" that I experience but instead I can "see" words. Nothing but words. No paper, no book or Microsoft word document, just words.

Does anyone experience something similar?

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Sep 24, 2014
Dissimilar HHs
by: Sara

Hi Mike,

First, congrats on having narcolepsy and pursuing a medical degree, although in my experience diagnosis when there is no cataplexy, diagnosis often comes after the start of medical school. Medical school is a long haul, condition or no condition! I am also in the Boston area, have had narcolepsy for 20+ years, and contemplated medical school for probably the first 10 of them. I decided that it was not the best avenue for me in the end, which is a little sad but has a silver lining because that meant I could study this "strange affliction" for lack of a better term --forever! I do look forward to a day when there is more aggregate data about narcolepsy.

My hallucinations are most often when I sleep alone in bed and/or am sleep deprived. They occur as I fall asleep. Originally they involved animals like cats or rodents walking on top of me, coming close to my face, just long enough for me to recognize the type and then they scurry to the floor and under the bed. Startled usually, I sometimes would have to get up and physically check that nothing was there. Sometimes the animal transforms from cat to something mean and scary. For me, feeling that animal crawling on me is extremely vivid.

I do also have musical oriented dreams, but not really as HH. As far as any words, really there are very few in my dreams, sensical or not.

As I have matured as an adult, my HH have become more like Steven King novels of horror movies that are sickening. I have developed a complete aversion to all scary movies, tv, even the commercials make me change the channel. The animal situation is no longer. I often wonder if that is a result of my cat passing away 15 or so years ago.

I do have cataplexy, so perhaps the HH differences in experience is different between narcolepsy with and without cataplexy.

I am part of a greater New England Support Group for narcolepsy with some accomplished professionals, know doctors with narcolepsy, and am on the Board of Narcolepsy Network. I hope you reach out to me and connect - If you'd like, the New England group can put you on the distribution list. JJust let me know.

Mar 24, 2015
help me!!! NEW

Okay so I have been having this for. A while and my experiences in this is I wake up from a dream and I cant move, sometimes even breathing is a problem!!! Then I have a little speech in my head, that relates to the dream. Then sometimes I am way off from where I was before I slept. Like one time I was on the floor. I wasn't at the edge at all. HELP!

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