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Long Ago Episode and Present Day Troubles

by Kay

Hi. Many years ago I had several incidents of REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (never diagnosed but obviously this was it). In one of them I dreamed that there was an burglar standing in the door way. I remember thinking I needed to wake up my husband (who is very hard to wake up) so I jumped on him and screamed as loudly as I could. Of course, he woke up but, contrary to my expectation, he was not pleased. He said, "Wha?" I shushed him and screamed again. He yelled, "What the hell are you doing?" I remember thinking how rude this was and huffed off back to sleep without speaking to him.

The next day there was a news report about a woman who woke up to find her husband covered with blood and with 20 knife wounds in him. She had had a dream that HE was a burglar. This was too much for my husband who moved into his own room and has stayed there for the past 30 years.

For a long time, I often woke up to find myself racing out of the house or doing something similar. Sometimes I remembered the dream (always scary and violent) and sometimes I didn't.

Now, 30 years later, I still have bad dreams that disturb my sleep (last night I dreamed that some horrible liquid was being poured on the earth and creating destruction) but I don't seem to act on them unless I am very stressed out during the day. I often have to get up at 4 a.m. because these dreams wake me up over and over. Despite being very sleepy, I eventually face the facts and get up. A couple of hours of watching tv or working on the computer, I can usually get back to sleep for a few hours. Unfortunately, I rarely get a decent night's sleep because of these dreams which become much worse under stress.

I am also moody during the day and I think this is related. If I don't keep busy I have what might be called "waking nightmares". I get started on negative thoughts and have trouble stopping them. Usually, again, some time on the computer or going for a walk will stop them but not always. At night, of course, this process is harder to control.

I think my father had and my son has something similar as they have both complained about poor sleep and being constantly overtired.

I have used Dilantin, Tegretol and Lamictal for this problem, with success, but always quit taking them after a year or so because I thought it was a psychological problem and I "should" be able to get over having nightmares and "waking dreams" on my own. Maybe that's not going to happen, huh?

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Oct 28, 2011
On further reading ...
by: Me, again

On further reading, I realize that whatever I have is very much like REM Behavior Disorder but there are also significant differences. The big one is that I remember the dream fairly clearly the next day, including all my physical actions and what I was thinking/feeling at the time. I certainly do not forget, as others seem to do.

Also, my disorder hasn't become worse over time. It was much more problematic thirty years ago. Now, my husband and I often travel together without him worrying about an episode. We can't share a bed (I can't sleep) but we can be in the same room.

For some years, my biggest sleep problem has been really bad nightmares but I don't seem to act on them like I used to. I have tried many things but recently hypnosis mp3s (on my iPod) have been working and I have had about two weeks of good sleep. In the past few days, however, the dreams have started breaking through just as I wake up. It's like they were there all along but I didn't know it (which is fine with me).

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