Friday, January 29, 2010

Lucid dreams and Narcolepsy

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For years I thought I was just a bit weird, although I suppose I suspected that part of it might be my Narcolepsy.  My dreams were just different than they are supposed to be.  I normally could remember them, for one thing.  They were almost always lucid dreams (i.e. I knew that I was dreaming when I was asleep), and I could do unusual things in my dreams, such as materialize objects, do magic, even rewind my dream to change it.  I could also create my own dreams if I wanted, although it takes a lot of work to maintain control of a dream.  For me, I try not to control my dreams too much these days because I think it affects the quality of my dreams.  Lately, it seems like there are nights that I just dream non-stop and it is so exhausting.

Now, I don’t think that the average Narcoleptic has this experience, although Narcoleptics do tend to go into different stages of sleep at different times than non-Narcoleptics do.  It is well known, for example, that one of the strange things about Narcoleptics is that they can take a nap during the day and go into REM and dreaming in just a few minutes.  For me, I also find that my dreams are different during the day than at night; during the day they are often times more vivid.

However, I have heard from some other Narcoleptics on Talk About Sleep regarding lucid dreaming, and there were some other people who related that they too had lucid dreams at least some of the time and a few people said they have “dream powers.”  Perhaps my strange dream experiences and that of some other Narcoleptics come from the fact that most of us don’t sleep that deeply at night.  I do know that when I was on Xyrem, my dreams were unbelievably intense, I could not wake myself up from them easily, and I generally did not remember them much.  It was actually kind of refreshing.  This made me even more convinced that my strange dreaming experiences are firmly linked with my Narcolepsy, given that I went back to normal dreaming  when given a medicine that supposedly gives Narcoleptics more normal sleep.

For some reason, my abilities regarding dreaming have grown and changed over time.  I do remember when I was a child that I could not rewind my dreams, although I did have the ability to make lightsabers appear out of thin air (lol, I was a big Star Wars fan).  Maybe I need to do some reading on the subject of dreaming, as these days my dreams have been making it hard for me to sleep at night.

Does anyone else have lucid dreams and/or strange dream abilities?  Do you think that this is because of your Narcolepsy or is just something you can do?  I know that some people buy books on lucid dreaming because they want to learn to do it, but I am a bit envious that most people don’t remember their dreams.  Because as anyone who does remember them can tell you, some of them are so weird it would be better not to remember I think. 

52 comments:

  1. My dreams are incredibly different from my non-narcoleptic friends and family. They are so real, sometimes I get confused when I'm awake. For example, I can dream that I've read a magazine article, and when I'm awake I don't know if I actually read the article while awake, or if I dreamed about reading it. Once, I must have dreamed about reading a magazine that had an obituary for Meryl Streep. For about a week, I had assumed she was dead. It wasn't until I asked my sister what she thought about Meryl Streep's death that I realized it had just been something I dreamed.

    It is incredibly exhausting trying to sort out some of the "realities" my dreams create, and I'm constantly second guessing some things that I worry were just dreams. There are times I'm not sure what really happened, and what I dreamed.

    I haven't tried Xyrem, and I don't have Cataplexy, but I'm planning to speak with my doctor about trying it. I would love to sleep an entire night without the disruptive dreams that currently invade my sleep. If I never dream about a loved one's funeral again, it will be too soon.

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  2. I have narcolepsy and I sometimes experience a sort of lucid dreaming. Often when I'm dreaming I will realise that I'm dreaming (I'll think to myself this can't be real) and then because I know I'm dreaming I'll wake myself up. But I've never been able to control my dreams, other than waking myself. Makes me wonder whether I really knew I was dreaming or if waking myself up was part of the dream!

    As for special powers, I never thought of that being associated with narcolepsy, but I do have the ability to fly sometimes, though I reckon this is common of non-narcoleptics too.

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  3. This is really hard to explain, but I’ll do my best. I have episodes of lucid dreaming with sleep paralysis. At first, I would become "conscious" that I was dreaming, but also unable to control any aspect of my dream, to move, or even to wake myself up. When I am able to open my eyes I am still "paralyzed" and if I am not able to "break" out of the paralysis I am "sucked" (exactly how it feels) right back into the same dream. This has progressed over time to include a sharp pain in either my right hand or both hands, and for whatever reason it is usually a dog biting down on my hand. The longer it takes me to wake-up the more intense the pain gets. The pain is gone as soon as I open my eyes, but if I am “sucked” back into the dream the pain is exactly the same and from the same cause. The really scary thing is that I told a Neurosurgeon and a Neuroendocrinologist about these “episodes” and neither sent me to a sleep specialist.

    Thanks for writing this post - strange that we "connected" right before you wrote this post.

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  4. I too have the same kind of lucid dreaming experience. Before reading this article I didn't know that Narcoleptics have different kind of dreaming activities. Yes, I can also control my dreams which I don't think non-narcoleptic people can do. I can stop the on going dream if it is too much scary, I can modify (it is little bit difficult then to terminate.. i don't know why), I can pause and continue (like .. if i was dreaming good things and I awake . I can again continue with the same dream). Also I can explain the dreams from my mouth that I am going to see just after sometime closing my eyes and before complete sleep. I have also felt the super powers things quite vividly. The most super power dreaming experience happened to me is becoming Spiderman. Others are Jackie Chan, Jet Lee like Kung Fu stars fighting furiously. I haven't taken any medication of Narcolepsy coz I tried but the doctors I met with have little or no knowledge of it. It is insane that they couldn't figure out what was my problem. I didn't know about Narcolepsy just few years ago. I just came to know about it searching the Internet. It is really eye opener that lots of people have Narcolepsy not just me. It has been always hard that lots of people still thinks I am lazy and always tend to sleep. Anyways, it is worth to read your blogs. I will not miss a single article of yours and share what I feel. Really thanks for putting all stuffs here and keep it up!

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  5. I have not been diagnosed as narcoleptic, though I have many of the symptoms. I frequently experience very lucid dreams (without trying). Often, they build on something that happened during the day, but I can control them. I recently completed my Masters in Math Education and there were times, while taking higher-level math classes, where I couldn't solve a math problem while awake but I could solve it in my dream. Once or twice, I remembered how I dreamt it and the solution(s) worked. Other times, I can imagine a dream situation and, when I fall asleep, I will dream that. Also, I tend to dream right after falling asleep and if my sleep is interrupted, I'm often able to continue the dream.

    I really enjoy a lot of my dreams. It's the nightmares that I wish were less realistic...

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  6. I also have "classic" narcolepsy and I indeed have the ability to control my dreams to some extent. I am generally always aware that I am dreaming, but none the less I have issues differentiating my dreams from reality. Like their is this one Physicians Asst that I work with and I don't like her. I don't know her but she may or may not have been really snide to me. Either in a dream or reality, so I stay away from her regardless. Back to being able to control the dream, if I feel the dream going in a direction that I don't like....a nightmare, I am sometimes able to redirect the dream, and I am even able to tell myself hey this is just a dream.

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  7. I was diagnosed with fairly severe narcolepsy with cataplexy (and obstructive sleep apnea) at the beginning of April. I'm 25 now, but I probably started having problems when I was 15 or so. It's funny, I never realized my dreams were abnormal (outside of when I dreamed) until reading an article on lucid dreaming but it completely makes sense. Like you, my dreams are extremely vivid during the day, particularly during sleep attacks in addition to waking up as I hit the snooze button and drop immediately back into REM. I have fallen asleep (almost always during a lecture or seminar) for literally half a second and lucid dreamed. I can recall nighttime dreams often, but not always in great detail. In waking/day dreams I am often aware I am dreaming, but I don't think I control them very often. This was actually a problem for me in highschool and during my undergraduate years as I would fall asleep after hitting the snooze button and dream that I was awake and getting ready for school in almost perfect detail. I don't usually remember these dreams very long unless I dwell on them, and it doesn't help that I didn't seek treatment until my short-term memory was completely shot. I am on Xyrem currently, and it does make my dreams much more vivid, although it is also somewhat jarring going from that deep a sleep to waking and vice versa.

    I'm convinced, however, that there is an increased prevalence of this with narcoleptics. Normal people who try to induce lucid dreams will experience or attempt to experience classic narcolepsy symptoms (hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis). I actually found your blog when looking for proven connection between the two. Ironically, I am in graduate school for a PhD in neuroscience (I didn't actually know something was wrong with me until my 2nd year) and I might bring this question up to one of my advising professors, as it could give some insight into the psychology of dreaming and possibly be useful in narcolepsy research. Now I'm tempted to start my own narcolepsy blog, lol.

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  8. Sorry to double post, but just remembered that when I was 12 I had a dream after falling asleep in Spanish class except that it wasn't really a dream. Despite being asleep, I was fully aware of what was happening around me and that I was sleeping. My teacher asked me a question, I woke up and answered it, and went immediately back to sleep. Strange. Has anyone else experienced something like this?

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  9. I have been told to have severe "classic" narcolepsy. I have all the other not so wonderful side issues besides being sleepy all the time.
    My sleeping has always been terrible, but since I was diagnosed almost a year ago and started taking meds for my cataplexy, I have the most realistic dreams EVER!
    I sometimes have to ask a family member if certain conversations or things have happened, because I could swear having heard or taken part in family activities. Only to wake up confused.
    Most of the time, more specifically at least 3 times a night, I will have very realistic nightmares. I have such bad nightmares that even though I KNOW I am dreaming I still have to scream to wake myself up. I also have been told I talk a lot in my sleep.
    My Doctor has told me that there is nothing he can do to help my dreams/nightmares. I find that it is the most disrupting part of my night time sleep. I met a woman who said when she takes her ritalin to stay up, that she didn't have any dreams at all. Once she changed her meds she began the dreaming again.

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  10. I have naro/cataplexy and have had every experience the other people have posted i wil get ready for work (and hated doing it )only to wake up and relize its a dream ) and have 2 wake up and get ready all over again i woke up one night to find myself taking my fan apart w/ screwdriver and everything and woke up wondering what the heck i was doing(scary)... the more tired i am the more lucid my dreams i love being able to conrol my dreams i love being able to go back to a dream after waking up and going to the bathroom!!!LOL and to be able to stop the bad dreams the only dreams i cant stop are the crazy lucid dreams whithin the first half hr of sleeping they are terrifing i always have the same one that i am being abducted by aleins i never told anyone this b4 i know its too weird and i dont belive its really happening but it feels to weird at first i just feel like people are really touching me but then it feels like they start hurting me and i swear i can really feel it then i wake myself up ONLY TO BE SUCKED RIGHT BACK into the dream this happens like 4 or 5 times b4 i can actually wake myself up and move around for a little bit then the dream will stop this might be helpfull to people i find also when i cant wake my self up that if i move my jaw back and forth when i know im dreaming i will wake up exept when im having a bad lucid/cataplexy dream i will think im really up but awake to figure out i was still dreaming!!!!!!!!!!! when i have these dreams i can hear my surrounds and know im dreaming i will even try banging my hand on somthing to let people know i need help waking up i will see i faint vision of my hand leaving my real hand and i will know then that im not really banging it... CRAZY!!! i have like outter body experiences while dreaming!!!!!!!!!!!!! and this is also crazy i can control what i want to dream about most times....i have great sex dreams somtimes to they feel real and i have the best orgasoms in my dreams (i know this is weird but true!)ILL EVEN WAKE UP TO ACTUALLY HAVING ONE!! any one else have these symptoms????????????? get back!!! or even hear of them let me know so i know im not CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. to me, there is a big difference between lucid dreams and hypnogogic hallucinations --- I know when I'm dreaming (that's lucid dreaming), the really scary part is when I wake up, know that I am awake, but am seeing something that I know can't actually be there, something that is dreamlike (like a giant spider on the ceiling). I do sometimes have hallucinations where I can't tell that it isn't reality, but this is usually because it's something that might actually happen (like someone playing loud music). I do sometimes have scary hallucinations of hearing someone in the hallway of my apartment right outside my room, having broken into my apartment, but I usually just tell myself I"m just hearing things...

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  12. Ellie, I was struck by your comment, because I've had a similar experience to your vision of the spider on the ceiling. I'm not narcoleptic (although I have severe DSPS - Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome) and I've had spontaneous lucid dreams periodically throughout my life. However, the only times I've had actual hallucinations have all followed the same pattern: I wake up, know I'm wide awake, and then see -- with my waking eyes -- a large spider lowering toward my face from the ceiling. After the first couple times I've known it couldn't be real but it is absolutely convincing. It has always been dark in the room, but I can make out the body and the legs clearly. I've never had any other hallucinations or mental disturbances, so I don't know what to make of the mysterious ceiling spiders!

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  13. i had my first lucid dream in late 2005, shortly before i realized that i am a medium or psychic or whatever you want to call it. i hear voices, see orbs, dream about angels, ghosts and all sorts of strange things. more importantly, i cant stay awake during the daytime. looking back, i would say my narcolepsy started when i started having lucid dreams. ironicly, i used to be a tweaker. its funny how the world works

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  14. I use my dreams as therapy....i have narcolepsy and cataplexy and i started realising i was having wierd lucid dreams. I would have the same dream over and over and i loved it and felt so happy but when i woke up i was heartbroken cause i realised it wasnt real it was just a dream. I lived in the flat from being 16 to 21 on my own just before having my son and i loved it there and havent seemed to settle anywere else...im now 32. I hated waking up and just wanted to go bk to sleep in kind of a paralel world.....one night i decided i needed to let go of my flat and decided i was gonna change the flat. I went to sleep and instead of opening the door with a key i knocked and i told myself it wasnt my flat anymore and then a group of girls opend the door and invited me in...the flat was decorated different and different furniture etc and then i left...and woke up and felt ok...i have never had that dream again about longing to be bk in my flat or in my flat not even visited it as a visitor...and i feel like ive kind of done therapy on myself.

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  15. Wow, I'm glad I came across this post. I am going through sleep studies now and have not been diagnosed with narcolepsy or anything more than insomnia at the moment. I began controling my dreams when I was about 8 yrs old, I'm 27 now. As I've gotten older I've managed to get more "sleep powers" flying, running, making things appear and disapear, waking myself up ofcourse and recently been able to pull up a board and go into a past dream and the last one was rewinding a dream and doing it all over again. I don't know if it matters, but like another I talk to people who have passed also. That was the main reason that I began learning how to control my dreams so early. My only problem with this is that at times I wake up totally exhaused!! I dont' know what to do about this and now my sleep pattern is all out of wack. I also dream wihin mins of falling asleep during the day. At times I will put my head down, still hear everyone around me, but in some ways still be dreaming. At times when I doze at work during lunch or while waiting on something/someone and I begain dreaming, I realize that I'm doing it an an inappropriate time and wake up. I really hope that they can get to the bottom of this because I'm totally worn out.

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  16. Hmm, I was researching dreams and came across your site. I am a narcoleptic and have paid very close attention to a lot of things in life. I am like you, I need to repost in numerous segments to cover it all. I do have an extended journal i have been writing though, sounds like book opportunity, lol. But there is so much to entail, I dont know where to start. Since finsing your site, I have read nearly half your blog. When I read, I turn the adrenaline up. But more is to come.

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  17. I've always been able to remember a lot of my dreams, and when I was a kid I had lots of dreams that would be a predictor of a future event. I never told anyone. In my early 30's, there was a lot of stress in my life and the dreams became much more vivid and often terrifying.
    I finally was diagnosed with narcolepsy a few months ago. (Huh...so I wasn't just lazy all these years!). I'm on Provigil but somedays it's better than others. I can lose 2 or 3 days to sleep to "catch up."
    The dreams come and go in phases but lately are back with a vengeance. The good ones are so real it is like I am really there, with full sensory and thought awareness. The bad ones are terrifying, and I am now aware that I am dreaming within the dream, but I am not able to control or stop it.
    I try to write everything down because much of it is very helpful (it's like being your own therapist, haha!).
    I have taken a greater interest in shamanism and Reiki the past few months and am trying to figure out the connection between narcolepsy and the metaphysical. I am not as afraid of them as I used to be...the good ones I really welcome and consider to be a gift.
    On a side note, does anyone get "brain blasts?" I haven't had them in awhile, but it's the sensation and sound of being shot in the head, only without the pain. It wakes you up with a bang, literally. I thought my doctor was joking when he said it was called "exploding head syndrome." Surely they could come up with a more medical name than that, LOL.
    Thanks for your blog! It's nice to know I'm not alone!!

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  18. i will be dreaming, wake up, smoke a cigerette. then go back to sleep, i will pick up on the dream where i was before i wake up. wierd?...

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  19. I also will often get up and do something and then pick up the dream where I left off. But not always.

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  20. im a severe narcoleptic in that i get only 6 minutes of R.E.M sleep at night. that means i have unusually short or no dreams at all. i've found if i can achieve lucidity in a dream i can draw it out as long as i want but i cant seem to control dreams or anything short of running a bit faster or jumping higher. i've also noticed that the dreams tend to be more lucid during the day rather then at night i had a theory that maybe is was due to the sun light so i covered all the windows and light sources and they were still lucid often times nightmarish so i plugged my ears and i had some unusual but not so lucid or nightmare like dreams. i've found i can control how lucid or enjoyable my dreams by controlling the outside input i recieve like putting gloves on or blindfolding or plugging my ears with ear plugs or music. recently i've found i can pick up where i left off in a dream if i pick up at the exact spot in the song where i woke up

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  21. I am glad to find this blog, I too have classic narcolepsy with acute cataplexy. I am currently with out medication. I am 27 and I've decided to be a writer. I've always been an artist at heart so my narcoleptic dreams only served to fuel my imagination. I have the dream powers like flying, shooting magic bolts, and phasing through objects, among other things. I never let myself feel pain in a dream and also have dreams within dreams. Erotic dreams are a plus and way too realistic lol. I've read that a lot of people with narcolepsy go into business for themselves and I've read a quote from an artist that " people with narcolepsy have the gift of bringing things into the waking world that other people can only dream about". I want to see my narcolepsy as a gift not a curse. It gets annoying at times, especially during college classes and being unable to drive( working on that one), but there are some major perks. Sometimes I have very philosophical dreams in which I come to understand some important things about life and myself. I often awake from these dreams with tears in my eyes and a feeling of great refreshment. I call them my " Buddha dreams" has anyone else ever experienced these sort of things?

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  22. I have awaken from dreams with tears in my eyes before. Most of my dreams are lucid, but when I allow myself to be fully immersed in my dream and allow myself to feel the emotions....then yes, sometimes I do wake up with tears in my eyes, or a sense of enlightenment. ....but then I normally re-assess my dream later in the day to realize how very normal it was. Just like everyone, I wake up thinking that my dreams were much more impressive than they actually were.

    I am now 20 years old. I was diagnosed when I was 16. And every day in high school I would take a nap in the nurse's office for about 14-18 minutes. I was, and still am, very interested in lucid dreaming and especially with Stephen Laberge's books. So my 14-18 minute nap that I took every day after lunch was the perfect opportunity for me to practice my lucid dreaming.

    I would normally fall asleep within 2-4 minutes of lying down and would immediately go into REM. What was interesting was that I would hear what the nurses were saying, and would dream about what they were talking about. If a student came in with an injury, such as a sprained ankle, I would dream (while fully asleep) about what was happening in the room...but my dream location would normally change after a while.

    I have experience out of body experiences, and sleep paralysis. But I have never experienced pain in my hands, or a sensation of being shot in the head. I have experienced a high pitch tone/whispering sound...normally unpleasant and a little frightening.

    When I stay up late doing homework I often have quick hallucinations that I see peoples faces, or that people are walking around the room. When this happens I just tell myself that I am hallucinating and finish my homework if I can, and just go to bed.

    I really enjoy my lucid dreams....but sometimes I prefer experiencing my natural dream process. I also find my dreams to be exhausting sometimes.

    I find it helpful to keep my medicine with some food and water right next to my bed, ready to take right after I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock for the first time in the morning. This especially helps if I know that I will get less than 6 hours of sleep.

    I don't have very severe cataplexy, but my knees get weak right before I tell the punch line to a joke. Or if I am really angry...which doesn't happen very often. But I have never completely fallen to the ground. I am nothing like the character in Rat Race, lol.

    I do have trouble distinguishing, or even recognizing if what I think actually happened...or if I created it in my dreams.

    Dreams are so incredibly amazing and interesting. I love helping other people understand that they can remember their dreams if they put some effort into it. Dream journals really make a difference.

    Controlling my dreams is much easier during the middle of the day after I have been awake for a few hours.

    Overall, my narcolepsy (which I hate doesn't pop up as a real word when I type it) doesn't hurt my quality of life. Sure, it can be frustrating and annoying at times...but it is much better than having insomnia....which sounds terrible.

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  23. Also, some things that I have always been curious about....

    1: If our narcoleptic brains are in REM for longer periods of time than the average brain, does that have an impact (positively or negatively)on our learning? Maybe people with narcolepsy have more brain activity in other parts of the brain as a result of our extra time spent in REM.

    Babies spend a lot of time in REM...and their time spend in REM is essential to their brain growth. After infancy their brains start to prioritize what parts of the brain are important or not. And as they get older and enter childhood, they spend less and less time in REM because their brains don't have to do as much critical development. As they mature, their brains lose the ability to learn new things as easily. Ex. - Learning a second language.


    I am curious to know if babies and young children continued to stay in REM for long periods of time each day, if they would also keep the ability to learn new things with little to no effort.

    So, I was thinking because narcoleptics spend more time in REM....maybe our brains can learn new things easier than non-narcoleptics. ex.-maybe people with narcolepsy can learn a second language easier than non-narcoleptics.

    All of that is probably a long shot....but I have always been curious about the idea.

    I am also curious to know the prevalence of narcolepsy among different ethnic groups.

    For example, I am mostly Scottish, British, and Irish.

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    1. Interesting points you've raised, especially questioning the prevalence of narcolepsy across ethnic groups. I'm an African-American woman, and a classic case of narcolepsy, with the compete "tetrad" of symptoms: cataplexy, sleep paralysis, "hallucinations", and daytime sleepiness. (Yay.)
      ...But my high-school sweetheart was British-Scottish. (Lol!)

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  24. Ellie what you said is exactly what happens to me. The spider and sometimes it's a very colorful image. It just started to happen to me about 4 years ago. Not all the time. But it's weird because I know I am asleep but it feels like o am awake! I saw the spider crawling down, then I wake up and I go and look fir the spider but obviously it's not there. Sometimes I yell for my husband to come and kill it. I just had a dream right now and I decided to find out what the heck they are all about! I still don't have a reason for them!!!!! So weird! I will try next time to control it as people mention here.

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  25. I have narcolepsy and have had lucid dreams since I was a kid. I often have nightmares during which I try to wake myself up, which results in a strange state where I am sort of half awake, half in the dream. I can open my eyes but the rest of my body is paralyzed (sleep paralysis) and I can see remnants of the dream on the ceiling and in my peripheral vision. I almost always get sucked back into the nightmare.

    I used to have more pleasant dreams, usually involving flying, but I have this problem now where once I realize I'm in a dream I know that anything can happen, and my worst fears begin to materialize in the dream.

    I do think that my lucid dreaming is associated with the narcolepsy... it seems like narcoleptics spend a lot more time in REM than normal folks, so we have more time and experience in that state. Perhaps we "figure it out" because we're in REM so much more frequently.

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  26. I am 37 and have been diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy when I was 18.
    I call my cataplexy attacks "flops" because that's what I do. Anyway...
    A few years ago I asked my specialist what I can do about my nightmares. He asked me if there was one particular reocurring one and I told him this one, "I am going to sleep and with each breath I take I am falling into sleep when suddenly I here someone come through the back door and start to walk up the stairs towards my room, I am terrified. Then I here my door open and I am to terrified to move or speak. I then feel him get onto the bed and come towards me. I am laying on my front and my head to the side. The next thing I see is a knife come into my field of vision and then i get stabbed soooo many times, I feel the energy drain from me and the warmth of my blood surround my body and ..... you get the idea. I always saw a knife appear so my doctor said to me instead of seeing the man as a threat with a knife think that he is bringing you flowers. He told me to replay the dream whilst I was awake so that it will reach my subconscious. I did this every day for a few days and before I new it I was no longer being stabbed or terrified.
    I felt truly enlightened by this and wondered why no one had told me this before.
    I wanted to have more control of my dreams because they were actually starting to make me feel happier in my waking mind than I had ever been.
    Then one night I had the most amazing dream...
    As I was going to sleep a lady came to see me, she said she was going to prepare me for my dreams. She spent a while doing some kind of reiki on me and told me I just need to stop smoking (tell me something I don't know). Then she said she was going to put me somewhere so that I could see what is possible in your dreams. Then suddenly I was in a big park at night overlooking a lake. There were people standing at the lakes edge with me. Then suddenly gunfire is trying to hit us, I felt pannicked but the lady said to me, "you can do anything in your dreams, you can stop this gunfire", then she told me to reach out my hand and stop the gunfire hitting the people. I did and with a bit more encouragemnt I stretched out my arm and to my amazement my arm extended (a bit like inspector gadget) and I used it as a shield and the bullets bounced off. I was amazed The lady then told me I am ready to see whats possible. When I awoke a few minutes later I felt brilliant, excited, ecstatic and very much like I'd been drinking with a big smile on my face for the rest of the night.
    That's when I started explore whole other dimensions. That was until me and my ex husband were splitting up. But now I want to get back into it. I love it
    And as someone mentioned earlier the sex dreams are great and yes I orgasm. :)
    Theres sooo much more to our dreams and I feel very privilaged to experience them and help others who have terrifying nightmares turn them around and feel the difference.
    Loved reading your views and accounts.

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  27. I was diagnosed with narcolepsy recently, and my whole life I have had very vivid dreams. I dream even if I only fall alseep for a minute, and I always remember them. The weirdest part is that I will realise im dreaming, but I cannot control it, or at least thigns will be changed but its not like I am doing it. Its like someone else is doing it and I am watching. Like my subconscious will randomly decide "no wait we dont like that go back and do it again that never happend" and its like part of the story is erased just like that. Like its writing a book and editing it as it goes. I didnt find out till recently that most people dont dream so vividly and every time they sleep. Its odd, but also sad when they are so vivid and friends I made in my dreams and lives I lived out turn out ot be fake. Whats insteresting is the music. I will sometimes wake up suddenly and notice the extremaly loud symphony is gone and it is now silent. But I never notice it until I wake up and find it strange that it is suddenly so silent. Although my dreams sometimes cause trouble when I am convinced something happend in dream is real, I would never trade it for anything. I like having adventures while I sleep, it gives me something to think about during the day.

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  28. I am set up to have a sleep study in a few weeks. My second. I live in a very small town and our local doctor must not know much about sleep disorders. I am exhausted from the constant dreaming and would love to have even one restful night-with no dreaming!! I went to a sleep clinic in a larger town and the doctor there was able to look over my paper work and talk to me for about an hour and realize I probably have narcolepsy. I am tired during the day but have always thought it was because of the dreaming . Do any of you take meds that totally stop the dreaming?? I would be happy to never dream again .

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  29. When I was on Xyrem, my dreams were very different - more intense in the beginning when I would fall asleep but I liked that I didn't remember my dreams mostly anymore.
    I have a problem with constant nightmares, however, i have been told that there is a medication you can take that can help this... don't know the name.

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  30. Im am currently 13 and do not regret having the "classic" narcolepsy at all. I love dreaming and keep a journal of them. Dragons and being one are all id love to dream about.Im so glad to find this blog because it helps me realize that other people have narcolepsy.This disorder (and i wouldnt call it one) helped improve my intellect. I always dream of a perfect society (both metaphoricaly and real) of a civilization. I see this as a gift more than a curse as i imbrace it and always strive for the positive. btw do you have a face book acount id love to chat and share ideas! The sky the limits!

    I doubt this website is constantly visited so heres my name Matthew H**** < just incase.

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  31. you can contact me using nisfornarcolepsy@google.com if you want to talk, but I don't give out my facebook information. sorry!
    I used to like my dreams as well, but for the past few years they have been a difficult thing for me. I would just say, be careful about controlling your dreams too much and getting too involved with them... for me, it ended up being an unhealthy thing...

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  32. Nikki noodles..... I am very fortunate as I don't really have bad dreams at all...however I do have one reoccurring dream that's petrifying and it feels that real that when I wake up I'm usually crying and it takes me ten min to actually realise its not real... It started initially about a year ago ...I dreamed that I killed a man at the side of my old house were I lived from being eleven...I stabbed him and burried him in a manhole which is in the garden...this was at night ...since then I don't dream the same dream but rather while dreaming other dreams I suddenly remember about the guy in the manhole and I start to panic in my dream wondering if he has been found and reminding myself to move the body and burry him somewhere else properly ....before he's found ...it interrupts my dreams all the time and I just want to move on from it ...I was so ashamed that I could dream about killing I felt sick for days it affected waking life ...I can train myself to return to dreams and change things but I'm so scared of moving the body and seeing him there dead I haveent returned...will this haunt me forever? I had a very traumatic childhood and was sexually abused and I killed this man in my dream cause he made a pass at me ...I can't remember his face tho but he was only young about twenty two and I'm now thirty three...

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  33. I'm 37 and I found out that I had narcolepsy when I was about 23. I found this site after having a particularly disturbing dream one night and didn't want to go back to sleep. I can relate to most of the blogs here,spiders and all.

    I wish sometimes I wouldn't dream but then i would be missing out on all the cool stuff that happens in them.

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  34. I can remember i started having what i call 'crazy dreams' when i was about 11, and it was such a sudden change. I could remember every tiny detail about my dreams, and they amazed me so much i began to regularly write them down. Oddly enough, soon after this began to happen, i found that in most situations i struggled to keep myself wake. Through lessons at school, simply just sitting down, getting on a bus... pretty much anything i'd practically be unconcious within minutes. As i was young i didn't understand what exactly was happening to me, and when other people started to notice like at school, i began to panick. When i could feel myself fighting to keep my eyes open, i was in a literal fight to keep my mind and my body connected. It kind of felt like i was going to faint if i moved a single muscle and my heart rate would go really high. I think the worst thing is, as well as having this what at the time was a mental battle inside my head, was fighting it off so that no one would notice it was happening. I became so 'on the edge' that the slightest thing would send me in a panick attack and i'd just have to run out the classroom to get some fresh air and calm down. Extreme emotions affected the whole thing as well, if i laughed really hard, i'd feel like i was going to flop over. It was such a scary thing, i had no control over my body or my mind.

    So... for years my best friend was there witnessing the whole thing and she said i had narcolepsy. So i went to the doctors numerous times telling them my symptons, and every time they just passed it off as being a lethargic teenager. I had no progress for 7 years. When i became old enough to grasp what narcolepsy was all about, i had pretty much diagnosed myself that i had it, went to the doctors and said i have narcolepsy... help me! Finally, when i was 18 one doctor actually listened to me and then the tests where set in motion. Before this, they had tested me for everything under the sun, blood tests, thyroid tests, liver tests, iron tablets... you name it.

    When i was referred to the sleep medicine department at hospital, i had to keep a sleep diary for two weeks. Then i had to sleep overnight in hospital with all these wires attached to me to monitor my whatever levels, and then, the most basic, leave me in a dark room and see how long it takes me to fall asleep and if i dreamed. Then the diagnosis was clear, i was offically narcoleptic.

    I don't think people understand narcolepsy that much because its not very talked about. As well as having to deal with fighting to keep awake during mundane tasks everyday, my sleep at night is so terrible and so disturbed by lucid dreams that i've dubbed my 'double life'. I've never understood why people would be jealous of my remembering my dreams so much. Because i never feel completly relaxed the morning after, i never feel completly rested, to the point where yes it generally does being me down when i can't escape these crazy images even when i am asleep.

    For me its like being constantly awake, and its so exhausting. Mentally that is.
    I take four 100mg Modofinil tablets during the day, and two 10mg Clomipramine tablets at night and i am only 20.

    I am not exactly like oh woe is me, but its so tiring not being able to turn off. I can control situations in my dreams sometimes, meet complete strangers in my dreams and know they will leave when i wake up, all of these frankly crazy things which mind sound amazing but sometimes i would give these experiences up if i could just sleep properly for once.

    One of the strangest themes in my dreams are that when i 'visit' a certain place (which in real life ive never been) i get an overwhelming sense of familiarity as in 'i think i've been here before'. Its so bazarr.

    A quick insight into my mind, i am so glad there are thread like these, it makes me feel a bit more 'normal'

    Hannah

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  35. Ellie, is there a way to follow you on fb? im not used to the blog following thing..i know im behind the times.

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  36. I'm 32 yrs old, and was diagnosed with narcolepsy in the early part of high school. Unlike many of the people who have commented on this blog, I have an A-typical form of narcolepsy. I don't suffer from cataplexy or pass out at odd times. I do, however, have really vivid dreams, some of which I can describe in great detail, even ones that happened over 5 yrs ago. I am not able to control my dreams, but I often know that I am in a dream when it is taking place.

    Many of my dreams center around school, even though I haven't attended college for a decade. Little things are often switched around, though - high school friends with me at college; college friends with me at high school; stuff like that.

    I deal with the EDS (excessive daytime sleepiness) every day, and sometimes that's draining, but I look at it this way - there's a lot worse things out there to have than narcolepsy.

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  37. Hello,

    I have all of the types of dreams mentioned here, except I do not feel I can accurately control dreams. Yes, sometimes I "solve" a nightmare by making something horriffic benign. I have good dreams and terrifying dreams. I have seen so many violent acts and murders. I killed my father in a church once, very cold blooded. All of the dreams were amped up during my pregnancies. I could tell you stories..... I've learned to cope with all of the dreams except for one kind. As my narcolepsy progressed I started having more dreams about an evil presence in my dreams. These dreams are the most frightening. I cannot see a ghost or anything like that. I just feel an overwhelming sense of a dark presence that is trying to keep me from existing. Sometimes I am dreaming I am in an old house or school that has a dark history and it is there. Other times I am not anywhere. It is all darkness and it is like I am bodiless. It is the edge of existence. The feeling of being taken away is do strong. I feel as if I would never have existed if I cannot hold on to my sense of self and identity. It is so real. When I awake the fear stays with me. I feel like I am only just barely in the world. These dreams are ruining my quality of life.

    All of the ither dreams I can process, but not these dark presence dreams. In everyday life, I am quite normal and grounded. I am very creative, but not in a freaky way.

    Does anyone else have this kind of dark occult dream? Can anything be done tj quiet it without an exorcism ;-)

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  38. The distinguishing feature of my "narcolepsy" dreams is that they are spectacularly vivid and immaculately precise. I've had a number of outer space dreams wherein the physics and engineering was meticulous. At other times the precision has become frustrating. I've suspected I was dreaming and was unable to determine whether or not I was. Every test I could think of yielded realistic results. On one hand, this makes sense because if I could think of the test, then I knew the correct answer and could therefore dream it. On the other hand, I've dreamed accurate details of the real world (such as where I left a book and what page I was on) without thinking I might be dreaming. I just assumed it was real and acted accordingly. One time I "woke up and got ready for work" three or four times before it stuck.

    As for lucid dreaming, I've rarely controlled dreams as in doing "magic," though it has happened on occasion. The "rewinding," though, happens frequently. I write, and it happens often that I treat my dream like a story and go back and forth adjusting things. Conversely, even without doing that, I have dreamed entire coherent plots. One of my novels, though I fattened it a bit with details, follows the exact overall plot as I dreamed it. I really couldn't improve on it after I woke up.

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  39. Hey everyone, I'm just beginning to look for answers as to why I have vivid lucid dreams every night. Every other night I wake up with sleep paralysis as well....but I stopped feeling negative presences when I was about 6-7 and moved from a bottom bunk to the top(maybe waking up paralyzed in an a tight environment was making it worse, I don't know). But basically I just graduated college and it was a hard lengthy process as not sleeping well made me sleepy every day (never fell asleep during a class but would require a nap almost every day) and I never felt like doing anything...so lots of homework was missed and classes and assignments due to my body needing 10-12 hours, sometimes more to feel functional. Halfway through college I went to see a psychiatrist because I had self-diagnosed with ADHD. Adderall helped with feeling awake, clear-headed and stimulated but the quality of sleep didn't improve and I hated feeling "different" on adderall...almost like my personality was changed. I'm applying to jobs now but as soon as I'm stable I'm gonna go see a sleep specialist and see if I can get on Xyrem. I've heard from a lot of people that it helps you sleep well....I just want to stop dreaming...I feel like I've watched 10 hours of a lengthy science-fiction movie every time I wake up and for a couple of hours I can describe in length the whole dream....I can change things, make them appear, even resume the dream from the exact spot it ended when I wake up to use to restroom.

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  40. Hi Ellie,

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'm a PWN diagnosed 6 years ago. I never discussed my dreams with others or participated in any support groups. I guess I've been in denial about Narcolepsy and also a little embarrassed about my weird dream life. After reading your post, I ended up creating a blog to "spill it out".
    I'm still trying to figure this stuff out - but your post was really helpful to me. To know I'm not a complete freak.

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  41. Im also a Narcoleptic and Ive had nightmares where I become a specific superwoman to rescue the day and turn my nightmare to an action movie.Wierd thing is I kinda feel like Im actually flying,throwing flames,etc and feel the exhaustion.But in my dreams the minute I tweak stuff as the superchick its like my dream keeps on trying to revert back to a nightmare and I have to put up a better fight.At first I sucked at the fighting back and just woke myself up but the fighting back I actually think is a skill I learnt?Just saying...

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  42. My sleep studies indicate that I dream 115-130 times a night or so. Most of my dreams are mundane things like driving, working, etc. Sleep can be exhausting because I feel like I'm watching boring movies all night. My cataplexy is mild and I've learned to manage my daytime symptoms well, but my nighttime symptoms are terrible. Yes, I can seize control of my dreams, but it's mentally tiresome to do so and adds to my already lousy night's sleep. I only "intervene" if the dream is becoming upsetting or exceptionally aggravating, and I usually find it to be easier to "reset" by simply waking up and then going back to sleep.

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  43. Wow, I guess there's others like me out there.
    I just woke up from a 14 minute nap that include REM. I was having a nightmare and i was able to adjust the dream and change the person in it. I don't know if anyone else gets this, but every time I take a nap, I can usually hear a transition sound. For me the sound means that I'm about to phase into my dream state. When I was younger I use to get scared when I heard it but as I got older I knew what was going to happen next so it doesn't bother me anymore. Does anyone else get that?

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  44. Also, does anyone ever dream within a dream within another dream. I remember I was able to wake up from a dream only to realize i was in another dream and then I was in another dream. It's like the movie "Inception" starring Leonardo Dicarpio.

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  45. This is really welcoming to find this blog. I have been becoming really... enthralled by dreams at times. I was diagnosed with Narcolespy when I was 17 and I am now 20. I have very mild cataplexy and never collapse completely, but do experience the body weakness. Anyway, the dreams are interesting... Crazy to a point.

    One thing that has been happening quite often and I could never figure out by even looking online was a type of dreaming. I have had dreams where I dreamt a dream and then redreamt that dream and something I did "incorrectly" (i.e. a dinosaur ate me) I did something different and the dream changes with that one decision. I don't understand it and it is truly beyond me. I also literally have dreams that connect with other dreams I have had in the past. The older I am getting the more connected they are becoming and I almost feel like I visit another world and come back to this world.

    Reading other people's posts, I also am losing grasp between what was reality and what was a dream. I have "recounted events" and yet my family says those never happened or were very confused... It's interesting, but terrifying.

    I also get sucked back into my dream like phasing in and out after waking and falling asleep and waking and falling asleep and so on. I was iterally tearing up reading the first posts to find people who were experiencing the same thing. It is very welcoming to find a page with people with this kind of concern.

    Lastly, (sorry long post) I am not prone to believing in superstition or psychic abilities, but the dreams and just the feelings I have daily about things that do not exist or just have thoughts that are similar to dreams. I have been taking Nuvigil for the last year or so and has really helped me have a normal life. Still, lots of inexplainable things that is really great to get off my chest. My mother, my grandfather, and (probably) my mom's grandmother all have narcolepsy, so that is consolling, but some things are just beyond explaining to people sometimes. Anyone else having similar experiences or commentary on all this?

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    1. Wow, the connecting dreams is something that I have experienced my whole life! I was diagnosed with narcolepsy when I was 12, but I was experiencing narcoleptic symptoms long before then. My first connecting dream was one that I had when I was 16. I dreamed that I was talking to a little girl. I played with a little girl and gave her some advice. When I woke, and thought about that dream, I suddenly remembered a dream I had when I was five years old very similar to this dream. It was in the exact same context, only I was the little girl talking to the pretty teenage girl. I was amazed about this. A few days later I had another dream about talking to an older woman. She gave me some advice and she seemed fairly nice, but I didn't like her very much. 10 years later, when I was 26 I dreamed of talking to a young vibrant teenager and giving her advice, and, although she seemed interested in what I said, she didn't seem to like me very much. That was my last connective dream. I am now 40, and the way my life has been going, I think I am due for another one of those strange connective dreams of talking to myself...lol I know no one who has ever experienced this.

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  46. Hello, this is a great blog. I too have classic narcolepsy with all of the symptoms including cataplexy and H hallucinations. I learned to control my cataplexy a long time ago though. I still feel the my muscles get weak when I laugh, but I know how to gain control before I collapse, which is what I used to do when I was a child. I have lived with it almost my whole life. I was 12 years old when I was first diagnosed, but I had suffered from it before then. I started having problems staying awake in class in the fourth grade. I am now almost 40 years old. As far as lucid dreaming, I have pretty much had that ability since I was a teenager. I was unaware of how unusual it was until my late 20s though. I thought everyone was able to do it. My dreams have ALWAYS been strange and intense, very often esoteric or prophetic. I don't know anybody else who has the kind of strange dreams that I have.

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  47. i'm very curious because this is a perfect description of me and I've never been diagnosed as narcoleptic, but I have all these symptoms an so does my mother and I really liked reading your article. please email me to let me know how you got help! I feel like no psychiatrist has ever even thought about this possibility despite medicine not working and my obvious 'love' for sleeping. please email me so we can discuss our symptoms I've waited years, and I can't do it anymore. melissagstar@gmail.com
    please contact me if you get this.

    thanks sincerely
    Melissa

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  48. I am 27yrs old.Last year the Doc diagonised me as a narcoleptic.This was after long periods of strange sleeps during the day that last about 5min and hallucinations.In my place of work i have never told anyone but everyone ridicules me as the ''sleeping guy'' Otherwise this social site keep me the energy,drive and determination to live afterall i am not alone.
    Josh

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  49. I've been wondering if my lucid dreaming is the cause of my Narcolepsy? In the same way others train to lucid dream, can we train ourselfs not to? I particularly wonder this because when I was younger I trained myself to lucid dream to fight my nightmares. As years went by I gradually spiraled out of controll I became too aware of both the dreams and the concious, not really existing on either plane of reality. Maybe we are suppose to be separate from our dreams for a reason and I broke that. Is this limbo the consequence. Power of dreams means a loss in consciousness. Can I undo this somehow??

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  50. Yep....this pretty much confirms my theories on the vivid clarity, and reality of dreaming as a narcoleptic.It's every time i sleep, no matter the duration. I can't always remember every detail but am always aware that i dreamt as soon as i'm forced to face reality. To remember every detail of every dream, every time u sleep just seems like sensory overload which is probably why my memory has become so crappy. Narcolepsy....is a great source of pain and struggle in my life. One that nobody I've ever met, excluding those with it, will ever truly understand.That being said, narcolepsy feels like a double-edged sword. In my dreams i get to experience lives within life.I feel like my dreams have aged me well beyond my years.I would trade my dreams for a lack of constant fatigue, but I know a huge part of who I am would die with them.

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