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Falling Asleep by Dissociating

Discussion in 'Sleep & Nightmares' started by cec, Apr 28, 2009.

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  1. cec

    cec Active Member

    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering if when you have nightmares if your able to return to sleep without dissociating? I didn't realise that I did this until my psychiatrist pointed it out this week... I wake in a panic state then after a bit, I kind of leave reality and next thing I know, I'm waking again in the same state as above. If I use Ativan this doesn't happen as much, but the next day I find I'm irritable, impatient and feeling sad. Even when I first go to bed I know now that I dissociate to fall asleep. I find I dread the nightmares. I feel so childish writing this, but dissociation is not painful and I have gone through entire nights in such a state rather than sleep. Now that I'm remembering some of my dreams, this seems to be getting worse.

    My wife was calling to me the other day and she was only a few feet away. I rememer her words, " are you with us." How pathetic is that...

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  3. Blues in NYC

    Blues in NYC Active Member

    I dunno if I do this. When I dissociate, the room--and in more severe instance my body--change shape a lot. Space gets elongated and near seems far. Nightmares often wake me in a pretty confused state. I tend to have a lot of betrayal nightmares. Sometimes I'm the victim. Sometimes I'm the culprit. I wake up pretty confused regarding many of my relationships with others. I don't recall if when I go to sleep. Always assumed this was just the amnesia normally associated with being half asleep and trying to function or get back to sleep. Oh and sometimes I'll wake from a nightmare and go right back to it three four or five times in a night.

    The only thing that's been a break in this is the first couple days after some of my more recent EMDR sessions, I'll sometimes wake up feeling that tactile figure eight swishing inside my skull that I've come to associate with the bilateral audio component my doc uses with the EMDR and sometimes my eyes will be tracking as if I can see her fingers. Hasn't happened in a few days and I've had a couple medium/medium-bad days recently.

    Hmm... anyways, I'm good enough to make the wife dinner and she's getting home late from work tonight. Feels good to be able to carry any weight for her. One less thing for that woman to do.

    Best to you Cec. Hope you get some rest soon. Hang in there, bud!
  4. kers

    kers I'm a VIP

    When I dissociate, I often get very sleepy. If I get really deep into it, I space myself to sleep. Can't say this leads me to nightmares, though. I have found that dealing with dissociation is an ongoing battle, and not something easily won. It has helped me to try not to see dissociation as an enemy, and instead as an ally.

    It sounds like you have to break the cycle of dissociation to break the nightmares, maybe. So maybe work on brainstorming ways to cope with the nighttime panic without dissociating--finding other ways to feel safe and comfortable.
  5. dharmaBum

    dharmaBum Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Nightmare Aftermath

    This is how I feel after nightmares/stress sleep. I don't take medication, but I do take melatonin regularly (1mg at bedtime) to help fall asleep. I'm not sure how much of a difference there is between sleep/dreams and disassociation. I was fearing disassociation when it cropped up recently after being "vanquished" for a decade or more. I sought a second professional opinion when my counselor said the disassociation was a healthy coping mechanism. The second professional concurred w/the first.
  6. Blues in NYC

    Blues in NYC Active Member

    My doctor has asserted the same thing. And with her guidance has helped me realize that some of the different mental states I get into with my artwork are induced dissociative states.

    But they are different from the involuntary ones where it feels like the room (and my limbs) stretch. *shrug* We are what we are.
  7. cec

    cec Active Member

    Thanks, everyone for sharing, My psychiatrist said dissociation is a natural defense against what would otherwise be overwhelming stress. He said I had no other escape as a child, no other way out. So just as dharmaBum posted "it's a healthy coping mechanism. This makes so much sense because I remember periods when the Abuse was so bad I went off into what seemed like a different time dimension and separated from everything around me, It was like if you pricked me with a pin, I would not have felt it. I don't recall this, but my sister said at night she would find me outside instead of my bed, and to this day she thinks I was sleep walking.

    Blues in NYC, I did not know about voluntary and involuntary dissociation...thanks. Your body image changes must be hard for you as they do not sound voluntary at all.

    Kers: I do much the same as you except I have the involuntary kind also. I don't have a dissociative disorder though.

    What I have learned from all this that I we should not worry too much about dissociation, but work on the trauma eventually we will not need to dissociate...hard to believe. I can't remember who said their dissociation returned after not experiencing it for a while. Thats kinda spooky, I mean, do we ever get over this?

    Thanks again everyone and all the best in your recovery and treatment.

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