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9929880 tn?1406733810

Nightmares or some kind of sleep disorder?

My name is Ellie and I'm 18. I'm not sure how long I've been experiencing this but I know its been for several years, probably more than 7.

Most of the time I have dreams in which I wake up. I'm not sure if I'm really awake and aware of things or if I'm dreaming. But when this happens I'm always lying wherever I fell asleep. If it was in bed, I'd be in bed. If it was at my grandparents, I'd be at my grandparents. I always have an overwhelming sense of fear even though nothing overly scary is happening. I don't have hallucinations of someone in the room with me or anything like that. I don't feel a weight on my chest. I feel like my eyes are closed but I can see everything that surrounds me like they're open. I can't move an inch.

Usually I spend a while panicking and trying to move and trying to scream. I can't make a sound no matter how hard I try. I can't move a muscle either. A lot of the time it feels like my body IS moving but I can't see it happening. I usually sleep with my phone under my pillow and in the dream (if that is what it is) I'll try to grab it. I can feel my arm moving and I can feel the phone in my hand but I can see my arm still lying on the bed motionless. What I'm seeing and what I'm feeling doesn't match up.

Usually it ends when I force my eyes to open and suddenly I can move again and I've woken up truly. I don't know how I manage to force my eyes open when I couldn't before. Most of the time everything is silent, although one particular time I heard my mum talking outside my door and I tried to scream to her but I couldn't. I don't know if I was dreaming it or if my mum really WAS talking outside my door and it registered in my subconscious or something.

Those are only one type of nightmares I have. Tonight I had a different type that scared me so much I decided to post this, but I thought I should describe the first type as well just in case that had anything to do with it.

Tonight I had a nightmare that I usually have less frequently but I have had more than once over the years. Its been about an hour since I woke up from it so I can't really remember a whole lot. Basically I'll be dreaming normally (sometimes a normal dream, sometimes a regular nightmare) but then I'm in bed again like the first type of dream I described before. Instead of being paralyzed, though, I start to shake uncontrollably like a seizure. In this particular dream I had tonight, I remember trying to force myself awake by opening my eyes but it didn't work, I stayed asleep and I still couldn't stop shaking.

I go through several stages where I think I've woken up and think I'm safe before I start shaking again and realize that I'm still asleep. That happens a few times. I'm always terrified when it happens and I always feel like something else is causing the shaking- like an evil spirit or the like. I don't really believe in stuff like that but that's what I usually think it is while I'm dreaming.

I should note that I have not been diagnosed with epilepsy. I don't think I have epilepsy, at least not during the day time. Sometimes if I get up too fast or sometimes when I stretch, I get very very dizzy and sometimes while that happens I start to shake uncontrollably, but its pretty minor so its never worried me. I've fainted twice when I got really really dizzy. That's the only other times I can think of that involve shaking.

When I actually truly wake up I feel scared and upset but I don't feel sore like I've actually had a seizure so I'm not sure if my body is really shaking or if I'm just dreaming it. I always have to get up and do something after I wake up because if I let myself fall back asleep, I'll get sucked back into the nightmare and it'll happen all over again, shaking included. That's why I'm up writing this instead of going back to sleep since I'm too scared.

When I woke up I could see red patterns all over the place, my mind playing tricks on me maybe? It slowly faded every time I blinked. Probably not related but I thought I should mention it.

Both of these kinds of nightmares happen somewhat regularly. Not all that often to be honest, but enough that I'm sick of them. I've never had any other reoccurring nightmare, these two are the only ones that have happened more than once. If I had to guess I would say they happen maybe ten times a year, but that's a very rough estimate.

Some additional information that might help: I'm pretty sure I have restless leg syndrome but its never been properly diagnosed. I have been diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder. I used to take medication to help me sleep but I don't anymore. I also used to take medication for the depression and anxiety but I don't anymore with those either. I've never done any sleepwalking but I have sleeptalked on very rare occasions. Before I fell asleep tonight I had difficulty actually falling asleep and I was feeling very stressed out since I've just started uni and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I can't remember if stress is the cause because I don't remember individual times these things have happened other than tonight since it was most recent. I just remember that they happened.

If anyone can tell me if these are just nightmares or if they're night terrors or nocturnal seizures or something, it would be appreciated. If its not just a nightmare I would like to have it checked out. If it is just a nightmare, it would at least give me peace of mind to know its not something serious. Thank you in advance! x
2 Responses
9929880 tn?1406733810
I also want to add that I took medication for sleeping a few years ago because I always used to wake up during the night. I could never sleep the whole night through, I would always wake up for maybe a minute before falling back asleep and that could happen several times throughout the night.
612551 tn?1450022175
You seem to know you are dreaming and can't wake up, can't wake yourself up.  You might try waking up while awake and try to "program" you mind to do that every time you see something like the onset of the nightmare.

I did that when I was a youngster, younger than you are now.  I practiced by simply trying to open my eyes wide.. and that's what I did when entering into a nightmare situation during sleep  This woke me up before anything happened. This led to a great reduction in night mares,  I'm an old guy and and it is very rare for me to have a nightmare... I hang on on this forum because I am not trouble by "trouble mares"... just dreams that upset me, not frighten me.

Look up "Lucid Dreaming" on the web, there may be some helpful ideas there.  I like the book by Stephen LaBerge (think that is the name)  he's with Stanford University in CA  USA.
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