“A man who doesn’t dream is like a man who doesn’t sweat: he stores up a lot of poison.”

13 Nov

It’s early, it’s snowing, and I want the dreams to stop.

On previous drugs, on anti-convulsants, I slept like a baby. No dreams, no waking up at night unless I really had to go, just 8 hours of blackness, sweet sweet sleepy blackness. With lithium, I don’t have the luxury of this sleep. One of the most important actions I can do as someone with bipolar is to regulate my sleeping patterns-if I start losing sleep, I can start cycling, and it can get ugly real fast.

I toss. I turn. I’m up multiple times a night. I kick the cat, then kick the cat again. And I have the dreams.

Dreams in which guns are held to my head. Dreams in which someone is chasing me, endlessly chasing me down hallways and streets, rain wet alleys with no exit. I’m running and scared in my dreams, I’m terrified and lonely, worried for the people around me. My home is invaded, and all I can see are big black guns. Or I’m a soldier, and about to die.

It’s always the same. Always has been, since I was younger. They aren’t nightmares technically, but they are very bad dreams from which I wake up shaken. They aren’t as bad as the one I had once about having to watch Vivian freeze to death through a window, but they aren’t walks in the park.

I had taken for granted the soothing affect of my previous drugs, the ability of them to lull me to a quiescent sleep. Now I have my own brain to contend with, and it worries me that these dreams are just the gatekeepers on the madness that will burst forth regardless. These dreams feed the fear that nothing will ever make me better. Normal people don’t dream of death night after night.

And what am I running from? What could I possibly have left to confront in my life? Do I use bipolar as a crutch, as an excuse to be normal and rational and calm? Do I need to confront myself on letting go of my sickness, on becoming a whole person? Or is there secretly another little person locked in my head who wants out, and I won’t let out?

It’s enough to drive a girl mad. Seriously.

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5 Responses to ““A man who doesn’t dream is like a man who doesn’t sweat: he stores up a lot of poison.””

  1. bine November 13, 2007 at 9:34 am #

    sounds like a silly scrap of advice, but what works good for me is autogenic training. there’s a lot of other stuff, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, herbal teas, but it all sounds pretty lame when i read about your nightmares.
    i hope this may be a side effect of the lithium that disappears eventually. of the little i know about medical chemistry i remember that lithium and magnesium have a diagonal relationship, and that magnesium deficiency causes insomnia. maybe it would be worth looking into that.

  2. Grandma Mary Joan November 13, 2007 at 11:44 am #

    I have found out the hard way how important it is to get enough sleep. I didn’t have much luck with lithium; lamictal has been my wonder drug for 11 years. Benadryl always works for me as a sleeping pill. It leaves me drowsy when I wake up, but coffee takes care of that.

  3. thordora November 13, 2007 at 11:55 am #

    For some reason, my doctor will NOT give me lamictal, and I don’t know why. The lithium seems to be working-it’s just not blocking out the draems like the others have done.

  4. cerebralmum November 13, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    I don’t know enough about bipolar and the drugs to be of any use, but I can say that “normal” people do dream of death or at least, have unpleasant nightmares night after night. Some, anyway. I tend to think that dreams try to tell us something, in a dark, strange language. I tend to think that if we understand them, we can fix them and the dreams will go away. But when you can’t fix them, because of the way your brain is wired, that seems to be a mightily unfair burden to have to bear.

  5. marcelarhodus November 14, 2007 at 6:09 am #

    can I send you a hug?

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