Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | List of forums | Search | FAQ

strange sleep disturbances, and Klon startup

Posted by zeugma on November 8, 2003, at 16:23:29

For many years, I've been prone to a strange sleep disturbance that I'm not sure I know how to explain. Starting at the age of 23, while falling asleep late at night, I would get a painful rushing sensation in my head, often accompanied by by noises like that of a plane taking off, and terrible headache. I would struggle to wake up and would have to go through a series of false awakenings that were rather terrifying to experience. Invariably, they would occur immediately after going to sleep. When I would finally fight my way awake only a few minutes would have elapsed on the clock since falling asleep.

Later these disturbances would occur preceded by a dream, in which I would recognize something as 'wrong'- I would perceive that I was actually dreaming, and for some reason this would fill me with terror. I would feel that I had to wake up or be trapped in the dream and possibly die. Again, a series of false awakenings- in which dream imagery would give way to blackness- would take place, and after each false awakening I would realize something was 'wrong' and try to wake myself up. Rushing sounds, and tearing headache would accompany these events. Finally I'd wake up, often gasping for breath, and again only a few moments would have elapsed on the clock.

As my depression and other disorders worsened as I entered my thirties, these episodes seemed to become more frequent and severe. Sometimes I would have series of these dreamlike events through the night, completely blocking any sleep. Once, I remember dreaming that I was having an epileptic seizure, and as I was convulsing on the floor of my apartment, I distinctly remember telling myself that when I woke up, I would dial 91 and tell them that I needed an ambulance. I described this dream to my neuropsychologist, and she called it a 'lucid dream' since I was fully aware that I was dreaming: and she was amazed at the frequency with which I had them (sometimes I'd get them every night for a week). I asked her if they could be epileptic, as they felt like electrical shocks passing through my brain (and causing a lot of pain). She told me that epileptics don't usually experience pain when their seizures take place. But they certainly FEEL epileptic to me.

Anyway, to the reason I'm posting this now. Since I restarted psychotropic meds (first nortriptyline, then buspirone, and most recently Strattera) I've exp[erienced a steady decline in both the number and intensity of episodes. This may partly be related that until I restarted meds, my sleep patterns were terribly chatic and the episodes would usually occur late at night after a bout of insomnia. Now this week I started a demanding new job, and I've had to get up earlier than 5 am some mornings in order to get to work on time. So I've been getting a lot less sleep than usual, and that always seemed to be a trigger for attacks. But I also just started clonazepam 0.25 mg bid yesterday, and last night I had the first attack in several months. And the attack was different- where previous attacks were 'dreamlike', in that they would usually begin by my noticing something odd in my environment that led me to suspect I was dreaming, and that would trigger a struggle to awaken, causing a series of false awakenings and electrical sensations in my brain- this had no dream content, in fact it felt 'hallucinatory.' I saw flashes of light (and heard the same kind of sounds that characterized the 'struggle' phase of the event) and the flashes had patterns, not at all like the random electrical jolts I used to experience. Plus it felt if anything MORE intense than what I used to get. Again, this occured immediately after going to sleep.

I was disturbed and naturally suspected the Klonopin, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions. After all, a known trigger for these things is lack of sleep, and that's been the case this week. I didn't feel too ill after waking up, and soon after I was able to fall asleep without sequelae.

Today I worked at my old job, and my boss commented on how calm I was considering I'd started a sterssful new job this week. I thought, "THe Klonopin's working." Anxiety has been terribly debilitating in my life and impeded my professional advancement, my social life, everything. And it has been completely resistant to every other form of treatment- SSRI's, TCA's, Buspar. Strattera hasn't helped my anxiety either. I felt a sense of well being today which I haven't felt at least since the age of five (when I was forced to go to school- school phobia struck hard and early, and never relented, combining with severe ADHD and later depression to leave my life in chaos).

So today I worked till 1, came home feeling quite relaxed decided to take a nap at 4. I had the 'hallucinatory' experience again. It5's protracted and painful- except the headache goes away after waking up. Am I right to be concerned about this? I am aware that 'hypnagogic' hallucinations are common, and nothing to worry about. Is that all these are? It really feels while it's happening that my brain is firing convulsively, and I become terrified that I'll damage it if I let it continue- hence the struggle to awake. KLonopin is an anticonvulsant, so what bearing could that have? Even though I have a sense of well being that I've hardly ever experienced, I am not going to want to go through these events on a daily basis. Does anyone have any insight? Or is this 'normal' and harmless?




Post a new follow-up

Your message only Include above post

Notify the administrators

They will then review this post with the posting guidelines in mind.

To contact them about something other than this post, please use this form instead.


Start a new thread

Google www
Search options and examples
[amazon] for

This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | FAQ
Psycho-Babble Medication | Framed

poster:zeugma thread:277778