Tag Archives: awake

How to Scare Your Nightmares

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“When I was in rehab I was cursed with using dreams. I went to one of my conselours and told her how it effect me; I felt helpless, I felt guilty and worst of all, I felt scared. She began to explain to me the working of lucid dreaming.

“Lucidity means ‘moment of clarity.’ When paired with ‘dream,’ it defines how one is aware that they are sleeping thereby realizing that they are not experiencing physical reality. This alters the dynamics of dreaming by enhancing the perception of control. Once they are conscious within this state they will be able to change outcomes, people, places, things and heighten senses.

“With practice, I have been able to dream lucidly. I can get out of nightmares by flying away or manifesting someone to help. I can even request to be on a beach in Goa or see an old friend before I fall asleep and immediately have that desire fulfilled. Grant it, sometimes I am not so lucky, I may get there or see them and things go array but the beauty of knowing that it isn’t real allows me to at least attempt a quick fix. I do warn you that the excitement of the awareness may cause you to wake up— sometimes within the dream itself. Thats when things get confusing.

“I am also guilty of requesting types of using dreams in hopes that I will remember whats its like. The first attempt at this scared me so much because it all seemed too real. Where I experienced this high was in my own home, it all was so vivid that I literally could not tell that I was dreaming. That dream frightened me so much that before I go to bed I pray that I do not feel that ever again.” – I hope you find this useful. Please give it a try, you will be amazed at what you can do! Love, Robyn

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Benefits of Lucid Dreaming to People in Recovery from Addiction

Those individuals who manage to break away from addiction face many challenges in recovery. If they fail to overcome these obstacles it will prevent them from finding real happiness; it will also increase their risk of relapse. Any technique that can help strengthen their sobriety is always going to be welcome. Lucid dreaming may be able to do this in a number of ways including:

  • It gives them a safe environment where they can face their inner demons. If people become lucid in the middle of a nightmare they can make a decision to confront their fear. Those dreamers who do this usually report that their nightmare turns into a far more pleasant experience afterwards. When they wake up they will tend to feel like some inner conflict had been resolved. Such a cathartic effect is highly beneficial to people in recovery.
  • People in the first few years of recovery can feel uncertain about the future; they may have no real idea about what to do with their life. Lucid dreaming allows them to come in contact with their unconscious desires and hidden aspirations. The individual can use this information to chart a new course in life.
  • It makes it possible for the individual to use their sleep time productively. They can practice using their new coping strategies or other recovery skills.

Lucid Dream Dangers for Addicts

Lucid dreaming can be highly beneficial but there are potential dangers such as:

  • Some people may be tempted to indulge in fantasies of using drugs or alcohol again. This is dangerous because it will weaken their resolve to stay sober. Relapse in a dream can lead to relapse in reality.
  • It will be harmful if the individual becomes too obsessed with their dreams. They may use it as a means to escape reality; much in the same way that they once used substance abuse.

There is some concern that dealing with the unconscious mind can be potentially dangerous. The worry is that the individual will come across something that they are not yet ready to face. This concern tends to be overstated as most people only report positive outcomes from such contact with the unconscious mind in the lucid dream.

How to Dream Lucidly

Some people will achieve lucidity in dreams without ever making any special effort; they may not have even realized that it was possible to achieve lucidity beforehand. If the individual is trying to induce lucidity it can be difficult; at least in the beginning. Here are some of the techniques that have been show to be beneficial for promoting lucid dreams:

  • One of the most popular techniques for inducing lucid dreams are reality checks. This method requires that people regularly check to see if they are dreaming throughout the day. There are many differences between the real world and the dreaming world, and the purpose of reality checks is to notice these differences. If the individual becomes accustomed to doing reality checks in the waking world they will automatically begin to do them when they are dreaming too.
  • Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD) is a far more involved technique. The goal of this method is for the body to fall asleep without the mind losing awareness. One way of achieving this involves setting an alarm so that the individual wakes up 6 hours after falling asleep. They then get up for about an hour. When the individual goes back to bed they will put all their focus on staying aware as they fall back asleep. This method is also known as the wake back to bedtechnique.
  • Mnemonic induced lucid dreaming (MILD) also involves interrupting sleep. The aim here is to wake up during a dream; the person sets their alarm so that it goes off during the middle of REM sleep. Once they are woken up by the alarm the individual will try to recall their dream in as much detail as possible. They will then imagine themselves becoming lucid in this dream. As they fall back to sleep the person will focus their mind on achieving lucidity.
  • There are a number of devices that are believed to help people become lucid in dreams. One gadget involves wearing a special type of cover over the eyes. This monitors for rapid eye movement, and when these occur the device directs flashing lights towards the eyelid. These lights can notify the dreamer that they are asleep. Binaural beats are also believed to help some people achieve lucidity in their dreams.

Take Two

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Now she sits here in the local coffee shop. She couldn’t resist. She told herself she was going to the library to read only now she’s people watching as she sips on an iced red eye with two extra shots of espresso. What will this do, she wonders. She didn’t sleep last night. She was busy. Yes. Busy. Busy doing things like watching television, painting, reading and chain smoking. It was a good night. She busied her mind. Now she sits jittery, wondering what to do next. The AA meeting didn’t do a good job of convincing her not to do drugs. Right now a relapse doesn’t seem so awful. Especially when her mother is still drinking. She’s found the proof today when she emptied out the dishwasher; only one of the many things she has accomplished today– oh the power of the awake! It was a wine glass. Why else would there be a single wine glass in the dishwasher? Had her mother fancied herself a glass of fancy 2% milk in a fancy glass for the (what the hell, why not?) fancy night? She thinks not. Its clear her mother likes to get lost in the mess of unmade clarity just like her. She misses it, but that feeling is fleeting. She can’t really relapse. Too much is at stake. Plus it would totally mess up her experiment. It’s been so long since she had done one of these. Before, when she was in college studying massage and oriental medicine, she had constantly experimented with her diet. She tried the regular vegan, the Jain vegan (no root vegetables), the only-fruit vegan, the only-water vegan (aka, anorexia). It was fun for her. Feeling her body express a sense of transformation through her control. But only now it is not her body she is examining; it’s her mind.

Ever since she got diagnosed bipolar about six months ago, she had a hard time accepting what it meant. As far as she could tell, bipolar one meant you were crazy. She surely acknowledges the fact that she was crazy… At least for about two months.. But that psychosis was drug induced. She is sure of it. She never went through such a mind-bending experience before. But she is young, she has time to go through it again– if she so choose. It seems that by neglecting the medicine that regulates and stabilizes her mood is one way to contribute to her experiment. She still takes the one in the morning that is a relatively new addition to her daily pill intake. This one isn’t supposed to kick in for another week or so and it mainly deals with suppressing the depressive stage of bipolar. This will do wonderfully, she thinks. This will increase my chances of mania over depression. She even rationalized a reason to drink caffeine again. Once considered another drug in her eyes, coffee is now a way to support her cause. But perhaps, her mind trails, this is too much coffee. She hasn’t had coffee in months. Caffeine in general– in months. She notices her hands beginning to shake. She has another two cups to go. It was a large that she ordered. Twenty ounces. She takes another sip making a pouty face and quivering at the bitter taste. She will definitely have to pee about four time by the end of the hour… But that’s no concern. What’s on her mind now is what to do with all this time before she has to go to her outpatient program. She was going to workout, only her stomach is filled with acid. Maybe in a couple of hours, after the peeing, when her stomach settles…Suddenly she has a thought; you know, come to think of it, this coffee is something like a laxative for me. This can be beneficial to my eating disorder which in turn may help set off my experiment. She hadn’t eaten much all day. She drank a bit of a fruit smoothie but everything that was solid had later been purged. She was hungry, but now she just feels sick with coffee overload.

Why is this light on? It’s clearly not providing anything useful to this shop! Its daylight. It may not be super sunny, there are scattered clouds, but the sky is the brightest blue I’ve seen in a while. Her thoughts have trailed onward to report the weather apparently. But she’s right. The past week had been cold and bleak. Grey sky’s and falling leaves, rain and a shy full moon at night. She had gotten lost in depression to the point of that new prescription. She confessed to her psychologist that she was fed up with feeling so anxious and helpless. She preferred mania over the feeling of such worthlessness. But most bipolar people do, her doctor reminded her. “This doesn’t mean you should trail off from your meds, they will work in time, give it time.” Fuck time. That’s when she decided to try this experiment. Now she thinks; I should really document all this! Maybe write a book: How to Get Out of Depression, for Bipolar Freaks. Wonderful! She laughs out loud at herself…

Step one. Only take the meds that promote the opposite of how you want to feel.
Step two. Stay up. Just do it. Make yourself do it. You can do it!
Step three. Don’t do drugs.
Step four. Do drink caffeine.
Step five. Eat irregularly. Whatever that means for you.
Step six. Keep busy. If your mind says you should do something, take it up on its impulse and do it.

That’s all she has now. Only it’s not proven yet. This is just the procedure of the experiment. The hypothesis being that she will gain a heightened mood, release any social fears, and possibly set off psychosis… Although she is hoping she will be able to notice when this state comes on so as to avoid it… She will have to write an entirely new book on how to come down slowly from mania without falling quickly into depression.

She makes a note of this.

Now for a moment she is detoured from her thoughts to see an old customer she used to cater to when she worked at this coffee shop she sits in now. What a nice lady, she has no idea what this girl is going through mentally. Blah blah blah. The customers name is Jane. She orders an iced mocha of sorts. She can’t remember all her modifications. I think its a medium iced mocha with half the amount of regular pumps of sauce and nonfat milk, she recalls. That must be it. Jane has alway been a bit of a chatty Kathy but you should have heard the conversation this bipolar/addict was able to keep up. She sounded so normal. So intelligent. But wait, now she’s distracted by the funny police officer with this wide-brimmed hat. He seems to be deep in conversation with this couple of average looking Americans. She wonders what all the hullabaloo is all about. Whatever. Her mind moves to another topic. Only wait, she forgot it already. Look at the leaves run around! Oh lord. She’s almost done with her coffee. Maybe two or three more sips. Oh wait! She remembers what she was thinking but had forgotten! It was about the funny hat. She recalls the police in India. They wore even funnier hats! They looked like they had been taken right out of an old western film where the cowboys run around wearing gallon caps, big and black, but on an Indian, but not a Native American Indian, an India Indian. Ha! The leaves spin in a whirlwind. Creating a circle, a sequence of swirls that drift beyond the ally just outside the shop window. It’s like her mind. La dee da dee da. Spinning in and out of this or that. Around and around, repeating the same thought soon after it drifts into the abyss. At least she can still catch them before their completely gone.

One more hour to waste before she heads to the YMCA to workout. Only she really doesn’t want to go. She hasn’t gone for the past two days and today’s heavy stomach is begging her to stay. Maybe after IOP (her outpatient program) I can go to the Y? Or I can go for a run. I should have went earlier. I knew I should have gone earlier. Tomorrow’s a new day. Only now she can’t decide if she should sleep or not. And what will she say in group today? Will she admit to her lack of sleep? Her surge of inspiration and creativity? Her hours of lolly gagging and tail wagging? We will see.

There are now two officers in funny hats! So serious… She wonders what’s going on but quickly loses interest.

Energy! Energy! Energy! Yes! She will go to the Y! She wants to run in circles! But it’s too early to leave now. She will be there for three hours. But she could go now for an hour then go to the library and roll around in her head some more. Its possible. It’s all possible. Anything is possible! Life is so thrilling! How exciting is it that she gets to live today! Not knowing where her life will take her! She hasn’t a clue! She hasn’t a care! But she knows there are so many directions it can turn, its like a real-life simulation– like the matrix too! She can manipulate it to get what she wants. Oooooo.

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Yup. This is getting weird. At least she can notice she is getting weird. But should she care? Oh God! She just noticed this hideous painting to her right. Its titled “Romance,” by Ron Strum, its hanging on the wall next to the window she has been so preoccupied with. It’s obviously an oil. Completely dull colours. There sits a sad excuse for a bouquet of flowers with a candelabra and a creepy-ass sculpted dove that really would have been better off without those beady eyes. How do things like this sell? She really wants to get back into doing art again. She managed to squeeze out two unfinished projects in the past two days. That’s more than what she’s managed to produce in the past three years! She used to be quite the acclaimed artist. At least, in her “grandiose,” bipolar mind. But honestly, she did win several First Place awards and Best In Show twice in a row (which happened to be the only two times she even presented in the high school art show). But she left behind her dreams to wallow in a progressing drug addiction. She blamed it on the colleges that clearly could not recognize her potential. Although, she tends to skip past the fact that her essays sucked. I don’t even think I ever reread them... Probably deserved failure, despite all the hard work and passion she put into her pieces, she really didn’t realize that she’d have to talk the talk too. Such a pity. But she digresses as she remembers now, anything is possible!