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Suicidal during sleep, half awake state

Discussion in 'Sleep' started by SteveRacer, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. SteveRacer

    SteveRacer Demon on Wheels

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    Before the onset of my fatigue, I've struggled for years with sleep problems. In the last couple of years, I've had some strange episodes, which often include me getting "stuck" in a strange half-asleep state where I can't quite wake up all the way but can't sleep. In this state, I end up believing things that are irrational, and also things that just aren't real. Part of me knows they make no sense but they seem so strong. Lately, when I have one of these episodes, I have been getting strong suicidal urges. Very strong.

    Usually I'm too tired to do anything about it, I just lie there and try to tell myself it's not really that bad. But what ends up happening is I get stuck in this half-awake suicidal state for hours. Instead of sleeping I'm just lying there fighting off thoughts of suicide for hours and hours.

    Sometimes I eventually sleep, sometimes I don't. After a while, I will finally get out of the state and become fully awake. Then I feel fine, like life is ok, even with my problems, there certainly is no reason for suicide. I wonder why I felt that way. I can't understand what is happening to me. However, the urges are so strong when this happens I am afraid one day I may give in to them.

    I feel safe telling you all this, I don't even tell most of my friends, obviously. But I know you all have strange sleep and other symptoms. Maybe someone knows more about this? I saw something somewhere about a half-asleep state or something. I wonder if there is anything I can do...
     
  2. boomer

    boomer Senior Member

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    I will be interested to hear the views of others. I am not knowledgeable about this but I would guess that your feelings may be related to anxiety. During the day, you are active and distracted. When you lay down to sleep you may be more in touch with your concerns about your life. I would try a part of a weak clonazepam (the smallest amount you need to achieve a slightly more relaxed sleep) and see if this gives you a better quality sleep feeling more refreshed in the morning. So I think it is only anxiety. When you are feeling this, I would remind myself how different you feel when you are awake and going about your day. The difference is like night and day. Best wishes.
     
  3. Mya Symons

    Mya Symons Mya Symons

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    Could it be a medication your taking?

    Hi SteveRacer. You don't by any chance take a sleeping pill like Ambien do you? I took Ambien and started having strange thoughts and doing strange things. Apparently, it has a possible side effect of sleep walking. One night I got in my car, drove to the mailbox and thencame back and tried to get into my neighbors house thinking it was mine. Luckily my neighbors are my inlaws. I did not remember it until I noticed my car was parked in the wrong parking lot and then it came back to me. It was like something I was not in control of and did not realize what I was doing at the time. I now don't take Ambien or any other sleeping medicine.

    Whatever this is, it is definately something you need to talk to your doctor about.
     
  4. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    The half awake, half asleep state is called the hypnagogia state. It is a mix of your conscious and subconscious mind and hence you will get weird thoughts or feel or see things which arent there.

    One can program oneself during the day in ways which will impact into that state. You can try programming your mind during the day to wake up if you start experiencing horrible things in that state. eg just think regularly during the day "I will make myself fully wake up and get out of bed to stop it.. so i can try again to go back to bed and go straight to sleep" Get in your mind it will benefit you to wake yourself up if you find yourself in that state thinking those thoughts. It IS very hard for anyone.. CFS or not to drag oneself out of that state as one usualy does experience very very tired in that state if one is trying to wake up. Hence why one tries to train their mind to do that during the day while awake.. and hopefully it will flow to your dreams.

    Your thoughts of suicide are your subconscious thoughts.. I wonder if you are depressed? It could also be just symbolic (the subconscious often speaks symbolically) for wanting to get rid of, kill a part of yourself eg wanting to kill the CFS part of you, so may not necessarily be linked to depression.

    It is also possible to train the waking mind to take over more and control the dream.. you might want to think about trying to change the actual dream.. see yourself in your thoughts taking other actions other than suicide.. see yourself screaming "STOP" i do not want that and then seeing you know you are in a dream.. You can make the dream anything you wish.. create fantasy you like. That's called lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is done from the state you are reexperiencing, it is possible to take over a nightmare and change it (I used to take control of my dreams and lucid dream a lot, it's fun).
     
  5. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Mya did a good post.. i hadnt thought of that. Sleeping pills can make someone get stuck in such states.

    I agree.. please make sure it isnt your sleeping pills. I used to know someone who ended up naked in the middle of a highway due to a sleeping pill. She was dreaming and thought she was somewhere else.
    ..................

    I forgot to say that lucid dreaming states and nightmares are more common in CFS than the average population. That is something i studied years ago.
     
  6. caledonia

    caledonia

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    I just saw a thing on the Rachel Ray show about sleep paralysis, that kind of sounds like what you're experiencing. Except the lady was in a strong state of fear, was also paralyzed, and felt that there was someone in the room who was going to kill her if she moved.

    There is another thing called hypnagogia where as you're either falling asleep or waking up, you can have some delusional thinking, but you're not paralyzed.

    Here's a wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnagogia

    The sleep paralysis people could be treated with some kind of medicine. The one lady decided not to take meds - she said just talking about it and learning that she wasn't crazy was enough.

    Anyway, I would talk to your doc, and see if you can get a referral to a sleep specialist. You might find out some really interesting things with a sleep study - I know I did.
     
  7. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    With sleep paralyses one is trying very very hard to move and cant....
    If i understood the original post correctly.. he feels too tired to get up (which is normal for the hynagogia state, in this state ones brain usually stays sleepy unless one is used to doing things consciously in this state) ..

    with sleep paralyses (still the same kind of state), but one tends to panic.. one often dont feel tired as one panics when they've "woken up" but finds they still cant move. This fear can add to the whole drama by then creating things which look real and you often think the things are going to get you. I used to get sleep paralyses. To break that state, Ive found the best method is to focus on a toe and try to wiggle it. Its hard but after a while one will slowly find you can move the toe and you can then use the toe to pull out of the paralyses state.
     
  8. SteveRacer

    SteveRacer Demon on Wheels

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    Thanks! Never had sleep paralysis, though my ex wife did, she told me about it. Sounded pretty awful.

    Yes, this is definitely hypnagogia :) No, I'm not currently taking anything to sleep like that... I have gone through tons of pills but pretty much without exception side effects were worse than going without. I was addicted to Xanax once, will never take a benzo again. Sometimes I take an herbal to sleep, Sleep MD, or benadryl, but that's not every night.

    I'm kind of out of money right now for doctors... probably will be a couple weeks till I get to one. I don't even have one to go to anymore -- I just quit my last one. (Going to try to find a new one here in LA.)

    Thanks for the input... any other thoughts are welcome.
     
  9. willow

    willow Senior Member

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    Usually I sleep really well but I've had episodes of hypnagogia (a new word for me) and sleep paralysis.

    My angle on my hypnagogia was that I was sort of trapped between wakefulness and sleep and it was a torment. there'd be fleeting moments of normal consciousness but almost as soon as i was aware of them they vanished. I'd try and struggle back to the more wakeful state then be sucked back to the tormented half awake state. Maybe it's not such a huge jump to see wakefulness as vibrant life, sleep as death and the inbetween state as closer to death but not quite there. Then suicide might seem an easier way to escape the torment???

    Or are the suicidial just part of the distorted neuro function and I've gone off on one.

    In any case here's what I did and would do again, no idea if it would work for anyone else. Knowing that I can get stuck in the half awake half asleep state I had a talk with myself a few times before hand that if it happened during the fleeting moments of greater wakefulness I would aim to breath in to them and for me that makes them a bit longer. The next bit of the plan is to find something close to my bed that I could touch that felt very real and would hopefully jolt me to full consciousness. Metal bits on my bed frame are cold, so I chose those. It took practise but I could string enough of the greater wakefulness moments together so that I could touch the cold metal and a couple of touches of that and I came round.

    BTW you said you're taking herbal sleep meds? Maybe they have similar properties to conventional pharma... If they had no pharmaceutical properties they wouldn't do owt.
     
  10. helsbells

    helsbells Senior Member

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    I know generally i can feel more depressed, anxious to the point of panic attack while recumbant and when I was diagnosed with dysautonomia told this is because autonomics aren't regulating corretly and there is deep tissue oxygen depravation this put the body physiologically in a fight or flight state, particularly when lying down. When you feel physiologically under threat your mind will find appropraite thoughts, i would wake up thinking about all kinds of horrible things, literally waken with eyes as wide as saucers but on getting up and walking round these thoughts would disapear into the ether. So for me the physiological state creates the thoughts not the other way round. I am taking sleeping meds at the moment when i can tolerate.
     
  11. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

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    Count me in with this hypnagogia stuff. I don't know if it would help at all, but since you've mentioned doing alternative stuff you might appreciate that these are classic "wind" symptoms in traditional Chinese medicine. Now, there are 6 or so different kinds of wind, but what you're describing, and what I've experienced, is made a little bit easier for me because now I can identify it as "Oh, I'm having an internal wind problem." It helped me to distinguish that even though the symptoms feel very psychological, the basis is physiological and is very very strong and almost impossible to treat with Western meds imo. Basically, when I was given herbs for this "insomnia" I was describing, and the terrible and relentless fear and panic (and all of the rest of it) just started to go away within a day of starting the herbs. It showed me how clearly the psych symptoms were part of the physical symptoms, not that I was somehow causing the insomnia, panic, etc. because I was not dealing consciously with anxiety.

    I don't mean to say that there is no psych stuff that goes on around sleep, we've all (even the healthy population) got stuff that affects our sleep, but it's not as simple as anxiety. The Chinese concepts of vacuity and deficiency are a great framework to understand these symptoms better.

    Man, that is just a happy memory. I'd actually forgotten that I used to wake energized and spring out of bed! I've always had sleep problems, since birth, but used to be able to feel rested from sleep and that is really something that's pleasant to remember.
     
  12. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    SteveRacer,

    Have you checked out the Co-cure site?
     
  13. muffin

    muffin Senior Member

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    I feel safe in saying that many, if not most of us, have had suicidal thoughts at all times of the day and night. It's sort of an outlet for being out of your body and situation. But, I do wonder if this isn't something more and that you need to tell a GOOD doctor about this. I have had many weird sleep disorder type things go on including being so paralyzed that I could not move and lift my face out of a pillow and almost suffocated. I also have the hypnogic thing going on often. Can NOT wake up and out of sleep and so go back to sleep to see if I will finally wake up. I had this pretty severe for four solid days after having Low Energy Neurofeedback. But, the qreat insight here was are you on any sort of sleep medications???? Those are KNOW to cause suicidal thoughts. If you are, get OFF of them asap. Those meds cause some horrible issues, eps. Ambien CR. Both my husband and I had major issues taking Ambien CR (and for me, just the Ambien).

    It's all very scary and all very real. I do think you need to tell a doctor about this situation though. Don't allow them to tell you that you are crazy, etc. Something is really going on with your brain and you need to find out what and how to get it to stop.

    Never be worried about saying anything on this site. We all have been through so much. Every weird symptom out there and one of us, and usually many of us have had it/them. So good that you speak up and ask.
    But I would see what a good doctor says about this. I do doubt that you would go forward with any action, but you still need to find out what is going on and get it "fixed: or understood.
    Can't tell you how often those thoughts have gone through my mind. Doesn't mean I will do it, just a release of sorts from a disease that is horrible.
    Update us as you deal with this issue. Hugs - S
     
  14. shiso

    shiso Senior Member

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    zoe a.m., thanks a lot for the interesting TCM information. I am definitely going to ask my TCM doctor about it (haven't gone to him after a while since he was trying to "fix" my whole ME/CFS in the beginning which was too ambitious of a task in retrospect!). I take Chinese herbs for digestion issues and find them very effective for that.

    I guess trial and error is the only way to go for those of us with serious sleep issues.
     
  15. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

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    Muffin, the low energy neurofeedback is something I'm really interested in; when I have the brainpower, I'm going to tackle that thread. Yes, aren't the sleep meds just darling when you've got ME/CFS!? If I am looking to NOT sleep, I'll be sure to take one. Or, if I feel like cleaning my place, going through books, writing bizarre stuff or just knocking out for an hour and then being crazy awake/asleep for the next several hours, I'll take an ambien (the whole group). It cracked me up that a few years later it all came out that people were eating, driving, shopping, etc. while on it. I wonder how many people it actually puts to sleep? If your biochemistry is fairly normal, those meds seem to work well.

    Shiso, It can be tough to get a TCM doc to be satisfied with what you know is good and real progress! Unlike regular doc's, they seem to really hold their own feet to the fire about helping us--at least in my experience. Yes, I find digestion issues are probably best worked with with TCM, and that really runs the gamut of digestive issues. The herbs to help with internal wind just weren't working for me recently and I was getting more and more frustrated and nutso from lack of rest. I try to really not put that on my practitioner, but I finally broke down and was like "try something else, please!" and he got back to me and said he had 2 other directions in mind and would start with the one. Within one day things began to improve slightly. I guess he spent the next weekend studying with an herbal master and told me that he'd been right on with the latest herbs and knew where to go next, but it wasn't an obvious thing if you look at the symptoms--TCM is so complex--so it made me appreciate just how complicated the whole Wind stuff is.

    I would just add acceptance to this list. Not long-term, I'm never going to sleep-type acceptance, but the "it may be awhile before things improve" or just being okay with being awake at 3am when I'm tired and have been for 6 hours. I think that's the old mindfulness training kicking back in.

    I can't tell you how oddly cool it's been to find this thread and find out about hypnagogia thing. I really wouldn't have guessed I had company.
     
  16. Marco

    Marco Old blackguard

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    Many years ago, at the onset of illlness, I had regular, what I believed to be hypnogogic hallucinations.

    I'd be in a semi sleep state and would feel there was a body on top of me gripping me tightly and holding me paralysed (sleep paralysis). Occasionally this was accompanied by voices (not mine) shouting obscenities. Wacky eh?

    This is apparently where the old legend of the incubus/succubus comes from.

    It was, I admit, initially terrifying but it became so regular that I was eventually able, during the state, to recognise what was happening and that it wasn't harmful and would soon pass.

    Shortly afterwards the problem stopped for good.
     
  17. pollycbr125

    pollycbr125 Senior Member

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    I can honestly say I have never had suicidal thoughts due to this illness
     

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