Do dreams/nightmares have anything to do with mental illness?

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abertha

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I can't find anything out about it online. Wondered what you thought. I have constant nightmares, and have done for some years, yet I have been told I laugh in my sleep frequently. I was wondering if mental health had any influence on dreams.
 
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schizolanza

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I reckon it does.
I have weird dreams that seem to last all night.
I've been told I laugh in my sleep aswell.
 
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unlucky

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I'm not so sure - I know that when I'm on certain medications I have some horrific nightmares but I think everyone has bad dreams whether you have issues or not. I don't think its ever been proven either way, but then I don't know much!!
 
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HONEYSWEET

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i think nightmares happen wen yr worried bout something or youve seen stuff on tv any1 can have them
 
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Apotheosis

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I was wondering if mental health had any influence on dreams.
I would rather ask the question the other way around - does sleep/dreams affect & influence mental health.

There are a few threads on this site on the subject. Recent research suggests that problems with sleep may be a cause for certain mental disturbance. There is a theory that schizophrenia is caused by a malfunction in REM sleep - causing people to 'dream while awake'.

I have always had very bizarre dreams, & a lot of nightmares.

http://www.templeofdreams.com/
 
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GrizzlyBear

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I sleep like a log. 8 hours or more every day - undisturbed. I dream but usually forget the dreams. I have bad dreams (that I remember anyway) if I get too hot in bed - so I make sure that doesn't happen. Recurring dreams are usually a result of difficulties in life that are still unresolved. Other dreams are clearly a mish-mash of the day before. When I was a gardener I used to fall asleep seeing weeds being pulled out of the ground - sometimes I was still conscious. Try sleeping with the radio on and see how that influences what you dream about. I think we can influence our dreams a lot.

I dreamed about guinea-pigs the other night but only because I had been thinking about small creatures that don't nibble like our new rat does. Not very deep stuff....I leave that for the waking hours! Ha!
 
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abertha

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Oh I see..

I have very violent dreams most every night. I know they are just dreams but I wake up with horrible headaches and jaw aches from crying or grinding my teeth in my sleep, and when I wake up I am always scared to leave the bedroom incase my nightmare is outside, and I am then usually frightful the rest of the day.

Thank you for the link, Apotheosis!
 
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GrizzlyBear

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I have very violent dreams most every night. I know they are just dreams but I wake up with horrible headaches and jaw aches from crying or grinding my teeth in my sleep, and when I wake up I am always scared to leave the bedroom incase my nightmare is outside, and I am then usually frightful the rest of the day.
Oh....that must be awful. I have had bad dreams like that...where it is hard to shake for the rest of the day. Worse still when I question if the thing really happened (which can happen if the dream is very realistic) but usually it is obvious...like when I'm swimming for shore but the ferry is driving along the street....or the train is as wide as the town hall....

On a practical more note Abertha did you know you can get special mouth guards to protect your teeth when you grind?

I don't think they are 'just dreams' if they are causing this level of discomfort. I hope you didn't think I was trivializing dreams and how problematic they can be for some people. :flowers:
 
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abertha

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Oh no I didn't think that at all :) I can see it is unusual to have my problem and I wouldn't want anyone to have experienced it.

I have been to my dentist and different specialists trying to get them to fit me for one of those mouthguards . I finally got to the 'top person' and had paid for an appointment with her, only for her to tell me that about 5% of people benefit from them so there was no point in giving me one. I think she just couldn't be bothered tbh, which is not suprising as every health professional I have seen in the last 10 years have been rubbish.

Thanks for the suggestion, though! Maybe I will have to go through it all again sometime. I would really like to treat the cause of my nightmares, only I think it might not be possible.

I wish there was a mental health professional I could arrange an appointment with (I would pay as much as I have!) go to their office and sit down and have them tell me WHAT is wrong with me. Instead I get lousy doctors telling me I shouldn't join waiting lists for therapy because they are too long, and they think I should 'relax' more. ALL I do is relax!

Sorry. Bit of a rant there!
 
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GrizzlyBear

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Well.....maybe you'd be in the lucky 5%? My ex-partner didn't want to pay a specialist so he bought a self-moulding one from the chemist's/pharmacist's. Just a few dollars in the end. He had chipped teeth through his grinding. A friend of mine broke 2 teeth with his....so it can be serious.

Sorry you've had as many bad experiences with health professionals as I seem to have had. GP's and I generally don't get on at all. I am lucky that after all these years I now have a good CPN. Maybe they can't tell us what is wrong with us straightaway but they ought to be able to help us find out - that's what they are there for after all.
 
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Stuart Sorensen

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You can tie yourself up in knots with this one

The problem with trying to get your head around the role of dreams is that they're generally pretty inaccessible to mere mortals such as ourselves. Personally I'd be very wary of trying to get into any sort of dream analysis because they're just too ambiguous.

I remember having a series of lectures on one of the courses I took from Freudian dream analysts. I thought it was ridiculous to tell the truth.

For example, I asked them what it meant to dream that I was standing in the circular light of a street lamp but surrounded by total darkness. They suggested that it meant I was terrified of the wider world. I then posited that it could just as easily mean that I saw myself as the brave protector who offered a safe haven to others who needed me and that far from being afraid I was offering sanctuary because I had the courage to protect others. They agreed that this was also a possiblity.

There was much more to this exchange with the presenters than that btu the upshot was that the whole thing is extremely reliable in my view. I'd go so far as to say that any attempt to analyse someone's dreams is more likely to describe the thoughts of the therapist than the client.

FWIW

Stuart
 
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abertha

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Good point. I suppose I can often figure out the meaning of my own dreams and nightmares, seeing as I know what's going on in my life etc.

For example, last night I dreamed of my brother being 2 of himself, and one cutting the head off the other and then trying to kill me. My Grandma was sleeping upstairs. I called the police and an abundance of them came in boats, were very unhelpful, and then peed on me before they left.

And in real life, my brother has recently been lying to me about his life, which means I am forced to see him as a person much different to what I thought he was. This would explain the one killing the other. Not sure why my Grandma was there, but I have had bad experiences with the police before so I guess thats where they came in.

I suppose normal people would just wake up and think 'oh, that was horrible' and not be scared for the rest of the day. Thats probably my mental illness not being able to deal with it!
 
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abertha

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Not really - I try not to think about them but they always affect my day. Once I clicked a link sent to me by a friend in an email, and it was to a video online of a real beheading. I was sick to my stomach for days after, and kept seeing it in the corner of my eye. That's quite the same thing that happens in my dreams . it's like I have seen it for real..
 
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Stuart Sorensen

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Is that not normal then?

Please don't think of what I'm about to say as patronising or trivialising in any way becaude it isn't meant that way. I know how difficult it can be to get the 'sense' of another person's meaning on forums because you can't hear their voice or see their facial expressions. However......

I saw the hanging of Saddam Hussein on Utube and wished I hadn't. That image haunted me for several days too. I've also had vivid dreams that haunted me for days afterwards - so have most people (some more than others).

Sometimes ideas have power because we let them have power.

For example - when I was made redundant I spent about a third of my redundancy money on a leather coat - I still have that coat now. It was a good coat but I couldn't afford it. In fact I had no reliable income and only a few hundred quid left to feed, house and clothe myself, my partner and two stepsons for the foreseeable future.

Most people would call that rash but understand it as 'comfort buying' or 'retail therapy'.

If, however, I had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder it would have been viewed as mania.

I'm not trying to trivialise whatever mental health problems you may experience. I do wonder though if people get their diagnosis and immediately consider that anything less than perfect contentment in their lives is a sign of disorder. We don't expect 'normal' people (as you put it) never to have nightmares so why should yours be related to mental disorder any more than mine are?

Just because you have some problems that are related to mental disorder doesn't necessarily mean that all your difficulties are.
 
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Apotheosis

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I'm not trying to trivialise whatever mental health problems you may experience. I do wonder though if people get their diagnosis and immediately consider that anything less than perfect contentment in their lives is a sign of disorder. We don't expect 'normal' people (as you put it) never to have nightmares so why should yours be related to mental disorder any more than mine are?

Just because you have some problems that are related to mental disorder doesn't necessarily mean that all your difficulties are.
I think that this is very good advice & a discerning observation. As time has gone on; & from chatting with others. I have tried to separate out different aspects of life. What has been 'illness'; what has been my responsibility; what was beyond my control. What do I have the capacity & ability to change? What is best to be accepted. I can have a tendency to 'think too much', & over analyse.

I personally do not think that it is healthy to pathologise the full range of extreme human experience(s) & powerful emotions; as can sometimes tend to happen, as you say; especially in regards to 'mental illness'. Sometimes I have denied all the 'illness', naturally so I think; especially more so in the past; or find more palatable reasons for things. It is about finding a balance; as with all things. To realise that the 'illness' is an aspect or a part of me - it is not what defines me.

It can be very hard to not be defined by the 'label'. I have stigmatised & discriminated against myself. That also could be considered an aspect of the 'condition'. The focus on the negatives as explanation of certain things. When - like you say - many things are simply part of the human condition. - & common to us all; as part of a continuum.
 
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abertha

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Just because you have some problems that are related to mental disorder doesn't necessarily mean that all your difficulties are.
I understand where you are coming from, but with this I could explain away all my symptoms as being 'normal', like i did for many years, and just see myself as an unusual individual. Which is all well and good until it's been untreated and it gets out of control, when I hurt someone or myself.

Now I feel like I am stupid and that I am not really ill, and all these symptoms I have are 'normal'. It makes me feel horrible for not being able to deal with them (if they are such trivial problems everyone deals with) and have a life like most other people.
 
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GrizzlyBear

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I understand where you are coming from, but with this I could explain away all my symptoms as being 'normal', like i did for many years, and just see myself as an unusual individual. Which is all well and good until it's been untreated and it gets out of control, when I hurt someone or myself.

Now I feel like I am stupid and that I am not really ill, and all these symptoms I have are 'normal'. It makes me feel horrible for not being able to deal with them (if they are such trivial problems everyone deals with) and have a life like most other people.

I don't know if it matters if you have an 'illness' or not Abertha....if you are suffering then you probably want help to reduce that. 'Normal' or not, it makes no difference to me. Some people have more difficulties with life than others and the aim of therapy (I should think) is to enable everyone to live the best life they can. It doesn't matter if the difficulties are caused by mental illness or something else. I don't have a label for my 'mental illness' (if that is what it is) but I am given excellent treatment via my CPN regardless.

There are helpful people/health professionals out there - you've just got to dig through the crap ones to find them!! :flowers:
 
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Stuart Sorensen

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I understand where you are coming from, but with this I could explain away all my symptoms as being 'normal', like i did for many years, and just see myself as an unusual individual. Which is all well and good until it's been untreated and it gets out of control, when I hurt someone or myself.

Now I feel like I am stupid and that I am not really ill, and all these symptoms I have are 'normal'. It makes me feel horrible for not being able to deal with them (if they are such trivial problems everyone deals with) and have a life like most other people.
Hi Abertha,

I'm not suggesting you 'explain away' your problems. There is often a great deal of work to be done when facing distress. All I'm saying is that to start out by believing it's more difficult for you than it is for 'normal' people is to make that work even harder.

Think about it - nightmares are part on everyday (or perhaps everynight) human experience. Distress is a part of everyday human experience. Consequently the everyday techniques might well work. They might not, of course, but it's worth giving them a chance and that means starting out with a belief that individual problems might be conquerable.

For example - any change in thought habits (and this is what we're talking about here) involves practice and little setbacks. If you believe it's acheivable the setbacks are things you learn from. You keep trying and over time you developing good coping strategies.

If you believe that the problems are too big to cope with then the little setbacks become evidence of failure and you stop trying. That means you will not learn to cope with the nightmares.

I don't know whether or not you will get over your nightmares etc but I do know that you'll have a much better chance if you persevere and that means believing that there's a point in trying.

I'm not saying you're stupid - far from it. I'm just suggesting that the way we all approach problems has a huge impact on our success in deaing with them.

I certainly didn't mean to offend you or anyone else.

Cheers,

Stuart
 
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