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a new paradigm?

since sunday, i have not had a good night's sleep. my sleep margins are not what one would call copious, but this is not a new thing for me. i have been a sufferer of insomnia of greater or lesser acuteness since i was about 15. however, since sunday, i'm experiencing a slate of dreaming cycles which are wholly frustrating all the coping mechanisms i have built to date.

a big part of my insomnia is falling asleep - i have a hard time doing it. once i get to sleep, staying there is the next challenge. while better now than in previous years (17-19, i thought i really was going to go crazy), i very often have nightmares. not night terrors, just horribly disturbing dreams that create enough physical stress to pretty much negate any benefits of the sleep i was getting. this would normally last for one or two sleep cycles, then i would get up, only to crash four hours later for a cycle, then start my day. when i started with insomnia, i was averaging 4 hours, skipping some nights, getting more others, and living on coffee and tobacco. it was not a pleasant time.

a lot of the work i have done on lucid dreaming helped change this cycle. i can honestly say i average about 5 hours a night now, still skipping occasionally, but occasionally pulling a 6 hour night here and there, which is pretty tremendous!

the way that lucid dreaming helps is that i have been able to get to the point where, once i realize something is a dream, i can usually twist it into my grip, then either end it, or change it. while this is not 100% effective, it is, i'd say, probably 80% on spot. my thoughts are that if i can ever regularly attain the sleep-within-sleep stage of control, i will have complete mastery over my dreams. to date, i have only accomplished this three times, and never with "conscious" input on the matter.

most of the exceptions come in two forms - dreams born out of emotional issues currently plaguing me, featuring me as the protagonist, and dream chains. the emotional stuff is my brain trying to catch up with my psyche, so i don't really think i will ever be able to control those 100%, but they are a very small fraction of the 1/5th of the dreams i can't control. dream chains are a real kick in the pants.

a dream chain is where you have several dreams, either back to back, or in between wakeups, all of which surround the same central plot, idea, and oftentimes characters. sometimes links in the chain countermand previous links, sometimes they strengthen them. in either case, what happens is you get a chain of dream echoes, which reinforce the walls of reality surrounding the dream you are currently in. the longer the chain, the harder it is to realize the dream as a dream, and, beyond that, it is about 10 times harder to wrest control of the dream.

i was a devout onieromancer for a time, keeping copious dream journals, and cross-hashing imagery and symbols. my dream chains always bespoke of another reality inside my head, one which i cannot say i am wholly comfortable providing housing for. between mystical and plain old psychological analysis, i can definitely say that dream chains are the bane of my conscious and unconscious life.

the reason is that i rarely get a solid chunk of sleep at all. i went to bed at around 12:30 this morning, and i got a good gander at my clock ticking by every 37-49 minutes for about 30 minutes or so until i finally couldn't take it any more.

recent dream chains include:
-a mutant spore which was capable of infesting people's brains through the ear canal, resulting in eventual death, but a whole lot of PCP-esque insanity prior to death
-a serial killer who was capable of turning blood to slush by touch, which resulted in the agonizing explosion of one's heart. i got to alternate between victims, the killer, and the persons hunting him
-a starship freight liner carrying cruise passengers to a faraway resort. the liner's suspension systems are discovered to have been contaminated by a horrible disease, which has infected everyone but the crew. we have to awaken each passenger, extract vital information about where they were staying, who they were visiting, set up a will, etc, then kill them. the crew is awake, and becomes a cult over generations of awakening and killing.
-a horrible repetition of warping the events of the past few years, so much so that i woke up from the last dream almost in tears at a possible twist in the pattern.
-an entire series of antichrist origins, surrounding all manners of cults and demons/devils/angels. i did not figure out the link until the second to last dream. the devil was using "survival of the fittest" to determine who would carry his mantle into this world - essentially unleashing dozens of potential antichrists into the soup to duke it out.

as awesome as these sound as horror/scifi novels, comic books, or scifi channel series, i assure you, that when you re being subjected to the chapters of them in between small spates of sleep, which end up being not at all restful, they get increasingly disturbing as things progress.

the worst part is that i am now scared to try and induce chemically-assisted sleep, since that precludes my ability to wake myself up, and often creates some very vivid dreams. that combitation, at this point, would probably snap my brain stem or something.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
gaelfling
Jun. 16th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
have you ever thought of purging the dream worlds by writing them out? letting them talk through you- making them conclude themselves on paper?
even beginning such a process can 'drain the life' out of those sorts of dreams until they have no more power over you-

this is not to be confused with a dream journal, this is making those dream visions come close enough that you have to face them, confront them and show them you have the power around here ;)

be well my friend, may the dream time find you and give you rest that is not eternal >_
delascabezas
Jun. 16th, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
actually, i almsot feel the opposite
intoning dreams, or writing them out creates more of a concrete presence for them to anchor to. i try to keep them as ethereal, and therefore as disperseable as possible.
rhodamine
Jun. 16th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC)
you and i seem to have identical abilities in the insomnia/lucid dreaming department. its pretty rare, you know.

last night i couldnt sleep at all, fitfully rolled around in bed from 2 to, i dunno, maybe 4... when i finally passed out asleep, i had a lucid dream that sine and i were at this banquet, sitting around a huge table with a bunch of kids. it was especially boring, and i looked over next to me to discover that one of the kids was hacking citynoise on my treo.

so i grabbed the treo and pounded him over the head with it five times while shouting "bitchass nigga!" five times.

its odd, because thats not really somethign i would say or do in waking life at all, but in my dream, i positively remember deciding that course of action and carrying it out.

seems the decisions i make in lucid dreams are still vague and random, being in deep slumber as i am (enough to dream) yet ver ymuch under my (mostly) conscious control.

strange. just a random story for ya :)
delascabezas
Jun. 16th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
that is interesting
when i first started doing focusing techniques to try and get a handle on my dreams, i often found the decisions, as you say, random but deliberate. there are still times where the conscious decisions i can make within a dream are largely constrained by the bounds of the reality of the dream, but at least i am able to turn the focus in a direction i desire, rather than getting tagged along without choice.

i've spent the last three years trying to make it to the next stage of lucid dreaming, with little to no forward motion. it is one of the few things in life i have really set my mind to, and applied energy towards that i have not been able to accomplish.
rhodamine
Jun. 16th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
Re: that is interesting
keep me posted on your technique. ive been trying similar stuff, bit it takes a looong tiiime, apparently.
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Steam Escaping!
delascabezas
The Son of the last of a long line of thinkers.
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