Dreams and Depression

Several years ago I came across some very interesting research on dreams and depression.  I studied the idea, thought about it, and connected several dots about how this had been playing out in my life when I was captive to the depression monster.

The short version is that when our brains ruminate on stress and the stress is not resolved during the day, the brain works on it at night.  The worry of the stress gets acted out during dreams which leaves the body feeling very tired in the morning because the body does not go into deep, restorative sleep.  No wonder I had such issues of tiredness like I talked about in my last post!  Add a medication with the side effect of tiredness and…WHAM!


From my journal:
Thursday, September 14, 2006
This morning I woke up very upset.  Steve usually wakes up between 5 and 6 am and then calls everyone at 7 am.  He came up to the room and I broke out into tears.  I told him that I had had a nightmare about committing suicide.  I was absolutely distraught.  This is the only time this has ever happened, in a dream or in the daytime.  I was scared.  I started to get light-headed and had to go back to bed.  Before I did, Steve said a prayer and asked for me to be able to overcome whatever is the problem.  I really appreciate this prayer and know that it helped.  I went back to sleep and didn’t have disturbing dreams.  

About 8:15 I was able to get up and not feel too dizzy.  The kids got off to school and I started the day.  Steve was worried about me.  He said that I really scared him.  I was plenty scared myself.  It has to be the Cymbalta medication.  I called the doctor’s office and he won’t be in until Monday.  I asked about not taking the meds anymore.  About 1 p.m. the answer came back that I need to reduce the dosage…I feel much better now.

Fast forward:  My dreams during the years with depression were often vivid and sometimes extremely disturbing.  There were countless nights when I just did not sleep soundly or I would sleep soundly for 20 or 30 minutes and then wake up and fight going to sleep–all because my brain would ruminate and whirl with activity.  

As for other suicidal thoughts during the 12 years, I had them occasionally.  I know that many people with depression actually attempt to end their lives; some succeed.  While I never attempted, I do know what thoughts of it are like.  I remember one time in particular at about year 11 when I was having an extremely tough time in the fight.  I will never forget how dark and hopeless I felt.  I remember thinking, “I’m turning into something else.  I don’t have control over it.  It is such a dark, dark feeling…”  I remember walking downstairs to our kitchen to join my family for dinner.  Everyone knew I was not having a good day.  I emanated darkness and sadness.  I recall saying, “Everyone would just be better off without me here.”  My family did the best they knew how to do; they told me I was worth everything to them.  I went to my bedroom early to just be away from everyone and everything.  I knew I did not want to check out of life.  I also knew the feelings I was experiencing were real.  I really didn’t want to take myself off the planet; I was just so lost for help and understanding.  So I did the only thing I knew to do:  pray.The Present:
And it was this prayer and thousands more that eventually led me to people who have studied depression, people who understand the mind in ways that I did not, and people who had answers that changed my trajectory.So…dreams…what is ONE thing you are ruminating about that can be dealt with so that you will sleep better?  Think on it. Ponder on it.  And rewrite the story (Old and New Stories).It matters!
(first published Oct 2014)
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Coach Mandy-Marie

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I'm Coach Mandy-Marie

In 2010, I was overwhelmed with depression and stressed about what the future held. I knew there HAD to be answers.

I found them. These answers became solutions to facing my fears, replacing self-sabotage, and embracing my worth that have set me free to move through personal and parenting challenges. I’ve been teaching these solutions to clients for 10 years.

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