Night Sweats, Night Terrors, Nightmares, Sleep Terrors.
Night Terrors are not Nightmares ~ typically a nightmare happens when you’re in deep dream sleep, whereas night terrors wake you up, so the experience of a night terror is one of wakefulness. Night terrors are also different from Sleep Terrors, because a night terror will wake you up, whereas with a sleep terror you will have all the symptoms of extreme fear, but you will stay asleep. If you are awake, or partially awake, and terrified in the night, then the chances are you are suffering from night terrors, (which are a recognised psychological disorder).
Nightmares usually occur in the early morning during REM sleep when our dreams are at their most vivid. More often than not we can remember all the cinematographic details of a long, scary nightmarish dream when we first wake. On the other hand, night terrors usually happen during the first part of the night, aren’t part of REM sleep, and we won’t remember anything much other than waking up / being awake in a terrified state.
Typically, night terrors are caused by a previous psychological trauma, (such as an abusive childhood), or by stress, or by substance abuse, (such as drinking too much just before bedtime). However, as one of the causes of drinking too much before bedtime is a mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is itself probably caused by a previous psychological trauma, it’s fair to say that if you suffer from night terrors you’re probably drinking too much and suffered some severe disturbance / abuse / trauma in your past. Chances are if you’re in that situation you’re also feeling very pressured right now, and suffering from the symptoms of undue stress. It’s an illogical Catch-22 situation.
If you suffer from night terrors it’s likely that you wake very suddenly with an intense fear of something unknown / a nameless dread. Your heart will be beating fast, you will be breathing hard and fast, your blood pressure will be elevated, your eyes will be wide and staring, and you will be sweating. This is different from night sweats, which is severe and excessive sweating, without the associated terror. The common causes of night sweats are medical, and some of them are very nasty, such as cancer. However, one other cause of night sweats is drinking too much.
What night terrors will do to you is prevent you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep that most adults need every night. As well as making you feel tired, lethargic, and irritable, not getting enough sleep can cause lots of nasty illnesses such as; high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.
The most likely advice if you have night terrors when you get beyond your teens is that you should see a doctor. Good luck with that one, because the only real cure for night terrors is to treat the underlying problem(s). That will mean doing something about the effects of any psychological trauma in your past, and cutting out whatever drug you’re taking too much of late at night ~ including coffee, booze, prescription drugs, street drugs…
There are some very common-sense things you can do if you suffer from night terrors, sleep terror, nightmares, and / or night sweats ~ without resorting to medication and a long period of talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. None of these are easy, or likely to give you a quick fix, but you should consider;
- Giving up booze completely, or cutting down a lot, and never drinking late at night.
- Quitting smoking ~ and if you smoke do not have a cigarette last thing at night.
- Stop using street drugs, and talk to your doctor about any prescription medication you are on.
- Late at night don’t drink coffee, and don’t eat a meal within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
- Stay hydrated. The average person needs 3 litres / 6 pints of water a day ~ but tea, coffee, wine, and beer don’t really help you to stay properly hydrated.
- Do not take a nap during the day, especially don’t take an afternoon nap.
- Go to bed at the same reasonable time every night, (if you need to be up at 7 am you need to be in bed at 10 pm), and get up at the same reasonable time each morning. Stick to this sleep schedule, even at weekends. Changing the time you go to bed, and the time you get out of bed, wrecks your internal body clock.
- Wind down in the evenings. Don’t use social media late at night or first thing in the morning. Instead practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as meditation and listening to relaxing, classical music.
- During the day get at least an hour of fresh air and moderate / vigorous / strenuous exercise.
- Make sure your bedroom is right for sleep. Your bedroom should be clean, tidy, quiet, very dark, still, and fairly cool, (between 60 and 67 degrees F). You really do need to sleep in total darkness and quiet.
- Make certain your mattress and pillows are comfortable for you. If your mattress is good quality it should last 10 years, after that, get a new one.
- Keep a sleep diary.
An episode of night terror can be brought on by worry, stress, emotional tension, fatigue, conflict, and especially too much alcohol late at night, (or more likely a combination of factors, including booze). How much is too much alcohol? Actually, too much booze is however many drinks puts your health and well-being at risk. For me, one drink is one too many.
After suffering night terrors you are likely to be utterly inconsolable, grown women, (and men), may cry, and the event may be so disturbing that your mind will wipe most of it from your memory. The next morning you won’t be able to remember what terrified you.
In adults, it is most likely that night terrors, sleep terrors, and nightmares have an underlying cause of previous severe stress, trauma, mental and / or physical abuse, and subsequent mental disorders and generalised anxiety. In fact, the underlying causes of sleep problems can be very similar to the underlying causes of addiction.
Not getting enough good quality sleep is a serious matter. The consequences are severe, up to and including death. If you’re suffering from night terrors, sleep terrors, nightmares, night sweats, then you really do need to take action right away. Start with the tips I’ve given above, but if you have to, go and see your doctor.
Office work is injurious to your health.
If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave. In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day). A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.
A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…
However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato. All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift, (elevator). It’s far better for your health, elevators are full of germs, and I got trapped in a full elevator, which isn’t fun.
- Stand up at your desk. Don’t worry what others in the office think, stand up whenever you’re not actually typing on your screen. Anyway, I always used to stand while making phone calls ~ it adds empowerment to your voice. Stand on one leg, shift your weight, lift yourself on your toes and rock back on your heels.
- Take a five-minute break every hour just to walk around the office, make a coffee, go to the bathroom.
- Clean your desk and tidy your environment. The chances are that your desk has more germs on it than a toilet seat. A messy desk and your immediate environs makes you feel stressed ~ and you will be judged on your workspace. Remember, a tidy desk is a happy desk, and a happy desk is an efficient desk.
- Avoid stress by being organised ~ you probably need to learn some effective time management skills, and I’ll write another post on just that topic.
- Don’t eat or drink to relieve stress. Don’t snack on sweet stuffs, you may get bowel cancer. You aren’t actually hungry, you’re just stuffing your face because it makes you feel a little better for a little while. Emotional eating will just make you fat and unhealthy.
- Take a packed lunch to work ~ at least you’ll know what’s in it. Eating out every day, or buying your lunch from a fast food cart or take-out place is very bad for your health. You will get fat, you may get type 2 diabetes, you may get bowel cancer.
- Stay hydrated ~drink water, about a dozen cups, 3 litres, 6 pints or so, every day. Anything with caffeine in it is a diuretic and makes you lose water. Drinking a lot of water gives you a reminder to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom.
- Get outside at lunchtime and during breaks ~ for a start your body needs the vitamin D you get from sunshine.
- Walk, don’t drive. Walking is one of the best exercises you can get, walking meditation is good, and driving is stressful. For Gods’ sakes, don’t take up power walking, it will make you look stupid.
- Move around whenever you can, and however you find it possible. Exercise at your desk. Stretch at your desk. Stand up at your desk and stretch. Go outside and stretch
- Practice breathing exercises and brief meditation.
- Don’t go to the pub / bar with colleagues after work. Drinking after work is dangerous and it marks you out as a drunkard / wastrel / slut / player.
- Go home and eat a healthy dinner. Your evening meal is very important for a healthy life.
- Don’t sit in front of the television in the evenings. Watching television is very bad for your mental and physical health, it also turns you into a boring vegetable. Under no circumstances sit in front of the television eating, drinking, and smoking ~ that will kill you.
- Ditch social media, (or most of it anyway). Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc are all very bad for your health. They also turn your brain into mouldy old dough. Only narcissists use twitter, and only egotists use Facebook anyway.
- Get plenty of quality sleep. You may need between 7 to 9 hours good quality sleep a night. You can make up for sleep afterwards, but you cannot store sleep in advance. Get a routine, go to bed at the same time every night and get up and moving at the same time every morning.
- Have an outdoors active hobby / recreation at the weekends. Go for long walks, play golf, enjoy gardening, the list of outdoors things you can do at weekends is long, varied, and interesting.
Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it? OK, don’t bother to do any of this. Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life. Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should. With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not. It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.
But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.
Get more exercise and have a nice life.
captive in a locked mind
camera behind locked doors
the empty vodka bottle is unkind
imagination’s running distant shores
inhabited in gloom and blackness defined
unease, self-doubt, nervousness, panic, desertion, neglect…
From time to time I suffer from deep emotional insecurity and feelings of abandonment, or rather a fear of abandonment. Perhaps most people have these painful fears ~ perhaps some suffer more, and more often than me. I know that my agitation and gloomy emotions stem from the painful loss of my maternal grandmother when I was but a very young boy. An event that left me with a psychological illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, which has at its core a chronic fear of abandonment.
Since I became aware that I actually had this problem, I’ve been able to cope with the symptoms pretty well, and I’ve been improving all the time. Mostly I don’t fear abandonment, betrayal, and rejection any more. Mostly I don’t have what were my other terrible symptoms, which included alcohol abuse, impulsive behaviours, and stupid jealousy.
However, yesterday I was in a terrible slough of despond ~ the putrid end of the swamp where the very air stinks and there seems to be no hope of escape or resurrection. It’s a terrible place to be. People who suffer badly from these feelings and evil emotions have been known to do very stupid things ~ up to and including thinking of suicide, or even attempting suicide
I guess I am a lucky man today, because I have learned how to deal with my feelings in a better and more appropriate way than I ever could before. Not only that, I know exactly why I found myself in this bad emotional state yesterday. Knowing why one feels bad is half the battle. I now know that it’s always darkest just before the dawn, but the dawn will come, all I need to do is have faith and hold on. Now I have a strong faith in my guiding light, my muse, and my Goddess.
A little while ago I sprained my wrist, which actually hurt like hell. And, for some unknown reason, when I woke up yesterday morning it hurt even worse that it did when I first sprained it. My whole arm hurt so bad I felt physically sick. You can trust me on this one ~ when you’re in physical pain, and you feel ill to the point of needing to throw up, it’s very difficult to maintain a positive mental attitude. No wonder I felt a terrible insecurity, loneliness, and fear of abandonment.
Luckily I knew that what I needed to do was have the physical problem treated, and the emotional problems would also go away. Actually, just knowing that the underlying cause of my distress was physically real and affecting my body, meant that the deep feelings of insecurity and fear of abandonment subsided pretty quickly.
Many people aren’t so fortunate as me, but they should know that there are ways of dealing with insecurity, anger, and jealousy ~ there are techniques for dealing with fear of abandonment, and there are treatments for borderline personality disorder. We don’t have to suffer, unless we want to, and that’s a perverse thing to want.
Have confidence, this is a good life, all we need to do is want it enough.
The Four Great Truths I will follow in 2017;
- Accept that Life is difficult and painful.
- The underlying causes of my problems and pain are giving in to my own cravings, lusts, desires, and my blaming of others.
- I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change how I react.
- The path to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.
These are not the ‘normal’ kind of New Year’s Resolutions, but I believe they will work for me in 2017. My spirit can be free to fly through blue skies.
Time Is An Illusion. ~ Albert Einstein
Time passes at different rates and in different ways depending upon who we are, where we are, what we are, why we are counting time, and how we measure time. There is no such thing as an absolute past. There are probably an infinite number of futures for us to choose from. The present isn’t just now, the present also encompasses the past and the future. My perception of time and my reality is different from yours. Most importantly, we are not trapped by time, we can choose to use and take advantage of time as we will.
Time is not constant and one minute is not the same length as another. ~ Jeanette Winterson
Subjectively we know that time passes at different rates depending upon circumstances. If you’re stuck in an airport departure lounge waiting for your much delayed flight, then time passes painfully slowly ~ the minutes seem like hours and the hours crawl by like a wounded fly. Conversely, if you’re getting ready for a really hot dinner date, then the hours fly by, and there’s just no way you’re going to be ready on time.
Scientifically, time also passes at different rates depending upon how fast you’re moving, and how much gravity there is where you are. In the world of quantum mechanics time may, or may not, exist at all.
We choose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality it contains the only mystery. ~ Richard Feynman.
The present, your ‘now’, isn’t only the present. This instant of ‘now’ also includes the past and the future, and both the past and the future can and will change in a way that’s dependent upon now. Once you accept that time is not an immutable constant you have the ability to change your future, your present, and your past. Changing your own past is called retrocausality.
Everything, and I mean every moment of joy, happiness, sadness, trauma, learning, experiencing, dreaming and imagining, everything that has ever happened to you, and everything that you have ever done is present in the now. Mostly we just aren’t consciously aware that the past is with us in the here and now. But, without your past you wouldn’t be able to walk, talk, drive, hold down a job, or maintain a loving relationship. The downside of this is that all the bad things about us were created in the past. All the anger, attitudes, insecurities, jealousies, phobias, and mental illnesses are from the past. But, you do not have to be a prisoner of your past, you have the ability to change the past.
The future is also with us in the present. Everything you do is dictated by the future. You most likely will go to work on Monday, and that’s dictated by things that will happen much further in the future than Monday. If you don’t go to work, then somewhere in the future you may lose your job, and then your home, because you can’t pay the rent / mortgage / local taxes. If you knew for certain that the Second Coming of Christ was going to happen this Christmas, then most likely you wouldn’t go to work on Monday. The future changes and creates the present, and the present changes the future. The more brave choices you make in the present the greater number of possible futures you have to choose from.
We can choose from our possible futures, but most people are very bad at making brave choices. Almost everyone will do tomorrow what they did yesterday, with exactly the same people in exactly the same places. Those people have made the choice to make no choices at all, and the more they do that the fewer possible futures they have to choose from. If nothing changes then nothing changes.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein
We can choose to change our past. After all, the past is only what we remember and how we interpret those memories. If you had an abusive childhood, then in all likelihood it will have blighted your whole life, right up to the here and now. Trauma in your childhood could have left you with Alcoholism, Borderline Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or any of a number of other psychological problems.
You can change all that and have a good life now by reinterpreting the past ~ after all the past is only memories. I can’t tell you how to do that, you may need counselling or psychotherapy. However, I can tell you that I stopped the past from blighting my present by unconditionally accepting who I am, and acceptance created a whole raft of new futures for me to choose from. Today I am enjoying enlightenment and empowerment because I changed the past in my present. Today I have more futures to choose from because I changed the subjective past.
You can change your own past, your present, and your future. All you need to do is to have the willingness to change.
please listen responsibly
these opinions are mine and mine alone
Life is Difficult and Painful.
This is a great truth, the first of the Four Noble Truths.
Most people cannot, or will not, accept that this life is a vale of tears, and will often seek to escape from themselves and their pain into drugs, booze, sex, junk food, gambling, religion, mental illness… However, there is no real escape from suffering other than unconditional acceptance of one’s own true identity and the realisation that we cannot change what happens to us, we can only change how we react to events and what we ourselves do. But, what we do will, in some way, change what happens to us.
With acceptance comes change. ~ Jaco Snoek
Yet, even in this deterministic universe there is no real cause and effect, at least none within ordinary human understanding. Ordinary human understanding tells us that a chicken is just an egg’s way of creating another egg ~ this idiotic theory is perfectly in agreement with the Principle of Causality. So which is wrong, our idiotic theory or the principle of causality? It doesn’t matter, it’s just semantics, and words are poor tools with which to describe infinity. Anyway, the cosmos doesn’t care either way.
Sadly, very early in life we learn to have expectations of reward for our actions, and this is what motivates most of what most people do most of the time ~ this is called the Expectancy Theory, and it’s fundamentally flawed in the same way that the eternal law of cause and effect is flawed. There is no Divine Omniscient Consciousness to ensure that the law of cause and effect always applies.
If you do something good, you may not get a good result. If someone does something bad or evil, they may not get a bad or evil result. It is not always possible to determine in advance the end results of our actions. And, no matter what we do there are some things we cannot change. For example, by your actions alone you cannot change another person, most certainly you cannot make someone love you.
So, what’s worse than knowing you want something, other than knowing you can never have it. ~ James Patterson
No matter how good and competent you are, you may suddenly find yourself up to your eyebrows in deep shit, and there may be nobody to blame. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes there is nobody to blame, and sometimes there is nobody to thank. This is part of chaos theory.
Mankind has as much difficulty in accepting chaos ~ the disorder, confusion, and unpredictability of life ~ as a man has with unconditionally accepting himself. The sun rises, therefore there must be a Sun God. The Nile floods, there must be a Nile God. Some women are beautiful and loving, there must be a Goddess of Love. Man created Gods and Goddesses to escape from, and make sense of, the pain, disorder, confusion, and unpredictability that surrounds us.
The path to freedom from pain and suffering lies not in trying to escape into drugs, booze, sex, or whatever. The Warrior’s Path to enlightenment is through acceptance of oneself and simple self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.
There is an ultimate truth for each of us, and it is this; we are who we are, and the only thing we can change is ourselves in order to reach our absolute and fullest potential.
If you cannot, or will not, open yourself to unconditional acceptance of who you are, and become willing to change and grow, then the only person who will really go on suffering is you. The Cosmos doesn’t really care one way or another.
No matter how much you love someone, you cannot make them love you.
If you don’t receive love from the ones who are meant to love you, you will never stop looking for it. ~ Robert Goolrick
It’s worse than that. No matter how much you like someone you cannot make them like you, and no matter how much you desire someone, you cannot make them desire you. No matter what you do, no matter the money, time, effort, hope, prayer, and love you expend, no matter how many sleepless nights you suffer, you cannot change the way someone feels about you.
Often unrequited love is the desperate feeling of being hopelessly, completely, head over heels in love with and infatuated with someone, all the while knowing that your feelings will never reach their heart and will never be returned. Unrequited love can exist when the object of your love is hardly even aware of your existence. You may love someone and yet know you will never make love with them or wake up next to them in the morning. You may even know that you will never get to spend time with the object of your love. And yet, you will go on loving them forever, no matter the pain and heartache it causes. You will go on loving even when you know they love another.
A person doesn’t know true hurt and suffering until they’ve felt the pain of falling in love with someone whose affections lie elsewhere. ~ Rose Gordon
Unrequited love also exists within relationships, when one person may love the other deeply and tenderly, but the object of your affections just thinks you’re someone to hang out with when there is nothing better happening. Unrequited love even exists inside marriage, when one partner truly, madly, deeply and unconditionally loves the other, who merely regards them as a convenience.
Sadly, unrequited love can sometimes turn into obsessive love, which is an extreme form of infatuation and does not allow for failure, imperfection, or rejection. Obsessive love is a dangerous mental disorder which can lead to extreme behaviour, up to and including boiling the pet rabbit. If you have ever flirted with a real bunny-boiler, then you will know exactly how bad obsessive love can become.
The difference between a dysfunction love and real, true love is reciprocity. Does the object of your desire return your affections? Or, are you doing all the work and throwing your love away, just like throwing a rock into a bottomless pit? Ask yourself if the one you love is anything more than an empty vessel, are they someone who can and will return your love with their own, or are you just feeding money into a crooked slot machine in the vain hope of a jackpot?
Unrequited and obsessive love can be a masochistic addiction. It hurts and it costs, but if you have it, you will wait around for the big payoff, no matter what.
The really bad news for someone who is going through the misery of unrequited love is that there will never be a big payoff. You will never hit the jackpot, they will never return your love, and they will forget you in a New York second. Whatever you have right now is as good as it’s ever going to get, and the chances are it will get worse ~ addictions always get worse over time, no matter what. Some people are incapable of real love, that’s called Emotional Deprivation Disorder, and if you are unlucky enough to love someone suffering from that, you may as well pack your bags and go home.
It’s no good putting the object of your desire on a pedestal, and it’s no good thinking that you can change him or her. No matter how much time, effort, money, love, and heartache you have invested, you will most likely have just thrown it all away. It’s like feeding a slot machine in Las Vegas, where you will probably never see a penny of that money ever again, and deep down you know you have wasted everything.
Often those who suffer the agony of unrequited love and / or obsessive love have other mental problems ~ Drug addiction, Alcoholism, Borderline Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or just plain Emotional Hunger.
Just like drug addiction or alcoholism, the only way out of the misery of unrequited love, or the sick dangers of an obsessive love, is to quit.
There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it. ~ Shannon L. Alder
It’s much easier to write it than it is to do it, but if what you have is a relationship where you are giving a lot and getting little in return, then you have to walk away. Walk away, don’t look back, and don’t try to keep in touch. It’s going to hurt, but it’s like a bad tooth. It will hurt a lot for a short while when you’re having it extracted, but that’s much better than living with months or years of dull misery.
these opinions are mine and mine alone
Mens Sana in Corpore Sano
For most of my life I have had the vague impression that something was wrong with me. That I didn’t quite fit in. That I was different from everyone else. It’s not until recently that I discovered I have been suffering from something called Borderline Personality Disorder for most of my life. It was then that I made what I think is the wisest decision of my entire life; I would get myself well.
I’m so good at beginnings, but in the end I always seem to destroy everything, including myself. ~ Kiera Van Gelder
Fairly obviously, I had no really clever ideas when it came to mental self-help, so I decided to begin by trying to be physically healthier and fitter. I sort of invented a fitness programme, which had some dramatic results, like I lost 18 pounds of excess weight in 6 weeks.
For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories. ~ Plato
Very recently, something very interesting has been happening to me. As well as being physically fitter and healthier, I am also getting well from these Borderline Personality Disorder personality defects, or negative character traits, or bad habits, or whatever you want to call them.
This recovery from suffering from mental ill-health to enjoying mental health, has almost exactly matched my recovery from physical ill-health to physical health. It’s not that I was physically sick before. The fact is I was just not physically healthy, in the same way that most of modern society is not physically healthy. Like most people I was a little overweight, my blood pressure was far too high, I wasn’t eating right, I was drinking too much coffee, for a while I had been drinking far too much booze, I wasn’t getting enough exercise… But now, I have turned my unhealthy lifestyle around into something much better and much healthier, including eating a mostly Paleo Diet. (The dish pictured opposite is Thai salmon in foil )
Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your diet and nutrition are set, and you’re working out, you’re going to feel good. ~ Jason Statham
Now, as my physical body is becoming fitter and healthier, so my mind and spirit are becoming fitter and healthier. Dramatic improvements in my mental and spiritual health have exactly matched the improvements in my physical health. I’m not only physically, mentally,and spiritually well, I now also believe in myself. I know I am not strange or different. Now I am confident and happy in just who I am.
Just like your body and lifestyle can be healthy or unhealthy, the same is true with your beliefs. Your beliefs can be your medicine or your poison. ~ Steve Maraboli
The Ancient Greeks and the Romans knew all about this more than a couple of thousand years ago. Hence the Latin quotation above. Mens Sana in Corpore Sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.
To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~ The Buddha
I firmly believe that I cannot have good health in just one aspect of my being, without also being healthy in the other two. To be well, I need to be fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit ~ just one or two out of three can’t and won’t work.