Impact of Terrors and Dreams

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Tru here.  In effort to flush stressful thoughts and re-direct to restful sleep pattern, sometimes I will jot a note in my cell phone (which I keep under my pillow).  Tonight, checking my notes to see if there was anything useful for my blog I found these; some notes from my life in the ultra-vivid alternate-reality of “sleep” (often successive episodic periods of about 1-hour each in a wartime environment).  This type of dream is extremely common among Persons With Dementia symptoms.  During 2012 my night terrors were terrible and prevented almost any sleep that year; I dreaded falling asleep only to spend all my remaining energy (link to example is here >> ).  When I began Aricept it seemed to keep the terrors to a minimum for several years, but now they are returning to a pretty regular event.  My recent notes:

While falling asleep suddenly REMINDED and confused.  Get ready; I forgot that I am being taken to a holding-cell at the facility.  On the way now. (2015-12/12)

Would it be surprising if I became paranoid, when I spend so many hours being stalked and tortured every night?  My view of reality is probably being altered by these ultra-vivid dreams, even tho I make every effort to keep dream life separated from waking life.  Another effect is that I wake exhausted.  Running, hiding, getting shot and seeing others die is bloody hard WORK ! (1:30am 2015-12/24)

These dreams should produce terror, but instead I experience not really apathy, but imagine it is like being shell-shocked.  Feel over-exposed to blood and guts to the point of extreme sadness (like when observing cannibalism or my pet is skewered as dinner) but no terror remains — just exhaustion.  It feels like I have been working on unbelievably strenuous work all night and I am desperate for some rest.

No; I have very seldom watched violent entertainment at any time in my life.  And now I watch very few shows or movies at all, due to combination of violence and/or complicated plots that I am unable to follow.  When I watch something it is more often a musical or children’s show.

.       *       .       *       .       *       .

Aside from exhaustion, what concerns me more than the night-time violence are the new ultra-vivid dreams that involve people and events that could easily take place in current consensus reality (term from “Deeper into the Soul” book by my friend Nader Robert Shabahangi PhD).  Never experienced anything like this before and these have begun in last few months.

Due to concerns for me to “stay adjusted” to dementia symptoms of hallucinations and night terrors, I have now had a psychiatrist on my medical team for 3 years.  (He says that I have adjusted to past trauma in healthy ways, adjusting to current trauma in healthy ways, and I have no need for any type of psychiatric medication.)  Lately we have been discussing my fear that I will be displaying behavior based on events that have only taken place in my dreams, because it is so difficult to differentiate between these ultra-vivid dreams and daytime life.  … and with my memory problems the events from dreams can have the same emotional effect on my behavior.

I wake, angry from an email or FaceBook posting from someone who sometimes writes things that are not very thoughtful or considerate (and isn’t that ALL of us at some time or another — especially when filters are failing from parts of the brain dying).  Then I realize — Wait a minute; I just read that, but I haven’t had my computer on since last night.  (Seldom look at computer screen during night – even when I cannot sleep I mostly avoid that kind of light.)  So I need to calm down and try to erase those emotions because it did not really happen; it was another dream.  These “reading” dreams happen just as often as the wartime dreams now – but these new dreams involve people I interact with frequently.

What is most disturbing is that I suspect some of my emotions when interacting with these people are probably triggered from effects of things that never really happened — at least not in THIS reality.  I don’t remember why I feel this way about them, but nevertheless those are my feelings!

Similarly to hallucinations, a huge effect of this symptom is the large reminder that I myself am completely unreliable.  What I remember or feel is as unreliable as what I hear, smell, and see.  I must rely on others for REALITY, … and then actually believe and try to integrate their reality over my own perceived reality.

…  Actually, I don’t know if I EVER truly succeed in integrating someone else’s perception of reality as the true occurrences of what is happening !  I try … but I think it is mostly lip-service.  Really I am sure that I am simply seeing a different version of reality – but somehow just as real (and just as important to apply) as my partner’s perceived reality which I am trying so hard to accept.  Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen (in some alternate-reality sort of way).  Because it DID happen … I saw it !


Example from MY Dementia Nightmares

Book “Deeper Into the Soul” $14 +S&H thru publisher; with my remarks here >> ;

Interesting notes at ; “When our brains are in the REM stage of sleep, both the hippocampus and amygdala are highly active. The former is the part of our brain that orders and stores memories, the latter is the part that helps us to process emotions. This has led researchers to suggest that vivid, emotional and memorable dreams during the REM stage are the manifestations of our brains storing memories and “pulling off the emotional tag, or tearing up the receipt”, says Ho. The analogy of taking off an emotional tag is one used widely in sleep psychology.”

Special edition of PWD NewsLetter on this subject Sept 6, 2014 at
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10 thoughts on “Impact of Terrors and Dreams

  1. Thanks for sharing what must be horrifying night terrors. When I started taking Aricept I began to have very (what I called) vivid dreams. I woke up exhausted. I don’t know if it was just an adjustment to the new medicine or not I no longer remember my dreams (good old short term memory loss), but I find it interesting that you experience something similar.


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