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To be frightened that my night time confusion might be a brain disorder?

(51 Posts)
TooGoodyTwoShoes Thu 05-Feb-15 14:41:48

For quite a few years now I have panicked in the middle of the night that the doors are not locked downstairs. It was put down to anxiety.

For the past year or so I have woke up terrified that I'm naked in public. I actually fully wake up and think to myself "ooh shit I'm naked, how the fuck did this happen???" and I think I'm at work (I work in hospital so think I'm in a patient bed totally naked and everyone can see) and it takes me a while to come around and realise I'm at home. I also get where I wake up suddenly and think "oh my god I'm naked and there is a bloke in my bed, who the fuck is it?!" and it takes me a while to come around and realise it's ok, it's just DP who I live with.

Last night was awful. I woke up in a sudden terror thinking "oh jesus I'm naked at work, I don't know what to do" and I DIDN'T come around. Instead I freaked out more that there was a "strange man" next to me and so I crept out of bed and grabbed a hoody, put that on and then got back into bed before anyone "saw" me and then DP put his arm around me in his sleep and I started freaking out that it was all so innapropriate, this man would realise I was naked, I'd get the sack, everyone will think I'm a freak ....

it took me AGES to come around and realise I was at home with DP and then I realised I was laid rigid in bed with a hoody on.

I'm starting to get paranoid that I might have a brain tumour or something. I am honestly starting to worry that I'm going crazy.

Has ANYONE experienced anything like this before?

MagratsHair Thu 05-Feb-15 14:45:51

Perhaps just run it by your doctor to get their opinion.

Its unlikely to be anything serious but perhaps a GP could help with whatever it is, sounds terrifying!

Plus they would rule out a brain disorder which would be reassuring to you brew

JaneFonda Thu 05-Feb-15 14:46:02

I have similar strange sleep things.

Could it be a form of sleep walking? Where you're not really awake, it just seems like you are but your brain is still 'asleep'.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 05-Feb-15 14:46:37

This is a really common anxiety dream. It's horrid for you, but I don't think you have a brain disorder.

If you're having problems with anxiety, have you thought about some CBT?

SweetValentine Thu 05-Feb-15 14:47:21

Sounds like a sleep disorder of some kind. I dont know but I'd think it unlikely that a brain tumour would only affect sleep.

Worth a gp trip though

rinabean Thu 05-Feb-15 14:47:43

It's not necessarily abnormal to be confused on waking, I get this too sometimes. It just sounds like stress to me. Do you feel that you were dreaming about being at work before you woke, or do you not remember?

AnyoneforTurps Thu 05-Feb-15 14:49:11

PS, if it helps, a friend of mine once actually slept-walked naked into the hotel room of some complete strangers. He got up to use the communual bathroom and returned to the wrong bed. That was 20 odd years ago and he has shown no signs of developing any kind of neurological illness since wink

NorwaySpruce Thu 05-Feb-15 14:51:41

It sounds as though you are just 'coming to' enough to realise you are dreaming, but not waking fully..

With a bit of effort, some people manage to steer the dreams they are having, when they realise they are conscious of still being asleep, but 'with it', so they can experience all kinds of weird stuff almost at will.

It's really common.

Worksallhours Thu 05-Feb-15 15:09:00

I would say this sounds like an anxiety dream and it is connected somehow to something that correlates with your workplace, but is not necessarily about your workplace. A kind of metaphor, if you will.

I had years of these kinds of dreams in my twenties and early thirties where I would be back at college or uni and would be about to sit my A levels or hand in my dissertation ... only to realise that I hadn't done the revision or the work and was going to fail. These dreams were seriously vivid, and would hang over me for a few days afterwards.

Turned out that these dreams were nothing to do with school, education or my qualifications or anything, but a project in my private life that I was struggling to start and hideously procrastinating about. When I finally got going on it, the dreams disappeared and never came back.

The human mind is a fascinating thing. I am a firm believer that your subconscious knows, and tries to give your conscious self important messages and directions to ensure your physical and emotional well-being. The problem is that the subconscious doesn't have very developed language, and can only communicate through metaphor or through borrowing some sort of physical process for its own ends.

I would suggest that the nakedness could be the key aspect here. Is there any area of your life where you feel uncomfortably exposed? Or vulnerable? Or out of your depth?

TooGoodyTwoShoes Thu 05-Feb-15 15:14:51

That makes sense all hours. If I was going to be philosophical about it I could maybe interpret :-

Nakedness - vulnerability both in work and in my relationship
DP being a stranger - a man I thought I knew and loved but I'm starting to wonder about and question
Work - I'm a nurse, the stress is permanent.

Maybe my sub conscience is trying to tell me that whilst I remain in my current situation, I will always be vulnerable.

Worksallhours Thu 05-Feb-15 15:15:23

Sorry, I just reread your op and noticed you mentioned about panicking about the doors not being locked downstairs.

Is it possible that, on some level, you are worried about your personal safety? This would fit with the nakedness you dream about, as it would be functioning as a metaphor for your sense of vulnerability.

You mention you work in a hospital, could it be that you are bothered about your personal safety there? Has there recently been some sort of abusive incident that has involved staff?

Purpleflamingos Thu 05-Feb-15 15:16:48

I have the 'strange man next to me' thing. It's worse when I'm anxious/stressed. I've reduced my caffeine I take and started drinking hot chocolate instead. I'm doing yoga and Pilates and I've not had it for awhile.

Smallcogbigwheel Thu 05-Feb-15 15:17:13

It sounds a bit like a form of night terrors.

I know normally its only kids that get them but adults can too, but not always the thrashing around etc.

I speak from experience, mine has a theme of that I'm in the house alone, and there is a man watching me from the corner. The odd thing is the light is on in the room but I can't see his face, but I know that I don't know him and that he means me harm. In my dream I can't move and he slowly moves towards me, I usually wake up in a cold sweat at this point. Little details will change but the basic fear is the same

It generally takes me a good 5-10 minutes to figure out why the room is in darkness and who the person in bed with me is.

But never come too enough to think 'oh shit there's a stranger in my bed scream/call 999'

It mainly happens when I'm stressed. When I'm overtired, I think I go in to REM sleep too fast?? (Don't actually know if that's possible) and oddly if I've 'overindulged' in Archers (the drink) of all things.

Your 'theme' seems to be related to work. . .

It's not that uncommon, I find if you mention in in company you'll always find at least one or two people who'll go 'Oh me too'

Some medications can cause it too, the most common ones being anti-depressants and Statins.

I know exactly the experience you mean - I've had this all my life, and I've "come to" to find I've done all sort of dumb stuff (pulling doors off wardrobes, standing on the back doorstep with a carton of milk in my hand, moved furniture around).

It's worse when I'm stressed, when I'm tired, when I'm in a strange place and when I've been drinking.

It's also hereditary - my father, my brother and my son all do it too.

As far as I know it's completely benign. Just a weird glitch in my sleep cycle that happens from time to time.

If it's worrying you then by all means see a doctor (especially if it's a new thing). But there are thousands if not millions of us who have the same thing happen all the time, and we're fine, so the chances are incredibly high that you'll be fine too.

dalmatianmad Thu 05-Feb-15 16:12:23

Doesn't sound neurological, a sleep disorder? Sleep walking?
Maybe speak to a HCP from a sleep clinic for advice?

SirVixofVixHall Thu 05-Feb-15 16:21:27

I agree it doesn't sound like a brain disorder, you aren't confused when awake, just when coming out of a deep sleep. It sounds like night terrors. my dd gets them and she will be to all intents and purposes "awake", but kicking, lashing out, even biting, shouting "Help"" etc. They started after a spate of family deaths and a couple of frightening experiences, and they have stopped now (she is 7) but sometimes she will have one if she is very overtired or worried. I think you are having these dreams in a certain sleep state but the anxiety of the dream is then causing you to partially wake, but as you are in a deep dream state it is hard for you to wake properly.
Get checked out at the GP though, they might refer you to a sleep clinic.

BuzzardBird Thu 05-Feb-15 16:29:14

Did the GP put you on AD's for your anxiety? Mine have been giving me terrible awake dreams at night at the times that my insomnia would normally keep me awake. I know it is caused by the REM period during times of light sleep and it's just the drugs keeping me asleep IYSWIM.

The dreams you are having are definitely anxiety related and nothing to do with tumours.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 05-Feb-15 16:29:17

Maybe speak to a HCP from a sleep clinic for advice?

Sighs at the MN mania for medicalising every aspect of normal life with a trip to a specialist . This is why the NHS is going under, People. A referral to a sleep clinic costs the NHS at least £200 and for what? To be told exactly what outrageous has said - there are thousands if not millions of us who have the same thing happen all the time. It's not just about the cost, either - inappropriate specialist referral can make anxiety worse, which is hardly going to help the OP.

Nightmares are horrid, but the best treatment is to address the underlying anxiety causing them, not to make things worse with over-medicalisation. As a GP, I'd be referring the OP for CBT to help with her anxiety, not to a sleep clinic which can offer nothing in this situation.

trulybadlydeeply Thu 05-Feb-15 16:32:43

Although not the same as you, I often wake up, and for the first few minutes have absolutely no idea who I am, or where I am. It's horrible, but I gradually start piecing things together, and once I am fully awake I'm absolutely fine. I explain it to myself by saying that certain bits of my brain wake up much slower than others!

In your case it sounds like you are awake (sort of) but still dreaming.

However if your issues are distressing you, do see your GP, if only for reassurance.

LumpySpacedPrincess Thu 05-Feb-15 17:27:02

I think there are spiders or frogs in the room. I get out of bed and hunt for them, convinced they are in the room. I come too and shuffle back to bed, happens every month or so.

I slept walked as a child and it's just what I do. I wouldn't worry about it but check with your gp if it's concerning you.

creampie Thu 05-Feb-15 17:40:03

Hypnopompic and hypnogogic hallucinations are quite normal and are made worse by stress. Have a look on google if you need more info.

Assuming this never happens in clear consciousness, ie while you are awake, it's normal. Don't worry.

(There are rare forms of epilepsy that can give you experiences like this, but they would also occur while you are awake)

editthis Thu 05-Feb-15 18:57:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

knackered69 Thu 05-Feb-15 19:39:49

Yes -I get them too - much worse in a strange place - especially if it's completely dark - I once semi woke up and didn't recognise ex beside me - that was terrifying. It's like im dreaming one minute then as I start to come round the stuff that I can see around me is unfamiliar and all part of the dream? A lot of the time Iam trapped in a dark place trying to free myself - which is why when I go away I make sure it isn't completely dark so I can orientate myself quicker.

SaucyJack Thu 05-Feb-15 19:48:32

Are you a daily drinker? Might be worth trying to cut down if you are, and see if it makes your waking habits less confused.

editthis Thu 05-Feb-15 20:36:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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