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Can't tell the difference between dream and reality..

Question Posted Monday August 1 2011, 4:12 pm

Hi so I'm a fifteen year old female and within the past few months or so I've been having really awful nightmares and I think what makes them so awful is that I am bloody convinced they are real. I'll give some examples. I don't know if this happened in real life or on a dream but I had a conversation with my mother about my underpants and i can't for the life of me figure out if it really happened or not. Also in another dream I was indeed trying to figure out if I was dreaming or not so I'd pinch my self to see if it hurt or not but I couldn't tell if it did for not. It was kind of like my mind made me think it hurt just so i wouldn't figure out it was a dream. But the pinching aspect also frightens me for this reason: I've been told I talk in my sleep which makes me think what if I am performing these actions like pinching myself in my sleep and not realizing it? That's scary because sometimes I feel like i am screaming in my sleep. I woke up this morning knowing I was in real life again and pinched myself just because and I was almost convinced I didn't feel anything even though I knew for fact i was awake. Maybe it's because. I feel like my life has been changing and I like that it has because i feel different. But I think deep down I always knew there was something a little wrong with me so could it be a sign of some disorder or something? What do you think?

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Xenolan answered Tuesday August 2 2011, 12:30 am:
I would suggest you see a counselor, or if that is impractical, check a book about lucid dreaming out of the library. There are ways in which you can learn to gain a certain degree of control over your dreams, and teach your brain to recognize when it IS a dream and allow you to wake up from it.

Remember that dreams originate within our own minds, and it is therefore possible to generate signs or clues which will tell you when you are dreaming. One way I've heard that it can be done is to pick an easily recognizable object which you wouldn't see in real life - say, a miniature elephant. Over time, you can actually train your own brain to insert this object into your dreams, and when you see it, you will know that you must be dreaming. I don't actually know the technique, but I've heard it can be done.

One very simple thing you can do is to keep a book by your bedside, any book at all, even the phone book will do. Then, when you wake up from a dream and want to test and make sure you're really awake, pick up the book and try to read some of it. Ever notice that you can never read anything when you're dreaming? It's because that part of the brain is shut down during REM sleep. If you can read a paragraph, you're *definitely* awake. It's much more certain than the pinch-test.

I doubt that it is a sign of a disorder. You probably just have very intense visual dreams. That can be a good thing if you can manage to change them into dreams which are more entertaining. And I think that we all have that feeling, deep down, that there's something wrong with us; some people are just better at hiding it.

One other thing - some medications can cause this sort of thing as a side effect, particularly antidepressants. If you're on something like that, then there's your explanation.

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JustJessOx answered Monday August 1 2011, 8:01 pm:
Hey there :)
Hmm this is intriguing..
It could be that your just anxious stressed tired.. the change like you said but there is one sleep disorder I know of its quite scary though and I'm not quite sure this is the same but it reminded me a little of it.
Have you ever heard of sleep paralysis? My sisters boyfriend has it. It's basically where you wake up in the middle of a dream like your mind comes out of the subconscious state but you are technically still asleep.. you think things are real and happening but they are really not.
Google it there is actually a lot of info on it and it's quite interesting. Sleep paralysis episodes can be scary if it's a night mare but the suffer usually knows when its occurring like if something is so bizare you know you are asleep.
He has similar experiences to you. Talking pinching etc. One night he woke up in his soccer gear which was in his car outside our house..he went out in his sleep and didn't remember.
We can do a lot of strange things in our sleep but it's totally normal. If your worried consult your doctor. It might not even be a disorder at all Personally I think you're just over thinking things. We all do weird things in our sleep and have those moments where we think oh crap was that a dream 99.9% of the time it was so relax :)
In my opinion there is nothing wrong with you.
Ive had moments like that too.
Hope this gave some insight!
any more questions please feel free to inbox
much <3
Jess 17/f

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