Lucid dreaming and bipolar disorder

I want to make a thread about how to manage lucid dreaming while having bipolar disorder (aka. manic depression).

I have been interested in lucid dreaming for quite long and I have had some success at different times, but I never kept it up due to the workload at school and now recently the university. I want to pick it up again but the thing is that I’ve been having increasingly difficult depressive periods mixed with weeks/days of “highs” - hypomania.

I sought help and got to meet a psychiatrist. She strongly suspect bipolar disorder and I now take a mood-stabilizer. Specific drug name removed It explains alot of feelings and behaviors in my past, and I began to suspect it before I sought help.

To the point: there are some obvious difficulties with lucid dreaming and bipolar disorder:

  1. One has to have regular and undisturbed sleep to avoid relapses into depression or mania.
  2. Medication might affect dreaming and sleeping. Please remember that discussion of how prescription drugs affect lucid dreaming is not permitted, as stated in the guidelines. Thanks :dragon:
  3. Perhaps bipolar disorder in itself affects the ability to lucid dream?
    I can imagine it would help against depression, atleast in its initial stages. :cool:

Do anyone else here on the forum have bipolar disorder? If so lets get together and help each other out. I imagine it could be helpful for both lucid dreaming and coping with our disorder. :grin:

“Normal people” :tongue: are of course welcome too! Share your thoughts and ideas, ask questions, spam smileys! I have never been especially active but now is a better time than ever to emerge into the world of lucid dreaming (and the ld4all forum :shy:)

I don’t have this one but disorders are cool :happy:
Obsessive–compulsive disorder is my favorite and I have it
To be honest I was surprised because training LD helped me with this (I’ve never been to a doctor with this disorder or took medicines that aim to prevent obsessive actions) and today I’m like 90 % healed from this disorder. I still count everything I do maniacally xD But I don’t even notice it so I don’t care…Everyone that has Obsessive–compulsive disorder don’t take medicines…just use LD/meditation and shut the f…k up about this. I believe talking about diseases and stuff like that just makes them worse :razz:

Hehe they sure add to ones personality :tongue:

I don’t know how severe your OCD has been, so I can’t claim to know anything about your struggle and efforts with it. But I do know that it ,like many other disorders, can be very severe and disabling. That some can’t lead a normal life without getting help.

When it comes to bipolar disorder it includes a whole spectra of severity ranging from:
Bipolar I disorder - severe mania and depression (can include psychosis during its peaks)
Bipolar II disorder - Less severe mania (hypomania) and severe depression
Cyclothymia - hypomania and less severe depression
With more variations and their proper treatment being defined as we speak.

However what unites all these under the category of “Bipolar disorder” is that the mental states they provoke are more severe than what healthy people normally experience in their daily life. Naturally, like all disorders involving major depressions or psychotic features, bipolar disorder is very distressing and can be quite dangerous :sad:

As far as I know there is almost no chance of it going away by itself nor getting cured. It can be managed with a regulated lifestyle and medication but finding a working mix of medication with acceptable side-effects often takes years. If left untreated the disorder often gets worse as the brain gets adjusted to or damaged by the reoccurring episodes of depression and mania.

It might get better with time depending on when the disorder started in life and how long it has progressed before treatment began.

My point is that bipolar disorder is not really something that can be ignored and I think it probably is good to share experiences in how to cope with it. In this case coping with it and having lucid dreams at the same time :wink:

I also forgot to mention in my first post that the ones here who struggle with “regular” depression probably could benefit and contribute to the thread equally. Naturally major depression and manic depression share a many things - from hardships to certain medications.

I don’t know if there is a thread about “Lucid dreaming and depressive disorders” but if this thread doesn’t flop completely and I am completely alone here as slightly mentally ill (I seriusly doubt that :woo: ) Then the thread and title should definitely include both!

I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I remember that there is a correlation between REM sleep and depression.

Doing a quick google search pulled up this quote:

With lucid dreaming generally occurring in the REM sleep stage, I think you’re probably right in that bipolar disorder (and medications for it) could definitely affect the ability to lucid dream.

There was a NOVA special on not too long ago entitled “Why We Dream”. In it they talked about the REM-depression link. If you haven’t seen it, you may want to check if you can watch it somewhere online. It may have some information that’s useful.

Hmm interesting… I did some research before I began to take Specific drug name removed and found many anecdotes about more vivid dreams, often in a negative sense since these people are filled with negative emotions and probably have no control over their dreams. But I did find similar stories from people who began to take antidepressants. Specific drug name removed is both a mood stabilizer and antidepressant so there could be the same mechanism involved.

(Here follows speculation since that is something I enjoy :content:)
If antidepressants generally decrease REM sleep and if (some?) people get more vivid dreams on them then either:

  1. The REM sleep you still have is more profound, perhaps due to some kind of REM deprivation.
  2. Some people react in the opposite way.
  3. The increase in/more profound REM sleep is temporary during the tweaking of the dosage by some unknown mechanism.

A possible reason for that depressed people have more REM sleep is that they often don’t sleep well: insomnia and low quality of sleep. I’m pretty sure that sleep deprivation yields a higher percentage of REM (which is quite interesting in itself since that could indicate that it’s REM sleep and dreaming that is the most important for the mind, not the shutting down and repair(?) part of NREM)

There are also different kinds of depressions; mainly typical and atypical depression. Atypical depression is more common in bipolar disorder and is associated with: excessive sleeping, overeating (sweet tooth) and the sense of a body made of lead(extreme body fatigue) in contrast to typical depression: insomnia, lack of appetite and mainly fatigue of the mind.

It’s pretty logical since we completely wear ourselves out during the mania with no sleep or food, racing thoughts and extreme activity. I hope that having atypical depressions is detrimental to my dreaming and that it will return to normal once I begin to get better, not in the opposite direction :eek:

Disorders aren’t something like magic cards… it’s not cool, a lot of people with disorders would gladly want to be ‘normal’.

I don’t know if there is a correlation between certain disorders and lucid dreaming. I’ve thought about this myself a few times. I know at least one person with schizophrenia who has lucid dreams occasionally but this may have nothing to do with his disorder or medication… I know a few other persons with either schizophrenia, psychoses, manic depression, regular depression and other anxieties and paranoia, could ask them about it, but I’d rather not do that.

I’ve taken antipsychotics for a short period of time so I can’t really say anything about what it did with my dreams. The period I took them though did my dream recall no good. My night was one big black hole.

Right now I’m taking antidepressants. Specific name removed. It’s been about a year now since I started and I can’t say it changed anything in my dream recall or vivid dreaming or lucid dreaming, it’s more or less the same I think. Can’t really be sure because before I started taking them I was an insomniac so I slept about 2 to 4 hours a night but even though I hardly slept I did dream a lot. You might be right there stinky_alex, apparently I did have more REM sleep. It also helped that I woke up about every hour, that would make me recall my dreams better too.

My LDing has improved a bit this last year, but that’s because I’ve been working on it and I figured out what it was because years ago when I was a teen, I had frequently LDs but I didn’t quite understand what it was back then.
Overall, I don’t think the medication changed my dream pattern. But perhaps when you’ve got a higher chance of becoming psychotic, you automatically have a higher chance of becoming lucid aswell… idk

I have this naive but sort of beautiful and comforting thought. That being a very experienced lucid dreamer with the habit of questioning reality might help one to become less delusional and perhaps a bit more lucid during some part of the psychosis.

I know it’s a very distorted yet rigid state of mind which probably is very hard or even impossible to take hold of by yourself… But the idea of it makes me a bit less anxious when the possibility psychosis comes to mind. One could say it’s a combination of my drift to create speculative theories and wishful thinking. :smile:

Yeah, as I understand it the antipsychotics make you sleep like a rock. I read about some woman who had to stop taking them because she began to sleep 20 hours a day.

Good to hear that the antidepressants don’t ruin it for you. I think that I’m probably bipolar type 2. Mostly depression with a lot of anxiety and couple weeks of hypomania sprinkled on top. So I will probably need to add an antidepressant to my mood stabilizer sooner or later.

I actually don’t have much trouble with my sleep, I generally sleep too much when I’m depressed and euthymic (i.e. normal mood - unsure how that feels though). Even though I have rather poor quality of sleep when I’m hypomanic I mostly sleep the hours I need, unless I have something I must do in the morning and I can’t stop doing stuff at night. That often leads to a circle of more hypomania and the eventual crash.

Some week when i was commuting to my university I slept only 4-5 hours a night and was full of energy and euphoric all day. Luckily I began to have migraine attacks which wouldn’t go away until I slept adequately. Who knows what otherwise would have happened.