Friday, June 24, 2011

Did you see that? - Hallucinations, Distortions and Hypnogogia

I have so much I want to post all at once =( I completely forgot to post my Lucid Analysis from therapy this week (stupid busy at work this week and I didn’t have time to post Monday so now my whole schedule is thrown off). I may do that tomorrow because it was a rather insightful session. 

So continuing on with the Associated Features of Borderline Personality Disorder.
(B) Some individuals develop psychotic-like symptoms when under stress:
-          Hallucinations
-          Body image distortions, ideas of reference
-          Hypnagogic phenomena  

Hallucinations: I can’t personally speak for hallucinations. I have never had this problem except for one time and an experience involving Absinthe, but that really has nothing to do with BPD. Friends wife has, on occasion, experienced bipolar related hallucinations. They can be visual, auditory, or sensory. Unless you consider that bugs crawling on your skin sensation a hallucination when there aren’t any bugs there. I’ve had that before, but only after I found an actual bug crawling over me and was a little ooged out.

Body image distortions: I’m not even going to expound on my issues with body image and dysmorphia. You can read about it more here. In terms of self-perception I have almost no concept of how I physically relate to another person from a physical measurements point of view. People and myself are measured by their presence in my mind. If I don’t have any respect for you, you can be 6’7” and 300lbs but you’ll register as someone nonthreatening and therefore smaller. If you’re someone I do have a great deal of respect or caring for, in my eyes you will seem taller.  Additionally, my perception of myself (has nothing to do with this), I just always think I am bigger than I am. No, not in an “I’m so fat”, kind of way. I need to physically stand side by side someone looking into a mirror to get an accurate idea of just how discrepant our sizing is. Otherwise I feel like I’m of a proportion similar to them or that their sizing is more ideal than my own. I don’t think I’m describing this well, it’s hard for me to convey. It’s a sense that I am not proportionate to those around me.

Ideas of Reference: involve people having a belief or perception in which irrelevant, unrelated or innocuous phenomena in the world refer to them directly or have special personal significance: 'the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one's own destiny'.  
Not my issue. I pretty much believe my place in this universe is innocuous in itself and I don’t believe in destiny at all. I am in control (or should be) of my own future.  To me this is something of a paranoid feature and my paranoia just doesn’t extend that far.

Hypnagogia is the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep (i.e. the onset of sleep).
I find this one rather fascinating… among its many names, it’s also referred to as the Borderland state. Fitting, eh? I have a lot of hypnogogic phenomena.
Transition to and from sleep may be attended by a wide variety of sensory experiences. These can occur in any modality, individually or combined, and range from the vague and barely perceptible to vivid hallucinations.
Sights - sensory features of hypnagogia are phosphenes which can manifest as seemingly random speckles, lines or geometrical patterns, including form constants, or as figurative (representational) images.
 I can’t figure out if this means with eyes open or closed. I assume closed because it’s the state between wakefulness and sleep. For me I have like this awful web of black tar that coats everything behind my eyes. It’s utterly bizarre. I just had this sense last night. I remember thinking it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen this.

Tetris Effect - People who have spent a long time at some repetitive activity before sleep, in particular one that is new to them, may find that it dominates their imagery as they grow drowsy, a tendency dubbed the Tetris effect. When the activity involves moving objects, as in the video game Tetris, the corresponding hypnagogic images also tend to be perceived as moving. The Tetris effect can be tactile as well.
I don’t really get this one, but it seems neat.

Sounds - Like the visuals, hypnagogic sounds vary in intensity from faint impressions to loud noises, such as crashes and bangs (exploding head syndrome). People may imagine their own name called or a doorbell ringing. Snatches of imagined speech are common. While typically nonsensical and fragmented, these speech events can occasionally strike the individual as apt comments on—or summations of—their thoughts at the time. They often contain word play, neologisms and made-up names. Hypnagogic speech may manifest as the subject's own "inner voice", or as the voices of others: familiar people or strangers. More rarely, poetry or music is heard.
I don’t know if I hear anything in particular when I’m hypnogogic, but I’ve been told I talk in my sleep. Clearly and often.  My Roommate, Friend, lovers, family have all told me that I talk in my sleep. As far as I can tell it’s most often at this point of bordering on sleep. Hey, it’s better than snoring I guess (which I’m told I do not do). 

Sleep paralysis – Humming, roaring, hissing, rushing, zapping, and buzzing noises are frequent in conjunction with sleep paralysis (SP). This happens when the REM atonia sets in sooner than usual, before the person is fully asleep, or persists longer than usual, after the person has (in other respects) fully awoken and causes them to be unable to move their body and limbs.
It’s not permanent, but it can certainly be a little disconcerting. I’ve never had this but some friends have mine have mentioned it.

Lucid Dreaming – This is  my favorite. Lucid dreams are dreams in which you are aware that you are dreaming. In a lucid dream, the dreamer can actively participate in and manipulate imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can seem real and vivid. There are a couple different kinds and I experience both:
A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes it is a dream.
A wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state, with no apparent lapse in consciousness.
I love dreaming. The dream world is one of my favorites to occupy. To feel your body moving through a world foreign to the one it’s actually settled in, it’s, trippy. Lucid dreaming can be cultivated by anyone really, not just those with PDs or some mental taxation. I highly recommend it.  

None of these are specific to or exclusive to Borderline Personality Disorder. Not by any stretch of the imagination. However they’re often triggered by stress and anxiety and being Borderline pretty much means you’re more prone to these triggers than average.


  1. What a great topic, and a well formulated article, Haven!

    Much... no, all of the symptoms you describe are well known not only in mental disorders and mental illnesses, they're also very well established parts of any adept's so called pre-transcendence experiences.

    In other words, all these experiences are reported and described by practitioners of spiritual practices and by priests on an ongoing basis. They are all very commonly known in religious and spiritual history of all cultures through out time.

    It's disturbing to see that even the very things you describe here have become synonymous with being a dysfunctioning person.

    They're also not uncommon for psychopaths, though we - like neurotypicals - tend to not talk about it. - Stress and anxiety is a major factor in triggering these phenomena... for most people. But it doesn't seem to be the case with us, with psychopaths, and this could indicate that there're an even wider range of aspects involved than mostly assumed.

    I've recently been asked by a reader if I ever have any spiritual experiences, and if it is something that is common for psychopaths in general. So I've been preparing to write an article on this topic.
    And then I pay your website a visit and find... this!

    Coincidence?... Perhaps. ;)

    I'm glad to know about your website, because good, intelligent and varied information from someone who has the shoes on (not a psychologist or psychiatrist, i.e.) is what I think a lot of people need more than anything. I know several folks with Borderline PD, and this is just what they could benefit a lot from.

    Hope you're having some good summer days!... '^L^,

  2. Thanks Zhawq =)

    You're absolutely right about these being fairly common experiences. Stress and anxiety indeed, and I'd argue that my end of the PD spectrum (BPD) experiences it to an extreme most don't deal with. I'd love to read what you have to say on these matters.

    There was one series of blogs that I was very hesitant to post about a while back, but once I opened all that up and put it out there, done, I figured there's no reason not to talk about all the slightly less comfortable things.

    As you well know there's a lot of misconceptions about PDs and such and if I can bring a little enlightenment and understanding to my corner of it than I've done something right I believe.

    My summer has been looking pretty good thusfar I'm happy to say. Hope yours is treating you just as well =) Cheers!

  3. I had a lot of night terrors when I was a kid. I also have a lot of the "sound" hynpagogia and lucid dreams. I used to have a lot of the sleep paralysis too, though not as much anymore. God, this is such a striking piece. I was diagnosed with BP II originally but then got a more accurate diagnosis of BPD and have been searching for months on info about lucid dreams and BP, but now I've been wanting to see what was out there on BPD and found that there isn't much from what I see. I could be mistaken.

    Glad I found your blog. This is great!

    1. I haven't found much on dreams on BPD. Sleep disorders/disturbance/insomnia is very common. I've also noticed through my own experience that many medications make dreams much more vivid as well.

      I've always been a vivid dreamer though (moreso now with my meds) so who knows. I'll look into more and maybe do a piece on it.

  4. Very excellent information. Why does a borderline tell you if you care about them you will leave them alone-then vanish and then come back and then tell you they must have no contact again. They speak of love and hopes and dreams with you but say they are afraid, What can I do while he is pushin and pulling? I love him but feel so lonely when he is taking time out. His anxiety is over the top and his alchol and adavan is out of control.


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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