Last night I had a nightmare. It might be more accurate to call it a night terror. It isn't that unusual for me, I used to have them very often. Over the years they have lessened quite a bit.  I don't usually remember what they are about, I only know that I am terrified. So much so that it's hard for me to scream out and I'm almost paralyzed. I do scream out now, which scares my wife as much as it does me.

I have had these nightmares from a very young age, sometime around when I began to daydream. So I'm wondering if it is somehow related to MDD. I suppose it's like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although I have never been diagnosed with that problem. One vivid one I had as a child involved my family. We were all packed into the family station wagon and were driving along a steep cliff with a straight drop down. I was next to the door on the cliff side of the car. Suddenly the door opens and I fall out. I would then awaken in a cold sweat and totally frightened. As I got older that nightmare disappeared, but new ones took its place.

As I said, I usually don't remember what they are about, but I do know they are horrific. For a long time, I had the distinct feeling I was being chased by some evil presence that intended harm to me. I haven't had them for quite awhile, but within the last year, I have had a few. I wonder if it is because I am consciously trying to confront the fears I grew up with and this is my subconscious fighting back, afraid to feel bad feelings. I don't know, but it could be.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Or am I the only one in the world, which is pretty frightening by itself!

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Comment by Daniel D Woodard on February 15, 2018 at 10:46am

Hi Wendy. Thank you for your input, interesting stuff. The little bit of online research I've done leads me to believe this phenomenon is kind of complex and there doesn't seem to be a lot of concrete conclusions yet. I am relieved & encouraged that at least there is recognition of it's existence & it is being studied.

In my own case, I am convinced there is a correlation between MDD & nightmares. As best as I can remember they both manifested about the same time in my childhood about 7-8 yo. I had sustained a fairly severe head injury & as a result became insecure & withdrawn. From that point it was a downward spiral into depression & conditions related to that. Sometimes I marvel that I survived all of it & have led a fairly productive life.

Fortunately, as I age, the conditions are becoming less severe which allows me to be more objective in my evaluation of it. It has had a dramatic impact on my life overall & I hope more research will be devoted to it & raise conscious awareness in general.

Beyond that, I have developed a positive outlook on life & am learning to accept my limitations. It would be so great if younger folks could be spared all the anguish that this condition can entail. If we can support each other that will go a long way to demystify MDD. Love to all fellow MDDers -Dan

Comment by Wendy on February 15, 2018 at 6:34am

Hi Daniel! I don't know if my experience is similar to yours, but it here it goes.

I've been MDD ing since I was very young (four or five maybe) and around that age I started having nightmares. It isn't a very clear memory, but I remember for many years I couldn't sleep alone in my room and to this day I cannot sleep in the dark. Most of my nightmares were about natural disasters. I was a very anxious and fearful child, I was afraid of storms, of the wind, of being left alone ecc.  I always thought that that was the reason for my nightmares,but after I learned about MDD I started to think that the two phenomena might be linked. Maybe an active imagination can lead to more vivid dreams, and since we daydream to escape certain fears or elaborate emotions, these tend to come up in our dreams or nightmares. This is just my opinion though, I really don't know..

Fast forward: when I was eleven or twelve I started to have lucid dreams. It was completely spontaneous for me, and though I can't control it perfectly, it helped me reduce the number of nightmares  because I can "sense" when a normal dream is about to turn to nightmare and I wake up . I know many people learn to do it for different purposes, maybe you could check it out?

In addition, my Dad has very similar nightmares (he's actually the first person I thought about when I read your post), where he dreams he is being chased by a murderer and he starts howling until we wake him up . It happens about twice a year, since he was a child. .I'll ask him about it the next time I see him ,he is not a MDD though,

Hope I was useful, 

ps. sorry if there are some "grammar nightmares", I'm not used to writing in English  :)

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