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Nighttime Attacks???

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by jhshiu, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. jhshiu

    jhshiu New Member

    Hi all.

    My name is Jennie and I've been following this board on/off for years but have never posted. I'm 38 and have a long history of TMS-type issues. I've been to many doctors and have many tests over the years. Everything comes out "normal."

    Over the last year, I have suffered with horrible reflux (apparently, it's not acid reflux based on ph study), IBS/stomach pain, severe anxiety, exhaustion, joint pain, migraines, head pain, numbness/tingling, floaters and what's really getting to me is what's happening at night.

    When I'm about to fall asleep or when I am asleep, I will be awakened by some crazy things happening in my body. It starts off with numbness/tingling in my extremities and sometimes my whole body, then it can vary from the reflux starting up, to sweating, rapid heartbeat, nausea and chest pain. I've been having these episodes on/off for months. Sometimes I get them everyday for weeks and then nothing for several weeks. This past week has been a doozy because I've been getting them every single night...multiple times a night. I'm not necessarily in a "panic" when I have these episodes; however, panic does set in when they keep occurring multiple times/night.

    Has anyone every experienced anything like this? The lack of sleep itself is literally driving me crazy...especially since I am a stay-at-home mom to 3 young kids.

    Thanks so much for your help!!

  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    Welcome to the forum.

    I have experienced a similar phenomenon for many years--waking up with pain and/or migraines. I was reading a book on trauma by a neurologist and trauma researcher (Dr. Richard Scaer) recently, and he described his theory that this pain is triggered during REM (dream) sleep. He states that the purpose of dreams is to integrate current experience with past experience. So if one's current stress is triggering past trauma than the subconscious will resort to the same distraction technique used when awake. So in other words TMS can be triggered during sleep in much the same way it is triggered when awake. Since working on my TMS with the standard TMS techniques (e.g. journaling, meditation, mindfulness, etc), I've found not only a big reduction in my daytime TMS, but I seldom wake up in pain, so I think the nighttime issues can be addressed in the same way.

    Warm regards,
    lauren4235, PKat and Lily Rose like this.
  3. jhshiu

    jhshiu New Member

    Thanks for your feedback, Ellen. The thing is that I don't really have past trauma. I do, however, have current stress. My youngest has severe food allergies, my husband has a demanding job that requires a lot of hours, I feel like I am going through life on "automatic pilot" with daily routines/schedules. As much as I love my family, I feel a little bit like I lost myself. I'm considering taking a mindful meditations course in January so hopefully I'll learn some coping techniques. I feel like I can handle the day-time TMS but the night time stuff is so hard.....I just need good, quality sleep. Thanks again.

  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, your nighttime symptoms sound very difficult indeed. There is nothing more stressful and more likely to induce TMS than parenting. All those conflicting emotions and never having enough time for ourselves....I remember it well. I think mindful meditation sounds a great activity for you to learn. And the beauty of it is that it can be practiced throughout your day within your routine activities rather than trying to carve out time for it.

    Wishing you the best...
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jhshiu, Meditation can give you great relief. Meditate even if the only place that's private and quiet is the bathroom.

    You're not alone. I don't know about the rest of the world, but America has given itself over to kids. They conrtrol
    everything... our lives, our homes, our time. Not much much if anything can be done about it because it's how
    American families have chosen to live.

    I have nice neighbors who came here from Ireland but they soon fell into the routing of letting their young son and
    daughter take over their lives. The husband is at work a lot so he gives very little help to the wife, and she is like
    a taxi driver, taking the little darlings to every sport and activity known to man. In between driving trips she cleans
    the house and walks the dog, does the grocery shopping, cooking, dishes cleaning, washes the clothes, does the ironing.

    What a life! Poor woman doesn't have a life. She has about five full-time jobs at home.

    Her husband makes big money but won't hire a house cleaner. He just adds that to his wife's "duties."

    The kids don't do anything but shoot baskets, ride their bikes or roller scooters, and practice sports.

    My parents gave my older brother and sister and I chores. I learned to clean the house, scrub the kitchen floor
    on our hands and knees, did the ironing, hung the laundry that came back to dry from the laundry service each week,
    learned how to repair broken wires in lamps, how to sew, even cook dinners.

    I had a roommate once who was an insurance salesman. I said I'd clean the kitchen, living room, and he just would clean
    his room (I gave him the only bedroom and I slept on a rollaway couch in the living room), and he would clean the
    bathroom. I gave him a roll of shelf paper to hang in the bathroom cabinet. He came out of the bathroom an hour later
    and asked, "How do you hang shelf paper?"

    He was from a wealthy family who hired people to do everything in their big house. Fine for them, but it never taught their son
    how to even hang bathroom shelf paper. He later married but I have my doubts as to how long it lasted, especially if he
    married a girl who didn't know how to keep an apartment or house or hang shelf paper in the bathroom.

    I say give the kids chores. It's good for them and good for you.
    lauren4235 and Lily Rose like this.
  6. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, I, too, was raised with chores. I began working when I was 11, doing babysitting jobs. Over the years I also worked in fields picking berries for income. We didn't have much money, so I needed to help pay for my school clothes. I learned solid work ethics, even though pain was my constant companion. My younger brother was sent away to a private high school (to literally save him from the physical abuse of my mom's 3rd husband) and I took over his paper route, doing 7 days a week delivery, and collecting the money each month. All that money went to help provide for my brother's school. So yes, strong work ethics, which has served me very well as an adult. I can survive quite well.

    Now it is rare for kids to know how to do anything as simple as laundry or dishes. This doesn't serve them well for the future.

    Jennie .. I always knew I wouldn't be a mother, so I haven't had experience the sheer overwhelming responsibility that being a mother entails. However, it is my belief that mothers are terribly under-appreciated. It is a job that requires multitasking on so many levels, and it becomes very easy to lose yourself.

    Because you exist with only small slices of time available to you, there are some tools you can learn to use during those small slices.

    Alternate Nostril Breathing. One of the fastest ways to slow yourself down. Googling it will give you alot of information, but I will express my own practice of it for you.

    FIRST --- do NOT practice this if you are bi-polar. Ever.

    -- Holding your right hand up to your face, gently place your thumb against the lower nostril of the right side to block the air flow. I prefer to let my first two fingers rest against my brow, and my 3rd finger to hover over the left nostril. Don't block it (yet).

    -- Inhale slowly, without causing the nostril muscles to engage. If you suck in air, it draws the nostril muscles inward, pinching the air supply. Breathe as though there is a straw inside your nose and you are bypassing the surface, but feeling the tickle of the hairs move. Your tongue should be soft and spread against the roof area of the mouth. I tend to slightly tighten my tongue on the side I am inhaling, thus creating a tangible reminder. Breathe in until you cannot bring in any more. Your ribs should be fully inflated outwards, which stretches intercostal and back muscles.

    -- Place your 3rd finger over the left nostril at the same time you lift your thumb away from the right and slowly/deeply exhale for as long as you can.

    -- Do not move your finger/thumb position .. now inhale through the right (the same one you just exhaled from) in the same, full manner. Don't forget to keep your tongue soft, but slightly firmed on the side you are working on.

    -- Remove your 3rd finger and replace your thumb in position, and exhale through the left side.

    This is considered one full cycle. In left, out right, in right, out left.

    Do this no more than three or four times the first time. Let yourself be for a bit, then do it again in an hour or so. Or when ever you remember.

    Never do more than seven times. There is no need.

    After you have become fully comfortable with this method, and understand the sensations involved ... the following is where I took my practice. This was not taught to me. It was created on the spot when I was in a severely stressful situation and could not bring my hand to my face without attracting attention. Since this method occurred to me, I have used it, and taught it, with wonderful results.

    -- Not using your hands at all, imagine breathing in through the left, fully, gently .. the left side of your tongue should be very slightly firmer to 'guide' the inhale. But still, your tongue remains overall broad and softened. Then exhale through the right .. still using your imagination. Inhale through the right. Exhale through the left. As you practice this, you will notice that tiny muscles actually begin to respond. You will feel each side individually. Yes, air still goes in and out both sides, but specific muscle activation does occur.

    The Alternate Nostril Breathing is used as a pre - meditative exercise. It is meant to prepare you for full meditation.

    Remember ... you ARE strong enough. Believe.

    with grace and gratitude,
  7. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    I, too, can keep stress under reasonable control during the day but night is another thing. I have even had a few full-blown panic attacks right out of dead sleep! First, I had to learn "this is only anxiety; anxiety is tms; it can't hurt me if I just let it go." Then, it drove me to IFS and parts work, in general. I just had to keep looking until I found something that worked for me at a profound level. So, in their way, my night time problems were a blessing.

    Good luck to you. Being a parent is truly tough but I do miss my little ones now that they are owly great adults!
  8. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    When I first started with my pain I mostly had back pain but when I became a mother and could not sleep for 6 years straight due to my son waking me up my sleep was ruined. I have tried lots of different methods and sometimes manage to sleep 5 hrs in a row, which is a very good thing. I am aware that even 3 hrs of straight sleep can help you, so I don't worry that much (worrying too much can add to it).
    I do have two CD's that help me a lot. One is from Dr. Schubiner's book "Unlearn your pain". It is very helpful. When I wake up at three am I turn on the CD, I have it ready at my bed side programmed for 20 minutes or less, and it brings me back to resting or sleep. Even if you don't sleep this meditations can help you feeling rested. The CD has four parts and I listen to only one, two or all of them depending of the time I wake up. At least you can have the peace of knowing that even though you are not sleeping your body and soul is resting.
    I also have the CD by Paul McKenna, "I can make you sleep". He has a very soothing voice and it can help. I do prefer Dr. Schubiner's Cd because it has to do with soothing our pain.
    Nowadays it is difficult having kids, they can be very narcissistic. I have managed to turn around it with my son, I remind him all the time that I am also a person and that I also deserve time and consideration and I think he gets it, but I still have to remind him. I am working on not getting too aggravated with my son, he is such an alpha male and sometimes I get furious and start screaming and cursing around him, but we are all human and I forgive myself because it is not all the time.
    I also don't go crazy with cleaning and having everything perfect. If I have the chance to go out with a friend to the beach or to the park to exercise, or anything I just leave. I also live in a very safe island and my son can go out and play with friends. It is more difficult for you because you have three. Try to find some time to be alone and relax.
    My mom had 5 and no money. She told me that once a day she would sit down and completely relax and that gave her the energy to continue.
    You can of course use other soothing CDs. Those are the ones that work for me.
    Good Luck!
    Ellen likes this.
  9. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh Jennie, I totally understand what you're going through though it's been a few years. (My 2 or my three kids are young adults now.) I used to wake up out of a dead sleep with my limbs shaking. Completely beyond my control. Then it would spread up and down my limbs and move to my trunk and head down another limb. I was terrified and thought I was developing a neurological condition. (It didn't help that I was a nurse and knew enough to solidly scare the tar out of me!) My medical tests were always negative and my wise nurse practitioner said it was stress. I had no idea about TMS until a few months ago!

    I found comfort in verses from poetry or Psalms to repeat to myself when I woke up like that. Now, I use my iPod to listen to ocean waves or soothing books on low. Or a guided imagery. I also have used benadryl. If you're in a rough spell right now, that may be helpful in getting you the sleep you need.

    Sleep is still a bit of a challenge for me but it is SO much better than when my kids were little. I know it's a TMS thing but right now keeping pain levels at bay are my bigger priority. Baby steps, eh?

    You'll get through this!

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