Thanks to a question from Laura about what happened, I think I owe folks an update. I’d sort of forgotten the blog.
At one point, I had decided to go off medications, but found that I was having more of what I call “breakthrough” episodes of RBD. So I started taking Clonazepam again, and will probably do so for the rest of my life. But there have been some interesting developments in my life with RBD.
First, I do still have episodes, but they are infrequent. One night I broke a couple of toes trying to break through a wall that happened to be in both my dreaming and waking worlds. Otherwise, no serious injuries, and nothing really dramatic to report. However, when I say nothing dramatic, I mean physically dramatic.
My investigations eventually led me to the International Association for the Study of Dreams (http://www.iasdreams.org/) where I got the idea to try lucid dreaming and intention as tools for channeling my dreams in a more productive direction. Using lucidity, I confronted the sinister presence in some of my dreams, and unmasked him as being not real. Using intention, I have learned to protect myself from dreaming about subjects that are likely to create breakthrough episodes, and I have used Shamanic journeying as a gentler way to explore the topics that seem to cause breakthroughs. So that much is partially under control. An excellent book on RBD by an IASD member is “Dreamrunner,” a novel by Clare Jay. Clare also highly recommends “Paradox Lost: Midnight in the Battleground of Sleep and Dreams,” by Carlos H. Schenck, MD. I haven’t yet read the book, but Clare says it’s available from http://www.parasomnias-rbd.com.
The other part is my visits to the RBD study in Houston. This will be my last year, since they only follow their subjects for five years. Last year, I was told that it is unlikely I will develop Parkinson’s Disease, based on what they have learned about the various biomarkers for the disease in relationship to RBD. That still leaves open the possibility of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Dementia with Lewes Bodies, or other forms of neuro-cognitive decline. Or maybe I just have bad dreams!
In a discussion regarding a paper Clare Jay had written for the PsiberDreaming Conference 2014, Clare posed the question of whether a person with a parasomnia such as RBD is responsible for his or her actions during an active dreaming episode. My answer: though maybe not legally responsible in a court of law, the person with RBD does have a responsibility to do all that is possible to ensure the safety of him or herself, and those nearby. I would call it “sleep hygiene,” or maybe more appropriately “sleep etiquette.” Ensure that anyone who sleeps nearby has a quick means of escape, or sleeps in a separate bed, or even a separate bedroom if necessary. I personally use a gentler method of what I believe was called the “bundling” board, which was a physical barrier down the middle of the bed, as well as a way to tuck the covers in so that I cannot kick my bed partner.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping that Houston gives me an all clear.