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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sleep deprivation, Psychosis and my dreams. Part Three.




Read Part One Here.

Read Part Two Here.

That's what it felt like. He hit it dead-on. I was being accused and I had to defend myself. I was preparing my defense. I would be "on trial" Friday night.

The Exodus verse kept coming back to me and I kept questioning God, "How can I present my defense and remain quiet?"


God laughed and made me read the verse again. And again. And again. I felt a little silly after the umpteenth time and it hit me: THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU; you must be quiet. My focus had been on being quiet. I was still "preparing" for this meeting, this "trial," when I should have been focusing on Him.

When I finally realized my detrimental mistake, I began to learn and a whole new level of understanding was born. God is tough on me. There's no easy way out, no easy answers. If I want to follow Him, I have to understand that it is not all cotton candy and green grassy fields. Sometimes I have to follow Him into that valley--the dark place that scares the life out of me. I have to follow Him to places I've never been before. And I have to trust that He knows what He's doing even when I can't figure it out.

Now comes the part about the Psychosis.

Psychological researchers have tended to minimize the effects of sleep insufficiency, acknowledging that society may be getting too little sleep, but treating the effects of this sleep deprivation as nothing more significant than an inconvenience which makes people feel a bit tired now and then.

This view is incorrect. Recent research suggests that each day with insufficient sleep increases our sleep debt and, when this sleep debt becomes large enough, noticeable problems appear (Coren, 1996a).
Article here.

If we're not entering into REM sleep, we're not dreaming. If we're not getting enough REM sleep, we're not dreaming enough.

The voices that psychotic people hear are often critical voices, telling them that they are worthless or they are doing something incorrectly. Michael Musalek, a psychiatrist at the University of Vienna, has suggested that psychotic symptoms reflect the core existential dilemmas experienced by ordinary people, and that really resonates with me.
VERY interesting article here.

Does it sound like the enemy has a grasp on what we, as humans, don't want to admit?

Presumably, those who had the CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy], and were helped to think about relationships or other problems in a less negative or self-deprecating way, were the less likely to become psychotic?
Same article.

I was in a situation in which I was being pounded by some made-up doctrine and this pastor I trusted was telling me that I shouldn't be paying attention to what I dream and I shouldn't be paying attention to my emotions. I'm not a scientist by any means, I know that. I'm a nobody with problems. I look to God for my answers and try my best to keep my blinders on while I'm looking at Him.

It bothered me a lot to be told that I shouldn't pay attention to my dreams. It's not like I was making decisions based on them. I was simply writing them down and reflecting the meaning.

The Holy Spirit lives in me, He guides me, comforts me, convicts me, and so much more. Was this pastor friend trying to tell me that the Holy Spirit doesn't know what's going on in my head at night? That He was somehow detached from my dreams? That He couldn't use my dreams to teach me lessons? That He couldn't use a dream to give me an idea?

That is exactly what this friend was telling me. And not just me. This is what he teaches in church. If God made us in His image, that would include our mind, dreams, and emotions. And I say that if I let Satan get a foot in the door, he has the ability to shut me down, discourage me, and fill me with lies. Which ultimately keeps me from doing God's will.


Was this Satan trying to discourage me from writing or God teaching me a valuable lesson? I'll explore more tomorrow.

2 comments:

Heather said...

Michelle,
Why do we in the church feel the need to accuse so often, most of the time under the ruse of "defending the faith/gospel." I heard a great sermon the other day entitled "Growing Grass or Pulling Weeds" based on a parable Christ told. The pastor encouraged us to focus on developing spiritually rather than accusing. It sucks to be on the receiving end of pointing fingers and gossip.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

Y'know...it does suck to be on the receiving end. But through this experience I learned so much more than I ever would have imagined. I'm going to get to that in the next couple of days.

I didn't plan on this taking so long, but I'm still learning and telling the story is actually helping me learn even more.

So while I'd rather have not been the person people were gossiping about, it sure did teach me a lot. (And I'm going through a similiar situation right now--being gossiped about) I wonder if God is giving me a pop-quiz or a final exam? LOL