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I was writing about my condition in a different forum, but wanted to try here as well, to see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

I experience Hypnagogic hallucinations. I have Graves Disease/hyperthyroid and my research tells me that hyperthroid can cause hallucinations, especially if gone untreated. Here is my story:

Hypnagogic hallucinations are hallucinations which occur at the boundary between sleeping and waking. They can occur when people are falling asleep, or when they are starting to wake up, and they tend to be extremely vivid. I will usually have them when I am just about to fall asleep. My brain is in REM mode while I am still conscious and I will see things around my room. It is never frightening or scary imagery. My subconscious will mix fantasy with reality. Last time it happened I saw the closet door open, and seconds later I snapped out of it, and it was closed. I also woke up to find a bunch of purple balloons floating in my bedroom, and when I realized it wasn't real they simply disappeared. When it happens upon waking up for me, the images tend to be linked to whatever I was dreaming. For example, I was dreaming aboutsome crazy zoo thing with abunch of amazona rainforest type vines. I opened my eyes and the light fixture on the ceiling over my bed wascompletely covered invines and they were hanging off of it and dangling down toward me (moving as if alive), and then suddenly vanished when I became fully conscious. Although not scarry in the supernatiral way, they are extremely annoying. I will often have a difficult time falling asleep because it almost always starts to happen and then I am jerked back into being fully awake for a while before finally going to sleep. The only time it was scary was when I hadwatched ahorror movie and started hallucinating inthenight; Iopened my eyes and my dog (a small Yorkie) was sitting up in front of my face. He was really there, but he looked all gray like he was dusty, and his eyes were all messed up looking asthough he were a zombie dog or something, then I snapped out of it. Again, it was linked to what I had been dreaming, and I had just watched a horror movie the night before so that was on my mind.

Also, more often that "seeing" things, I will become very disoriented and wake up panicked that my baby is in the bed with me and I can't find her - like she is wrapped up in the covers -and I tear the bed apart searching for her before I snap out of it and realize she is in her crib safe and sound. My husband has gotten annoyed with this many times. This happens to me every few days. I will forage through my blankets desperately looking for her - it is always the hallucination that my baby is in trouble. I have also,manytimes, grabbed my husbands arms or legin thenightwhen hewould move and freak out on him because he "will crush the baby." Again,Ialways seem to think that sheisin bedwith us. This is themain reasonwhy I DO NOT let her sleep in bed with us. If I never do it, then I will always know right away that I am hallucinating since it isn't possible that she is actually there. The other night I thought she was stuck between the bars on my vanity chair (which is right next to my bed), like she had crawled through them and gotten stuck, and I was pulling the chair all over the place to "get her loose." I usually feel quite rediculus when I snap out of it. These little "spells" never last more than a few seconds. Maybe 7 or 8 seconds at the maximum. Usually by the time I am able to focus my vision on the imagery I am seeing I realize it isn't real and it fades away. The whole disoriented, panic where I am somewhat sleep walking usually lasts the longest (7 or 8 seconds). Oh, I have also woken up alltheway acrosstheroombefore franticallytrying to findsomething or turnon the lightswitch (no where near where theswitch is actuallylocated.) I guess sleep walking is part of this process. As an adolescent I used to sleep walk, I dream pretty much nightly, and have always talked in my sleep. Myabe that is why I was a perfect candidate for this awesomely annoying sleep disorder.

Ok, so down to the causeof my hallucinations: I have Graves Disease which is a type of hyperthyroidism. I take this nasty medicine called Propylthiouracil (also known as PTU) that has nasty side effects, including what is called "loss of taste" - which is actually the opposite if you ask me - for about an hour after I take it my entire mouth, tongue and taste buds taste like I drank clorox bleach. I do not think that the medicine caused the hallucinations however, as the research I conducted said that hyperthyroidism itself can cause the hallucinations, especially if the medical condition goes untreated. However, I did not start having the hallucinations until a few months after I began taking the medication, and I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism for at least a year before the hallucinations started and before I started the medicine (PTU). So now I am wondering if maybe it is the meds?

Note: I was going through a great deal of stress and became moderately depressed around the time that I began having the hallucinations, so maybe that contributed to them. Lately I have had relief from a great deal of the stress, and have not experienced any hallucinations recently.
ALSO - I take two other medications (for blood pressure) in conjunction with the PTU - so maybe the combination is having an effect on me as well? I take Labetalol and Hydralazine. I have to take these as the hyperthyroidism caused my blood pressure to go out of whack and be high all the time.

AND, I have not been diagnosed with the hallucinations by my doctor as of yet though. This is a self-diagnosis. It really isn't happening as often as it was before, and I did thourough research on it myself and discovered the source. I was also sort of embarrassed at first to tell my dr because I don't want him to think I have a mental disorder (although these hallucinations are actually considered a sleeping disorder). I am not gonna worry about it unless it gets really bad, or becomes frequent. I know what it is, and I take comfort in just that knowledge.

Does anyone else experience hallucinations, or anything similar to my experiences? If so, did you talk to your dr - what did they say? Did you find anything that helps "get rid" of them? They are not so consistent or scary that I am definitely going to the doctor about this as of yet. I am afraid if I go to the dr I will have to take ANOTHER medication, and I don't want that.

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Mindy Jean:

You are not alone. I also have Hypnagogic hallucinations. For me it's normally when falling asleep. I lay there and see my chandelier travel across the room. Also the trees outside my window will look like they're ready to come into the room. Others-- giant spider coming down from the ceiling & right over my bed; small things flying around; a shadow-like image/person floating to top of bookcase and blending in. The last one made me wonder if those who see ghosts are really have these hallucinations. Each of these are normally white images. Totally freaked me out when started a couple months ago. Would turn on a light and they'd go away. Started sleeping with light on.

Because I'm having a tough emotional time (possible divorce after 29 years, health issues, foreclosure, bankruptcy,...), I've been through some intensive counseling. I take many meds for various conditions-- tremors, depression, migraines, hypothyroidism, anxiety, hip bursitis, gerd,... all have side effects. I was healthy until 4 years ago. Since then have had 6 surgeries, countless procedures and tests, plus start of tremors, migraines, thyroid problem, and bursitis. I wasn't able to work for almost 1-1/2 years because of a pain condition that took a long time + 7 specialists to diagnose and treat. Neurostimulator implant saved me--took months to get insurance approval. Realized why when saw ins. paid $57,000 for the unit itself. Outpatient surgery so Dr. only got about $1200. Before getting it, was totally drugged-- methadone, lyrica, elavil-- for over a year. Part of reason for marriage trouble. I was absent emotionally, so drugged remember very little of that time period. Husband remembers all of it. We had worked together for 12+ years, no issues, wonderful man, terrific marriage. I left him emotionally and has his partner--- not on purpose. He turned to comfort in an inappropriate way. Devastating when found out several months after well-- found emails, etc. Whole world collasped.

Sorry for the rambling. Back to topic. I was concerned that hallucinations were a sign of a serious mental conditions-- schitzophrenia, psychosis... Finally got up enough nerve to ask Psychiatrist. Who said very, very common & sign that sleep was an issue. I had lowered dose of elavil and that's when they started. He made adjustments and not as common now. Huge relief to know I wasn't certifiably crazy! My advice-- Talk to your Dr.--- now. I bet you'll be glad you did & will find a way to eliminate or decrease them.

Glad to know I'm not alone. Family seemed to think I was crazy!!! Hang in there. Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!
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