Wednesday, August 29, 0015: The Night Before
A 4mg capsule of galantamine and a 500mg horse pill of choline bitartrate lie on my bedside table, waiting. At 0500, they will be called into action. I have enlisted my iPod to wake me gently, but tenaciously with the “xylophone” alarm at this time. I have taken at least 5mg Zyprexa, but it could have been 10mg (getting ready for bed on autopilot can be dangerous, as I often forget if I’ve taken my medication. Sometimes I miss a dose or double dose as a result. I need a better system). I plan to read for 10 minutes, then go to sleep.
Thursday, August 20: The Morning of
Woke up feeling very groggy and remembering no dreams. It took me 15 minutes to become sufficiently conscious to turn off my alarm and laboriously climb out of bed. I swallowed the galantamine gelatin capsule with water no problem, but almost choked on the coarse choline horse pill, which scared me a bit and left a lingering tart taste in my mouth. I then got out of bed, walked to the kitchen and ate a slice of whole-grain bread with butter. I voided my bladder, and went back to my room, where I practiced kung fu in the mirror for a few minutes, then climbed back into bed and read for 10 minutes. With these wake-back-to-bed techniques, I like to include both physical and mental stimulation.
Not long after turning off my lights, roughly 30 minutes after taking the supplements, my limbs started feeling lighter. I started to lose sense of time, but it was not too long before my body entered sleep paralysis (SP) (much shorter than on previous WILD attempts made without supplements). I felt energizing waves pulse through my body, and it felt like a strong wind was creating loud turbulence as it traveled past my ears. It was among the most intense SP experiences I’ve had, minus the accompanying hallucinations, which were not present here (usually I only have hallucinations when moving from Dream –> SP, rather than from Waking –> SP –> Dream). Aside: upon reflection in that moment, I realized I had just had a short dream while not yet asleep. I’d never experienced that before. Sometimes, these dynamic energies continue at the same level for a while, then subside. Often I get frustrated and just go to sleep. I haven’t been all that successful with wake-induced-lucid dreams (WILDs) in the past, and consider myself a beginner for sure. However, this time the energy was not only refusing to subside, it was determined to continue strongly and even amplify. It was effortless on my part.
I’ve read that many people have difficulty falling back asleep after consuming galantamine. I did not experience this problem. If anything, I think being on antipsychotic meds might have provided a slight advantage in this respect. As the energy level rose, I felt closer and closer to being catapulted over the threshold, from waking reality to beyond. I tried to gently influence the hypnogogic imagery (in this case twinkling lights) into a scene. I didn’t enter directly into a lucid dream, but I soon became lucid and had one of the longer, more stable lucid dreams of my life.
I found myself driving around in a car looking for a good spot to pull over and take my dreaming supplements. I then awake in a house and I am lucid. It was like my parent’s house as it could exist in a not too distant parallel universe; it had a different energy, and a different room layout, though the position of the streets and its location on the property was identical. Inside, I walked from room to room. I could hear Spanish music playing faintly in the house. Where was it coming from? As I made my way to my friend’s room, it became louder and louder. When I entered her room, I found that her radio was on. I marveled at how this pretty music was originating from a tiny box, and how my mind was able to reproduce this specifically located sound with such striking accuracy. As I walked around the room, the sound changed as it should, given my binaural (stereo) hearing, and my relative position to the sound’s source. There were childrens’ toys around the far edge of the room, like those plastic pretend play houses and kitchens. The room was somehow connected to outside, or the wall inconspicuously disappeared, but I was then outside the house, in the side yard. My friend was there, but before I could talk with her, the stability of the dream wavered. I reached down and scooped up a handful of gravely sand. I felt its texture as I moved it through my fingers and then rubbed it between my hands like Maximus in the movie, Gladiator. (Note: feeling the texture of my dream environment has proven to be a highly effective dream stabilizer for me, more so than rubbing hands together rapidly, shouting for clarity, or spinning). With the dream stable again, I walked along a path beside the house. Cars were passing along the road, again with the seamless integration of visual movements and auditory sounds. I wondered if these cars were actually passing outside my house in waking reality. While in the lucid dream, I had a sense of what time it was in waking reality (around 0600), and decided that the traffic level inside my dream was consistent with what it would be while awake. While at the edge of a garden on the property, a bus drove through the yard and pulled over to a stop alongside the garden. It stopped for a moment, then noisily pulled away (there is a bus stop right outside my house in waking reality, and this bus has been integrated into my lucid dreams before!) I then decided to walk up the street. While waking, I figured it would be a good time to perform a reality check. I looked at my hand (which is what I’ve been doing in waking reality these days). It looked no different than in waking reality. All lines and creases where they should be, all in proportion. I then tried to poke my finger through my hand, but it wouldn’t budge. I knew I was dreaming, so I continued, giving my fingers a pull with my other hand. With some effort, they started to lengthen, and another full phalangeal segment emerged, giving my hands a mutated, spindly look which I found pretty amusing in the dream (in hindsight, this reality check was not that effective for me and wouldn’t have worked had I not already known I was dreaming. I like looking at text.)
I exited the dream shortly after, still in sleep paralysis. I felt like I could have easily entered another lucid dream, but decided to wake myself instead and record the dream for fear of losing the fading recollection entirely. When I awoke, it was 0615. I had been asleep for an hour.
The lucid dream probably lasted around 5 minutes. Although I didn’t try to exert much influence over the dream, I did exercise my volition by making decisions regarding where to go and what to engage in. I was aware that it was a dream, and could consciously access memories from waking reality. I did this with very little effort on my part- I felt like there was an unseen force supporting me, and facilitating this journey.
I found it more difficult to get back to sleep after recording the dream. The effects of the supplements were much fainter. I got to sleep and entered a fairly vivid non-lucid dream. I felt like it would have been fairly easy to wake up at any time, but I opted to sleep in a bit, and woke at 0945.
In summary, I was very impressed with the efficacy of the galantamine/choline combination. Using only a simple WBTB technique in tandem with the supplements, I was able to effortlessly enter sleep paralysis, sustain/intensify it, and then enter a sweet lucid dream. Prolonging one lucid dreaming or entering subsequent ones felt like a distinct possibility, one that I opted out of in order to record the first lucid dream I had last night. I woke up this morning feeling well rested, with no ill after-effects of the supplements or time spent awake.
Things that helped me feel comfortable taking these supplements:
- Reading numerous reports of people’s experiences with taking them for lucid dreaming purposes, as well as for Alzheimer’s, and some mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia. I found Ryan Hurd’s work particularly helpful for lucid dreamers, and although I didn’t read it myself, noted that many people found the book, Advanced Lucid Dreaming – The Power of Supplements, by Thomas Yuschak helpful.
- Buying from a reputable source (I got mine from NutritionBAY on ebay)
- Testing it during the day to rule out any allergies or drug interactions. See my previous post for more info
- A prerequisite understanding/experience of sleep paralysis. It is crucial to be unafraid in this state, because fear amplifies the experience and can make it pretty darn terrifying. Chances are, you will be scared at some point in experiencing sleep paralysis. But once you learn to recognize the feeling and understand what it is and what can happen (e.g. feelings of an evil presence in the room, great pressure on your chest, auditory and visual hallucinations, floating above or sinking into your mattress) you can lose that fear and not only find the experience not, but also use it as a springboard to enter a lucid dream.
- Previous experience with wake-induced-lucid dreaming (entering a lucid dream directly from a waking state without losing conscious awareness) would be helpful, but not necessary. My success with WILDing has been modest at best, and I was able to pull it off.
I intend on continue experimenting with these supplements occasionally, as an adjunct to the core practices of lucid living and dreaming (i.e. dream journaling, reality checks, identifying/recognizing dreamsigns etc.). I’ll be sure to document these explorations, along with other, non-supplement based journeys – thanks for joining me!