A&P in a dream- possible link to mania/hypoxia/myo-inositol?

Aviva HaMakom, modified 1 Year ago at 12/18/22 5:15 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/17/22 5:40 PM

A&P in a dream- possible link to mania/hypoxia/myo-inositol?

Posts: 101 Join Date: 12/17/22 Recent Posts
On December 5th, I undertook a strong practice vow relating to morality in everyday life- without quite realizing it, this caused me to accidentally do vipassana-with-noting all day long because of needing to carefully watch my mind and behavior to make sure I was fulfilling the vow. During this time I did no formal sitting, and my entire practice until this point has been heavily focused on samatha anyway.

By December 13th (Day 9 of the vow), I was feeling highly energized and happy with my improvement in sila. My mental sharpness and ability to notice things (and also motivation/ability to complete tasks) felt quite high. I happened to pick up MTCTB and flipped through it again, feeling inspired and excited about the possibility of awakening.

Right before bed I happened to take, for the first time, 1,000 mg of myo-inositol coupled with 25 mg of D-chiro inositol; this is supposed to help with regulating both hormones (I am a woman who has menstrual cycles) and blood sugar. I did not otherwise know anything about this supplement.

I fell asleep, and right before waking the next morning had an incredibly vivid lucid dream in which I sat down to meditate and found myself (still in the dream) immediately launched into the peak of the A&P state I got into on my last retreat this August. That experience had been overwhelming and resulted in a full-blown psychedelic altered state that lasted four solid days, and immediately resulted in six weeks of intensive Dark Nighting that made regular life hard. In the dream, I had a sense of both wonder and dread: oh no, it’s happening again!

Then I woke up and was in the A & P in real life, with all my telltale signs: reality looking hyper-real, kundalini-style energy surging through my body, hair standing on end, spontaneous orgasms and a sudden tremendously increased fervor for the dharma- GAH! So freaky, I have not had an A&P in a dream since I was a child, and this was far stronger than that. 

I went about my work day successfully (I am not sure how!) and it took a few hours of reality testing to make sure that this had actually happened. I resigned myself to a new cycle (it should be noted that I do not have stream entry and this has given me huge motivation to do so) and began to do formal Mahasi-style noting vipassana for the first time in my life, as many hours a day as I could both on and off the cushion. 

I kept taking the myo-inositol too, ramping up the dose to 2000 mg and not realizing that there might be any connection between these things. 

I am still firmly in A&P territory five days later and making better progress than I ever have (due to finally "giving in" to doing formal insight practices rather than previous times where I just kept doing samatha practice), but I just noticed yesterday that right after taking the supplement the spontaneous sexual energy got way stronger. So I got suspicious, started googling and found this: 

Reported Side Effects of Myo-Inositol from https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2016/01/02/inositol-side-effects-adverse-reactions-list/

Weird dreams: Inositol is thought to alter neurotransmitter systems of acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.  It is the alterations in serotonergic systems that are believed to facilitate an antidepressant and anxiolytic response in high-dose users.  Modulation in signaling of neurotransmitters may lead some users to report “weird dreams.” Although some may be entertained by the dreams that occur while taking inositol, others may dislike the intense and/or vivid imagery that accompanies these dreams.  Some users have reported that after taking inositol, they experienced nightmares and/or regular bad dreams.  

I then googled “myo-insitol and mania” and found only one case report from a psychiatrist a rather long time ago suspecting that a manic episode was touched off by it. Which then led to finding this article:

From: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15654927/

Bipolar disorder and myo-inositol: a review of the magnetic resonance spectroscopy findings 

Objectives: Myo-inositol is an important component of the phosphatidylinositol second messenger system (PI-cycle). Alterations in PI-cycle activity have been suggested to be involved in the pathophysiology and/or treatment of bipolar disorder. More specifically, lithium has been suggested to act primarily by lowering myo-inositol concentrations, the so-called inositol-depletion hypothesis. myo-Inositol concentrations can be measured in vivo with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). 

Conclusions: The preclinical and clinical MRS findings were generally supportive of the involvement of myo-inositol in bipolar disorder and its treatment. Overall, in bipolar patients who are manic or depressed there are abnormalities in brain myo-inositol concentrations, with changes in frontal and temporal lobes, as well as the cingulate gyrus and basal ganglia. These abnormalities are not seen in either euthymic patients or healthy controls, possibly due to a normalizing effect of treatment with either lithium or sodium valproate. There is also increasing evidence that sodium valproate may also act upon the PI-cycle. Nonetheless, it remains uncertain if these changes in myo-inositol concentration are primary or secondary. Findings regarding the specific inositol-depletion hypothesis are also generally supportive in acutely ill patients, although it is not yet possible to definitively confirm or refute this hypothesis based on the current MRS evidence.

I am a mental health worker with a lot of psychotic and bipolar clients. Although I do not have bipolar disorder (and have never had depression), I do have ADHD and easily incline towards hypomanic states, monomaniacal interests, and naturally talk extremely fast [one reason I find Daniel Ingram and this entire forum comforting- I don’t often see practitioners that I can relate to. I am positive that no matter how many paths I might one day attain, I too would remain a fast-talking, excitable mad-scientist type].

I have long wondered (and heard Daniel Ingram wonder, here and on podcasts) what kind of shared brain pathways bipolar mania and the A&P (and insight cycles in general) might have, and this made me want to know if high states of concentration are known to increase myo-inositol in the brain.

I then found this study that seems to show increased myo-inositol in the posterior cingulate gyrus of meditators, though of course it isn’t necessarily selecting people that have been confirmed to have crossed the A&P (though perhaps we can safely assume many of them have):

Brain Changes in Long-Term Zen Meditators Using Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Diffusion Tensor Imaging: A Controlled Study

Increased mI [myo-inositol] in the posterior cingulate gyrus Inositol is a simple isomer of glucose that is a key metabolic precursor in the phosphatidylinositol cycle. Unlike L-dopa and tryptophan, which are amino acid precursors of monoamine neurotransmitters and which have been reported to have antidepressant properties, inositol is a precursor of an intracellular second messenger system [33]. Barkai et al. [34] reported that depressed patients, both unipolar and bipolar, had markedly low levels of inositol in CSF. Levine et al. [35] showed that inositol treatment led to a decline in mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score and had a significant antidepressant effect [36].Elevated concentrations of cerebral mI have been extensively reported in conditions associated with cognitive impairment such as Down’s syndrome [37], Alzheimer’s disease [38] and amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment [39]. Increased cerebral mI levels have also been reported in patients with diabetes mellitus [40] and fibromyalgia [41]. Therefore, the current finding of increased mI in the posterior cingulate gyrus in long-term meditators seems counterintuitive.

I also found this intriguing, one-line mention in another paper that "e]levated MI [myo-inositol] levels have been observed in . . . recovering hypoxia," which immediately piqued my interest because of my samatha experiences of prolonged breath cessation/breath suspension/kumbhaka. Deep concentration always seems to lead directly to barely breathing, after which lights, bliss and sexual energy explosions immediately follow.  

That all makes me wonder if the sequence could be: increased concentration ramps up MI, further increased concentration encourages breath suspension and mild hypoxia, MI rises and then serotonin rises, A&P event happens, which (to me anyway) feels quite similar to the peak of MDMA, and then the Dark Night crash which feels extremely similar to the comedown after way too much MDMA (depleted serotonin, maybe low MI).

Perhaps I would have crossed the A&P anyway this time, but I cannot help but wonder if this supplement really pushed me over the edge somehow. And also if my utterly bonkers previous A&P experiences have something to do with my brain chemistry naturally leaning towards higher myo-inositol (and thus apparently higher serotonin), which has protected me from depression. 

Just a note to add that I've also had many magickal experiences that I doubt could be forthrightly explained by mere brain chemistry- it is not only that, but I think it must be also that.

This has been a nice and much-needed short indulgence in thinking. I still have to work a normal schedule during this cycle, so creating perfect retreat conditions is neither possible nor desirable- and I am finding that doing noting throughout my normal day works extremely well and I can power back up pretty quickly after a bout of mind-wandering or deliberate thinking.

Off to start my practice log (actually starting it again, I could not log back in)- happy to be here and grateful for this community. 
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 12/19/22 10:56 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/19/22 10:44 AM

RE: A&P in a dream- possible link to mania/hypoxia/myo-inositol?

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Interesting! Thankyou for sharing!

Now you made me curious about your log. Gotta check it out! We seem to have some things in common.

Something I have noticed is that lacking serotonine hampers progress on the path, so while this is just speculations and shouldn't be taken as anything other than that, I'm thinking that just maybe the treatment has simply helped with enabling a process that was already on its way, by balancing your neurotransmittors. Having said that, it's probably wise to watch out for signs of things getting out of balance. Are you still taking the supplement?

I made a quick search too and found that there are some indications of the supplement helping both with depression and with ADHD, although more research is needed. Since I have ADHD and am prone to depression as well as hormone imbalances (PMDS), this made me somewhat curious. On the other hand, it doesn't sound all that encouraging that increased levels are commonly associated with cognitive impairment, as mentioned in your quote. 

EDIT: Oh, I see now in your log that you are stopping with the supplement. From what you report there, it sounds like a good idea. Yeah, if you are working two full time jobs and still get so high from 10 min of late evening meditation that you can't sleep, your serotonine doesn't seem to need any balancing up, lol. 
Aviva HaMakom, modified 1 Year ago at 12/19/22 4:34 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/19/22 4:33 PM

RE: A&P in a dream- possible link to mania/hypoxia/myo-inositol?

Posts: 101 Join Date: 12/17/22 Recent Posts
Hello Linda,

Thank you for the reply- in fact, when I referenced this forum making me feel a sense of comfort, I was specifically thinking of your practice log (among others) when I wrote it. I have been lurking here a good while and its always inspiring to see neurodivergent AND female practitioners really going for it.

I have not taken the supplement today and the A&P is still going strong- but it sure seemed like it helped the conditions ripen faster.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago at 12/19/22 5:10 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/19/22 5:10 PM

RE: A&P in a dream- possible link to mania/hypoxia/myo-inositol?

Posts: 7134 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Oh! I feel honored. I really feel at home reading you, so I'm glad. 

When going through the dukka ñanas, remember that it isn't really about you. It's just human conditioning playing out in a very predictable way. And when you see how it unfolds, you can detach from it.