Dreams . . . Cancer . . . Nightmares . . . Sleeplessness . . . What of Insomnia?

Note: This week begins a celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15-21. I thought it appropriate to highlight some intriguing, insightful and, hopefully, entertaining bits and pieces of creativity and innovation from around our globe.

My initial offering deals with Insomnia and how, for some people, it can be truly nightmarish. This post includes information and images from both a presentation on insomnia and select photos by a photographer who has severely suffered from insomnia.

In this excerpt from an issue of Adobe Create Magazine, the photog takes us into his bizarre world of striking, nightmarish illusions.

And his fight with insomnia.

Photographer Nicolas Bruno has suffered from sleep paralysis since he was seven years old. In Bruno’s case, when he enters REM sleep, his mind becomes conscious, or awake, but his body remains asleep. During these recurring episodes, he experiences shortness of breath or pressure on his chest and the feeling that he’s being choked or is going to be killed. Screaming shadow figures menace him in bed. He’s unable to move, and the state seems to last hours. Sometimes it stops because he awakens; other times he moves into another dream. All of it is out of his control.

And you thought you had nightmares!

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When Bruno was fifteen, he began experiencing sleep paralysis almost every night. To help process the resulting stress, he kept a dream journal and then turned to drawing and photography. At first, he photographed mostly landscapes and abandoned places. Over time, he started making work directly inspired by what he goes through during sleep paralysis.

“Transforming my experiences with sleep paralysis into artwork not only helps me understand the dreams,” Bruno says. “It gives me a universal voice to speak about something almost impossible to describe with words. After I complete a photo shoot and see my final image, I feel so relieved to have transformed a once uncontrollable nightmare into something positive and tangible.”

BrunoSleepless-1

“The characters I portray within my work are figures I’ve documented within my sleep paralysis episodes. Faceless men in suits often stand at the foot of my bed, and women in dresses might float across my bedroom to shriek in my ear. Sometimes I’m grasped by hands that attempt to drag me off of my bed. These characters reoccur, transform, and sometimes reveal more about themselves as time goes on,” explains Bruno.

Though Bruno still suffers from regular episodes of sleep paralysis, he has learned to minimize the contributing factors, which include excessive stress, too much screen time before bed, an irregular sleep schedule, and sleeping in unfamiliar locations.

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“As I’ve become used to the feelings,” he says, “I’ve found that riding out the experience subdues the terrifying nature of the dream and can leave room for analysis, and even a quick exit. If you allow the fear to win, you’ll never have control of the situation. My advice is to build up your courage to face these dreams head on, whether it be through strength, religion, logic, or spiritualism.”

I struggle with sleeplessness and insomnia, too. Strange dreams of partially true vignettes of moments in my past life sometimes intermingle with “newly scripted” happenings, making for a weird combination of mental nighttime gymnastics.

I’m a cancer survivor as well as a caregiver to my wife. No stress here!

When I consider the various meds I take daily as well as the numerous decisions and judgement calls my wife and I make on a daily basis, it’s probably no wonder why I have insomnia. And weird dreams.

I was interested when I heard about a lecture recently given by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston relative to sleeplessness and insomnia. Here’s a link to a presentation I received that evening so you, too, can gain insight into this all-too troubling disorder.

Please don’t hesitate to share your own insomnia stories, especially if you have learned some techniques to counter or offset this malaise.

 

 

 

 

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Adobe’s Creative Cloud Conference Good for Creative Community and OiH

If you live and work within driving distance of Houston, you owe it to yourself to come spend a day or two listening to and learning from Adobe’s experts as they teach all you need to know about the various applications within the Creative Cloud.

As the one stop source for finding creative talent in the Houston area, Only in Houston (OiH) is proud to be take part in presenting this Creative Cloud Masters Conference. Thanks to a partnership with Future Media Concepts, OiH members can now save 25% on their registration. Use promo code OiH15 to redeem your discount.

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WHY ATTEND?
Advance your skills with cutting-edge sessions
Discover time-saving techniques
Learn from top instructors in the field
Network with peers and expand your professional network

A must-attend event created for graphic designers and other creatives to perfect and diversify their skills. Join top industry speakers to learn the latest Adobe print and web design tools, plus get started in video production. The conference agenda features 3 days of training on graphic design, print, web design and motion graphics. Organized in Houston on March 11-13. Use discount code OiH15 to save 25% on your registration. 

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Creativity Tip #103: Your Creativity Sandbox

Whether or not we create anything for a living, there are times we just don’t feel very creative. Mostly, we create because we have to do so, to earn that paycheck, to satisfy the client. Granted, there’s nothing that says we can’t be happy about it or we can’t enjoy the process.

What do we do, though, when our creative juices start drying up or when we’re in between “have-to projects”?

Have you ever created something or begun a creative project simply for the helluv it, because you just wanted to do it?

little girl playing in sandbox

Thanks to iStockPhoto

There are probably various names or descriptors for this mindset like “unnecessary creative,”   “creative play time,” etc. Whatever you call it is up to you. I refer to mine as my Creativity Sandbox.

The point is to start something that will occupy your mind in a new or different creative endeavor so you can keep your creative juices flowing. Set aside some time (and maybe a special place) and just start.

I started this blog because I wanted an outlet for writing and expressing myself in ways other than what I mainly do for clients. I’m exploring different software packages (Adobe Muse for Web design, and Adobe’s Creative Cloud), listening to online webinars (CreativeLive), reading anything I can get my hands on relative to innovation and creativity as well as totally unrelated topics that simply interest me.

Anything to keep the brain alive and curious. It takes time and diligence, and some weeks I have neither. But I don’t want the juices to stop flowing. And neither should you.

Spend some time in your Creativity Sandbox as often as you can.