Hi all, I was recently diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and I’m receiving my machine in 2-3 weeks. I feel that since I’ve been chronically deprived of proper REM sleep along with having sleep deprivation because of the severity of my apnea, I’ve lost my sense of self. There’s a part of me that can appear perfectly normal and have eloquent conversations, but it’s like I’m not there for it, as if it’s on autopilot.

When I catch myself in scenarios in which my mouth is moving and my brain is processing thoughts and communicating with others, I feel a sense of dread because I realize I wasn’t even present during those moments. It’s as if there’s a separation between me….and me.

The real me is trapped in my mind, begging to escape and come back to present reality, observing everything from behind a veil without any control over my body.

I’ve been praying and begging to the universe and God that this is because of years of sleep fragmentation and lack of emotional integration and autobiographical memory because of sleep apnea. And I’m hoping that once I begin treatment things will be fixed. I’m 20 now and these symptoms started when I was 16, and just five months ago have gotten so much worse. Between Nov. 2017-Nov. 2020, my symptoms were more manageable and I was able to get through high school and freshman and sophomore year of college without much trouble.

However, going into 2021, I’ve lost my self completely and I feel empty. That’s around the time where I wasn’t sleeping at all because of finals and such. Considering that even when I do sleep a good amount I barely get any because of the apnea, imagine not sleeping at all.

Can anyone attest to this and let me know if this makes sense? With regard to me experiencing lack of REM sleep which caused my experiences to not be integrated into my being causing me to dissociate from my self permanently? Please give me some sort of hope that these reasons could be the reason. Because if so, and the CPAP regulates my sleep wake cycle, and allows for proper REM sleep hence allowing for emotional integration and autobiographical integration, I’m hoping my sense of self will return along with my perception of my self and reality.

I would just simply like to come back to a point where I feel that I am the one in control of my movements, speech etc. I want to feel things again. I want to feel like I’m the one going through life rather than some subconscious version of myself that’s taking my real self’s place.

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