Last night was a terrible night of sleep full of nightmares that had me tossing and turning and waking up crying. It was one of those kind where I am being pursued all night by people that are trying to kill me and it seems so real and so terrifying. When I finally wake up I am so stressed out it doesn't feel like I got any sleep at all, and it puts me in a depressed mood.
I tend to have nightmares pretty regularly. They are of different kinds, sometimes I am driving and I can’t reach the brakes and so I am flying through traffic and can’t stop. Other times its people that are out to kill me and my family. The other night in my dream my jaw wouldn’t open and I had to try to talk with my mouth closed. Sometimes my eyelids won’t open and I wander around blind all night long struggling to see. I get so emotionally involved that its entirely draining, to the point where I consider taking the day off from work to recuperate. This morning it hit me how these nightmares are a continuation of my anxiety all through the night. I don’t get the down time I need, the relaxation that is necessary to function at full capacity the next day. Tyler (my spouse) has gotten used to me waking up in a panic in the middle of the night and he is so good about holding me until I feel better and can fall back asleep. He’s my sanity sometimes I swear.
There are theories out there that suggest nightmares or dreams in general are a way for your subconscious to send you messages about what needs changing in your life.
I found a website that lists a way to understand what your nightmares are trying to tell you:
· falling dream : Am I feeling heavy, unsupported, worried about something? How can I feel freer, lighter? Also: do I need to be more grounded? (ideal outcome: feeling safe, landing, floating or flying)
· car out of control : Is life too hectic, out of control? How could I slow down, act more peacefully and "enjoy the ride"? (ideal outcome: driving well & within speed limits, walking peacefully)
· unprepared, late for or failing an exam : Am I feeling unprepared for some upcoming event? Unconfident about my performance? Am I worrying needlessly or do I actually need more preparation in order to feel confident and do a good job? (ideal outcome: feeling assured about oneself, performing well)
· stuck in slow motion, unable to move or make any noise : Where am I feeling stuck in life, like I’m getting nowhere or unable to voice my true feelings? What can I do to change it? (ideal outcome: relaxation and acceptance, and eventually, peaceful action & self-expression)
· embarrassed to be nude or naked in public, though nobody seems to notice or mind : Where in life am I feeling unconfident, embarrassed, unskilled? This type of dream is usually pointing out, by the fact that the other characters in the dream don’t seem to notice, that we are the only one viewing our self this way, and usually mistakenly so. (ideal outcome: comfortable with oneself as is, confident)
· personal injury, dismemberment : What part of my life—not usually the physical body—have I been neglecting, mistreating, forgetting—i.e. dis-membering as opposed to remembering? (ideal outcome: healing)
· trapped, locked in : Where am I feeling trapped in life? How might I open myself up to a new perspective, and explore new courses of action? (ideal outcome: breaking out, exploration)
· drowning, threatening waves, tsunami (tidal waves) or flooding : Am I blocking, denying or feeling overwhelmed by my emotions? How might I better acknowledge, accept, and feel these feelings—which often include vulnerability? (ideal outcome: swimming, surfing, breathing underwater)
· helpless, abandoned, or crying baby, monkey, bunny or small animal : Have I been taking care of my "inner child"? Maybe I need to laugh more, play outdoors, express my creativity, be more spontaneous, or enjoy more personal warmth and intimacy? (ideal outcome: caring for baby or animal, playing, simply having fun)
Another theory I have heard is that at night your brain takes all the miscellaneous thoughts from the day and tries to organize them into something that makes sense and creates these dreams as a way of filing them together somewhere.I don't know what theory I believe, but I am pretty confident that many insecurities and issues that I struggle with in my daily life are taking on a life of their own at night in my head. I have no idea how to stop it. Any thoughts or suggestions out there?
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