I’ve been experiencing nightmares since my early teens, even sometimes night terrors where I wake up swinging at the air or pillow and screaming. There’s always a common theme of someone or some group chasing me and I can’t get away. I panic and I feel out of control and very anxious. I do not take any medications and am a very healthy individual but wonder why the heck I am so anxious in my sleep? I would like to get this solved and sleep in peace. Any insight and help would be very much appreciated.
There is some issue in your past that you have still not gotten closure over, or not resolved. It keeps chasing you and you keep trying to get away from it. You are avoiding (out of fear) facing something, someone or some event from your past, probably dealing with your teen years since that’s when the dreams began. It could be earlier, in your childhood, however. The inability to get away in the nightmares may stem from a feeling of helplessness and uselessness in waking life. This nightmare may be triggered any time you feel useless or unable to resist something during the day. What are you avoiding facing? Anything? And what is making you feel out of control in your daily life? It could be something small or something buried in your past, but whenever you feel the slightest bit out of control it triggers this anxiety program in your mental computer. Up comes the program and starts its mission of seek and destroy. It destroys your calm sleep and your normally calm demeanor. There is something you’re not able to look at just yet, but very soon will be able to. Self-examine, observe, observe. You will find the unresolved issue and once you do, it will finally have to go away. Just identifying it “solves” it when it comes to nightmares. Another solution is to hold onto the nightmare after it wakes you up and try to go back into it while still awake. There you are, just woke up in a panic, but don’t turn on the lights, don’t open your eyes, don’t get out of bed. Instead go back, find those people that were chasing you…remember what they were like this time. See ’em? Look at them. Picture them stopping the chase and standing there behind you. Now turn yourself around (in your mind’s TV screen) and face them. Yes, look squarely at them and speak. Say, “Who are you and why are you following me?!” Now wait. Listen. See what the pursuers “answer” back in your self-guided dream replay. Usually some message will come forth, just see what pops into your head — what they “say” — after you ask that question. Demand an answer! If the dreams keep coming night after night and no luck with this post-dream replay method, you can conjure up the dream right before sleep. Then enact the scene described above. Turn, face, confront, demand an answer. For some people the before sleep method works better than the after-awakening from nightmare method. Try one or both — and let us know how it goes. Good luck, we’re here for ya.
Great feedback!! Thank you!!
When I was 12 my mom would let anyone come over and boys were allowed in my room alone. I had sex at 12 and was date raped at 13. I felt unprotected and so ashamed. I also grew up in a home with lots of yelling and my mom would “freak out” under almost any semi-stressful circumstance. You never knew when the next outburst would be. So that explains it more. So what do I need to face is a question I need to answer. To be haunted all these years, literally, is exhausting. I’m frightened to face the past, and my mom, for fear she’ll blow up!!! I would like to face this head on and not run anymore. Will try the staying asleep technique and do dream journals and see if there’s any success. I’ve been in therapy on different occasions over this issue with some success, but not full, and currently nightmares are very often. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 9 month old and as you know with children, you can’t control anything. I get tense when I feel out of control and have to make a conscious effort to breathe, and just chill. I’ve had success in my daytime life with being “chill,” but have an uneasiness I carry around with me. When I’m around my mom I go on major “chill” mode but inside I want to scream!!! Any further advice would be appreciated. Thanks again!!
Anonymous, 30 years old, Calabasas, CA.