Anxiously Dreaming

It can be a challenge some nights to get 8 hours sleep, I’m happy with around 6-7 hours. Often our sleep is filled with dreams, whilst other times it’s not. Dreams fade fast when we wake, so we often don’t recall any. But have you ever had a dream or a recurring nightmare that stays with you and you can’t shake?

Whether it’s night after night or once in a blue moon, the same old story re-enters your sleep and you wake up wishing the story would move on and the dream ghosts would let go!

Anxiety dreams can often be relentless, they are challenging, can be frightening and often have us waking up in a sweat or possibly even crying. It could be we are late for an important meeting or our teeth are falling out or perhaps you’re in an exam but you don’t have a pen or being chased by something or someone.

I used to have a nightmare that was constant in my mid to late teens. It was non stop. Getting chased by someone who had a knife or a gun and I’d run and run and run! I decided after years of being haunted by this dream, to try and face the person who was chasing me. Easier said than done as this isn’t the movie Inception! It was a challenge and although it never happened, one night when I was running through the woods, for the first time ever, I came to the edge of the forest and below me was a river. I had seconds to make a decision before I was going to be caught by the knife wielding person. I jumped. I felt the bubbles go up my nose and my face and the pull of the water and then I broke free to the surface. It was amazing, I had escaped. It felt so real. I’ve never had that dream since.

At the time I had no idea what it was all about but looking back and taking into consideration my feelings at the time, I was worried about the future. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where my life was headed, it felt like things were out of my control and heading into adulthood was not something I could stop! My nightmare was like the future catching up to me, it was going to happen and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Running away didn’t help. My idea to face the person would have been interesting if it had ever played out. Part of me wonders, by wanting to face it, I’d starting to let go of the worry. And when I jumped off the edge into the water, I had finally relaxed about the future. Not knowing what I wanted to do was ok, as most people didn’t either. I was having fun and the future can’t be rushed.

When you have a dream like this, it can be interesting to pull it apart and figure out what it’s all about. There are loads of websites telling you the meaning of what appears in your dream, which can be useful but often aren’t relatable to you. Instead, or as well as, think about how you were feeling throughout your dream or nightmare, were you angry, scared, or worried? What do you think the dream means for you, are you facing a similar experience in real life? I don’t mean being chased by a person with a knife, but are the feelings you were experiencing or the thoughts, similar to a situation you are going through? What is making you feel this way at the moment?

Being chased is a common anxiety dream, another I often have is always being late or unable to get somewhere, whether it’s an exam or to work, no matter what I try, I can’t seem to get moving and make progress as delays happen or I can’t find my keys. For me, these dreams are a reminder to slow down, and find my feet again. I need to take a breather as I feel frustrated and stressed usually about something work related and I want to make sure I make the right decision.

This week I had an anxiety dream, I was driving to my friends house and I came around one bend but their was a fox in the way. I stopped the car and waited but the fox didn’t move. I got out of my car but it wouldn’t budge. It grabbed my bag and ran away. I was feeling blocked, stressed and stumped. This road is my work and the usual things and the fox is the more difficult or unusual challenges that come up, blocking the flow of the work. The fact that it stole my bag, which had everything useful and helpful in it, meant that none of my usual solutions would be of use. I knew from this dream I needed to ask for some guidance and to talk ideas through.

As your brain is working through and processing all the information from your day, it can certainly throw up some random dreams as we sleep. It’s interesting how the mind works. Like me, you may be prone to anxiety dreams. Don’t dismiss them, try to think about them in relation to your current situation, it may help you find a solution or become aware of your feelings.

Have a pleasant and relaxing sleep filled week! Take care and look after you!

Love Emma xx

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