Sunday, 2 November 2014

Anxiety: Bad Dreams and Nightmares

I have decided to start a series about anxiety as it is something that is currently very topical as a lot more people have been diagnosed with it in the last few years. This will not be a weekly thing - it mayn't even be monthly - I will just write when I feel like and when I feel like I need to say something.Today I am going to be talking about bad dreams and nightmares as you can see from the title. 


Everyone seems to believe that bad dreams and nightmares are the same thing; however I completely disagree with that. A bad dream is something that can actually be a good thing but it can shock you, upset you, it can make you question things or bring up old memories. On the other hand a nightmare is normally something that causes you to feel scared, on edge and it can also make you not want to fall asleep again in fear that you may have a similar dream. With bad dreams you want to fall asleep again but you can't. The sequence from the last dream is swirling around your head and your thoughts are racing too quickly for you to be able to control them.

Bad dreams are the worst kind of dream.

Bad dreams often frequent and they can bring up things that you either want to forget or they can create scenarios that you want so badly yet you know that it never will happen. That little portal into a life that you could be leading, the life that you want to be living can give you so much hope and it can make you so happy but when you inevitably wake up it does the opposite and it can ruin your day or week (sometimes longer).

With my anxiety if something distresses me it will cause my anxiety to spike for as long as that thing is distressing me and this upsets me by it's self so the cycle repeats. An example of this is when I had a dream the other night that brought back many memories that I had forgot about an old friend of mine and it then created several scenarios that I have longed to happen for so long (I won't go into detail for personal reasons). When I awoke at around 4.45 am I found it next to impossible to sleep as it caused me to question a lot of things about our relationship. Sleep was out of the question.

Now there are a lot of things that you can do it this situation; you can try desperately to fall asleep again and if this fails I would suggest to get up. If you are able to make noise it your house so that it wouldn't wake up others have a bath or a shower. Don't just lie or sit and let your emotions and anxiety get the better of you. Do something and set yourself tasks. 

Walking helps - I wouldn't suggest that you go out by yourself early in the morning so wait until about 6.30 when there will be commuters out. Make sure you leave a note or text someone to tell them that you have gone somewhere and always stick to populated places. Your personal safety should be your main concern. 

Tell someone about the dream. Dreams are often very boring but to tell your friend or relative about what is distressing you is so important. They are able to help you and even if they aren't very helpful and don't give you very good advice it will help lift a lot of weight of from your shoulders. 

If you are on anxiety medication it is very common for one of the side effects to be 'nightmares' and this includes bad dreams so make sure that when you have your check up appointment you mention these to your doctor as this medication mayn't be suitable for you. If it is causing you to lose sleep you must get it sorted as it is a basic human need.

Don't be afraid to tell people about these dreams - keep a sleep diary or just something so you can keep a recorded of when they happen. You are not to blame for what happens in your subconscious so don't be embarrassed and don't let it depress you. 

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