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Nightmares, Bad Or Really Good For You?
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Nightmares, Bad Or Really Good for You?

My nightmares have troubled me for years. In fact, one of the reasons I find it hard to sleep at night is that many nights I fall deeply asleep, only to have a frightening nightmare. I wake up terrified only two or three hours after I had fallen asleep. Then, I have trouble going back to sleep.

Many nights I am not able to fall back to sleep. If I do fall asleep I sleep fitfully, going in and out of consciousness. In, fact this happened just last week. I had a terrible nightmare that lasted from 11:45pm until 2:00am. I woke up terrified. I went to the restroom, then spent the next half an hour trying to get myself to go back to sleep.

When I did fall back to sleep, my mind wandered in and out of another disturbing nightmare. I tossed and turned, waking up every few minutes until I woke up at 5:15 am. I was so tired, I tried to get going but couldn't. I ended up falling back to sleep. Strangely though, as I slept during the day, my dreams calmed. I was able to have restful sleep. Yet, my goal of changing my sleep pattern, completely shot!

So, I wondered again, why am I plagued with nightmares? I was able to find some great resources about dreams. I have always been impressed with Carl Jung's theories about dream interpretation. I have wanted to avoid my nightmares. I wanted to run from them. I wanted to make them go away. Yet, Jung (and other dream interpreters) warn against ignoring my nightmares.

Jung explains that the worst creatures and villains are what he calls "shadows." These terrible facets of my dreams often represent problems in my waking life. Some dream interpreters even warn that if I ignore my nightmares at night, that I may have day-mares in form of sicknesses, and other emotional problems.

As I have started paying attentions to my dreams during the day as well, I have found even more day-mares. Or perhaps nightmares as I sleep during the day. I have stopped ignoring their signals. I am still working on sleeping less during the day.

Now, when I do have a nightmare I spend a few minutes afterward thinking about what the dream might be warning me about. I even try lucid dreaming the next day. I relive the dream and connect with the different shadows. I even change the ending of the dream, If the dream ends horribly; I change the ending to a positive, safe, and comforting ending.

I am now grateful for my nightmares. They make me pay attention to problems I am ignoring or blocking in my waking life. When I have nightmare now I do not ignore it. I have thought about past disturbing nightmares. Many of the "shadows" in these nightmares have become lights revealing problems from my past. Nightmares are definitely good....in the long run...when I take the time to pay attention to my own internal warning system.


Street Talk

And in case you decide you don't really want to experience nightmares, you can try taking some B1 and vitamin C a couple times a day. Worked for me!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I love a dream something that I do not have very much of now.(age or something) Nightmare or not I love it. If my nightmares are problems I have very little. Good Article

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
C4rmen  

Some very interesting info Merrily, thank you. Confronting shadows is a very powerful trick indeed. I am glad you are approaching the nightmares differently now :)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks so much Carmen. No, its not easy to confront shadows...but ignoring them causes worse damage. Thanks for your input :)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Ai Hoon  

Thanks for this informative article. I did not know that nightmares reflect real problems. How do the problems reveal themselves in nightmares? Are you talking about nightmares with phantoms and ghosts? Sometimes I get nightmares too of dead things and spirits but I never found out what those meant. Sometimes my nightmares are not supernatural but about real life people. How often do your nightmares occur and are there ways to decrease the occurrence? Nice interesting article Merrily. I hope you will find a way to solve the sleep problem.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

There are many interpretations of dreams. If you click on the link under lucid dreaming you will be taken to a great site about dreams. This article was based on a longer article on that site. That site explained that often dreams of death-really hint to anxiety or problems we are having with change in our life, or may be warning us of upcoming changes. Jung theorized that all people in our dreams represent parts of us or of our subconsciousness. Everything in the dream world is symbolic and should not be taken literally. If you are having frequent nightmares, there is something in your real life you are not dealing with. Ignoring the nightmares or wishing them away doesn't help. I do suffer from depression-but as I am finding out, my other mental illnesses, medications, and stress are hurting my sleep pattern. They are even causing a lot of my irregular problems. Thanks for the support :) Thanks for the comment too!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

To continue, problems reveal themselves all kinds of ways in nightmares. I have some really scary ones that do include ghosts. (I prefer to call them spirits). One nightmare I have had frequently is about my grandmother. She has past away. We were not close and I only saw her a few times as a child and I did not get to visit her as an adult. In this nightmare my whole family is sitting round a bench at a camp site. Everyone is talking about leaving the bench and returning to my grandmother and grandfather's cabin. Every member of my family knows how to get to the cabin. I do not. I keep asking how to get there, for a map, but no one hears me. Everyone is making plans around me. Soon I am screaming, grabbing at everyone, begging for directions, but soon become invisible. Soon everyone leaves from the table and go back to my grandparents cabin. Everyone is happy, smiling, and soon walking fast down the nearest trail. I try to follow them but soon am lost in the forest. It is dark, there are trails everywhere and I am so angry because I have no idea which trail leads to my grandparents cabin. At this point I wake up. I have thought about this dream when I am awake. I realize that this dream is my way of punishing myself for not visiting and fostering a relationship with my grandmother while she was alive. Now that she has passed I feel that I can no longer "find" her and that I have lost my chance. I also feel jealous for all of my family who did take the time to get to know her. I have changed the end of this dream when I am awake. When I start the dream, I bring a map to the cabin with me. When everyone leaves to go the cabin, I grab my grandmother's hand. She holds my hand back and smiles at me. We walk together to her cabin. I am smiling and happy. This has helped me a lot.

  
  about 1 decade ago
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