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Advice & resources for dealing with vivid dreams & nightmares?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by HappyLittleClouds, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    I've had a problem since I was a child with extremely vivid, detailed dreams and nightmares. The dreams are so real and vivid that it can feel like days or weeks go by. They are often quite violent and dramatic, and could practically be movies. Over the years, I've been able to get to the point where I don't fear sleeping anymore, but my dreams can still be extremely emotionally and physically taxing. Every morning I wake up feeling like I've taken a beating, and with especially bad ones, I wake up crying or panicking in a sweat. When an especially impactful one comes, I try to write them down and consider them as an opportunity to look at what emotional content is rocking around in my subconscious. However, I feel like I need more guidance on how to best do that.

    Anyone know any good resources (books, websites, podcasts, etc) that deal with dreams? Or any advice based on personal experience on the best way to (1) deal with the emotional after-effects of bad dreams, (2) pull out the most important information from the dreams, (3) work through the emotions that get revealed in the dreams? Most of the stuff I can find online seems to focus on kind of new agey dream dictionary type stuff. I'm more looking for evidence-based approaches for dream journaling for better mental health.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi HLC,

    I don't have great experience in this area, but here are my thoughts. What I notice about my dreams is the emotional affect more than the content. I might be aware of sadness, love, bliss, fear, and I can feel them in my body very deeply. It is as if without the normal waking-state repression, the mind-body is free to explore and go deep.

    So I think you're onto something with your area of inquiry: emotions, information, 'working through.'

    I find it instructive to feel the flavors of the emotions ---and even feelings I can't name an emotion to, in my body. So I suggest journaling from a place of somatic awareness and feeling, identifying the actual textures of the feelings in the body ---warmth, cold, fullness, etc., and the apparent emotions and thoughts/memories. Doing it first person, present tense: "I am moving down the road, and I am feeling ____________. "

    And explore how you feel writing about this? How are you impacted in the moment? What is it like to be in touch with deep sadness? Fear? Aliveness? What is it like to feel so much, and not be sure about the information which might be embedded?

    This is guidance to be very direct, very precise, and very curious about your dream experience. There may be a lot of satisfaction in this for you, as well as insights.

    HappyLittleClouds, Goldy and TG957 like this.
  3. HappyLittleClouds

    HappyLittleClouds Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, Andy. I like the idea of journaling about how those feelings appear in my body. I definitely agree that a lot of repressed emotions get loosed in dreams. After starting to educate myself about the TMS approach, it makes more sense how I have a deep sense of rage in many of my dreams - something that is hard to identify with in waking life.

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