1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Stress Dreams and the Subconscious

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by ShelteredInStars, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. ShelteredInStars

    ShelteredInStars New Member

    So I am dealing with stress coming through at night. Specifically stress dreams and weird dreams that ultimately wake me up. How do you recommend dealing with this stress during the day? Journaling? Thinking about it/sitting with it and acknowledging it?

    For example, I am stressed and worried both consciously and subconsciously about going back to work when I don’t feel ready because of discomfort. Last night I had a dream I was at work and EVERYTHING was going wrong. I was so stressed out. I also kept waking up worrying about things I can’t even remember today. Any help would be great.
  2. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am very sorry you're dealing with so much stress right now; the good news is that there are endless ways of managing stress.

    You'll hear a lot about journaling, acknowledging the feelings but not having any attachment to them, meditation, and more. These are only suggestions with varying degrees of success based on the practicing individual and what works for them. Ultimately, it boils down to what best relaxes you. Personally, as I've been feeling anxious in situations where it is not productive (e.g., during the work day or yes, needing to fall asleep), I'll focus on a random but pleasant topic such as balancing chemical equations from my school days. I love them! The equations distract me, relieving me of my heightened emotions and giving me more time to calm down in the moment. When it's appropriate for me to start thinking about the stressful situation again, I ground myself, lay out all the potential options, and focus on what it's in my control. It took quite a bit of practice for me to nail this down, but it works and allows me to make far better and more thoughtful decisions than I do in panic mode. As someone who has dealt with OCD since childhood (diagnosed), I completely understand ruminating and reassurance seeking. My mother and best friends know to call me out on it and remind me to take a deep breath which is also beneficial to me. Sometimes listening to deep music or prayer disrupts my sympathetic overdrive; the latter is a prime example of something that can immensely help one person, but mean very little to another. And that's okay!

    Is the discomfort you're concerned about stemming from mind-body symptoms or something else? What helps you relax? Do you enjoy music, spending time with an animal, balancing chemical equations, or something else? Sometimes it's easy to get "hooked" on worrying - it's another habit we have to try to break out of. It took me literally decades to recognize that rumination leave me with less control, not more. There is always hope.
    ShelteredInStars likes this.
  3. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    It might also be helpful for me to mention that my cognitive behavioral therapist taught me to view my constant "worries" as trolls. Once I've presented myself with the possible options and know what's in my control and actionable, what more can I do? At that point, my anxiety was like a giant troll that I had to learn how to stop taking seriously over time. There were many other CBT methods I learned, but the troll method in particular was fantastic for me. CBT was a great experience.
    TG957 and ShelteredInStars like this.
  4. ShelteredInStars

    ShelteredInStars New Member

    Thank you for the reply. It's just where my brain goes and it happens to think its appropriate to come out at night in my sleep. I took have diagnosed OCD but it tends to be very mild and only rears its ugly head when I am super stressed about changes that usually have something to do with my safety. I'm not sure if I am just "wired" this way or if it's all TMS. Ultimately it has a lot to do with why my nervous system is in overdrive 24/7.

    To answer your question, the discomfort can be physical and will wake me up from the mindbody symptoms or it can be about every day life stressors. Anything that has to do with changes or puts pressure on me. My stress threshold is VERY low right now. I'm dealing with CFS, and pelvic pain.

    I do remind myself when I wake up that these are thoughts and I can sometimes go back to bed but often times I'm awake until my body want to go back to sleep or I can get into a good mediation. I think once I am in a better place and can start walking again and doing more of the things I loved before, it may help. Until then I am really spending as much time as possible meditating and trying my best to remind myself I am safe and stay calm.
  5. Gojab

    Gojab Peer Supporter

    I have a similar experience. I never dream but last night I had 3 dreams, and all of them were related in some way to my last 3 weeks of trying to uncover repressed fear from my past. They were embarrassing, childish, narcissistic, and self indulgent (as Dr. Sarno said the Id would be). I woke up with intense anxiety and an intense headache from at least one of the dreams and had a hard time falling back asleep. The good news is NO PAIN. My interpretation is that the program (if you can call it that; maybe better to say reprogamming) is working...that my mind is finally recognizing these repressed emotions. Frankly, I'd rather have the dreams and night anxiety vs the pain, but hopefully its short term!!!
    ShelteredInStars and TG957 like this.
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I used to be scared of bad dreams. Now I recognize them as a tool that my brain uses to release my repressed emotions. I sleep much better now.
    ShelteredInStars likes this.

Share This Page