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Help! How Do You Deal With Nightmares?

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A few nights ago, I watched a giant spider slowly creep across my bedroom wall, leering at me with eight beady eyes. I held my breath as its hairy legs traversed framed pictures, approaching me with increasing speed until it finally leapt off the wall and landed in my hair. I screamed and madly raked my hands through my hair, trying to get it off me. When it wouldn’t budge, I ran across the room in a panic, trying anything to untangle it from my hair, but suddenly there were more of them: little spiders streaming onto my forehead and lowering down into my eyes.

I woke up on the floor of my closet, hyperventilating, with a nasty scrape on my arm from where I had bumped into my dresser. This was the worst nightmare I’ve had lately, but it definitely wasn’t the only one. In fact, I haven’t gotten much sleep at all the past couple weeks…

I’ve dealt with anxiety and insomnia off and on for my whole life, but nightmares were a pretty rare occurrence until this last month or so. A midnight break-in at my neighbor’s house made me feel really unsafe in my own house, and my nighttime freakouts kind of spiraled from there.

So here’s my question: I’m going to counseling (woohoo!) and dealing with my anxiety during my waking hours–what else can I do to deal with these freakin’ nightmares? I’ve noticed that eating at night does make them worse–more vivid–but even fasting for hours before bedtime is no guarantee of uninterrupted sleep. It’s gotten to the point where I’m so afraid of having a nightmare that I don’t want to go to sleep. I’m so tired of these terrifying dreams, but more importantly, I’m just tired in general.

So tell me–do you have nightmares? How often? What are your nightmares about? How do you handle them?

Thanks so much for any advice, and sweet dreams (hopefully)!

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