Trigger warning: detail of mental health and panic attacks.
I didn’t wanna be doing another anxiety update so soon, but situations have occurred and my anxiety is bad. Not as bad as it can get, but not good.
Ok, so my nightmares have returned.
I haven’t really shared much about them before, but I get messages about how these posts help people, so it only seemed right to share what I am currently going through.
Whenever I talk to people about my nightmares, I don’t think they take me seriously. Nightmares are associated with the monster under the bed when you’re little, and crying and ending up sleeping with your parents. Funnily enough, I don’t remember having many nightmares as a child. But, as an adult, they are persistent and horrid.
And they make me feel so pathetic.
Sleep used to be my safe place when it came to anxiety. When I’d had an exhausting panic attack, sleep would be a comfort to me. However, the nightmares began around this time last year, and they did ease up for a while, but now they’re back and stronger than ever.
Sometimes I have actual panic attacks in my sleep. It’s horrible because I feel trapped in my sleep and I can’t wake up. I don’t like it. How do you explain that at 19 years old your nightmares are your worse enemy? You just can’t.
But my nightmares are the place where my deepest, darkest fears are actualised and it’s bloody horrid. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
But I’m not ashamed anymore. I used to be when I had to tell a lie about why I am so tired all of the time, and why I prefer to sleep in the day, but I’m not anymore. I am not alone in experiencing this and that’s important to remember.
However, on the positive note, this experience has helped me to find a new coping mechanism for me. One night I had woken up due to nightmares/panic at 2am and I laid awake for around 4 hours. During this time, I tried many things, but none of them really worked. So, I scrolled down my twitter and saw a tweet from much much earlier in the evening from BeeChat. This got me thinking how my anxious thoughts were currently acting like bees, and swarming my brain, stinging it with nightmares. I tried to think about letting these bees go, and instantly felt much calmer. I let myself think each little thought for a second, and then pictured it flying away. I did this for every single one of my anxious thoughts, and really focused on the flight paths of the bees, even making them do little loops as they went! I cannot explain how or why, but this really really helped me and I eventually managed to get 45 minutes sleep (before my alarm went off). I don’t know if this method will ever work for me again, but it sure did help me out! I also don’t know if it will be of any use to anyone else, but I thought that I’d share it just in case.
So yeah, here’s a side to my anxiety that I haven’t really shared with you before. But, it’s a big part of my anxiety experience so it only felt right to share.
As always, my messages are always open to anyone who wishes to discuss anxiety. Know that you’re not alone, especially with this symptom. People can make you feel embarrassed about having nightmares as an adult, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed of. I am no expert on this topic, but I can be honest and speak from personal experience. If you require support please visit this web page from Time To Change, where further support is detailed.
Thanks for reading.