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Recurring Nightmares


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Hi all,

I lost my father 5 years ago and since then have had recurring dreams/nightmares. I have two different ones and each one seems very real when it is happening to the point where I can't immediately distinguish if it is real or not when I wake. Usually I wake in the middle of the dream and can't get back to sleep. I also can't stop thinking about it unless I let myself play the dream out to its conclusion. I would usually have these dreams a few times a month, but they are definitely worse in times of stress or around the anniversary of my Father's death and around Christmas time as this was a massive holiday in my family and I haven't been able to celebrate it for the past 5 years. This holiday season has been dreadful as I am stressed with work stuff as well as it being the holiday season. I have also tried to push myself this year and have participated in a couple of Christmas related events as well as attending a 'non-Christmas' luncheon with others when I would rather just be hiding away at home and ignoring the day altogether. To explain dreadful, I've had a dream/nightmare almost every night for the past week and a half and as I can't get back to sleep after having it, I have been getting extremely tired as I wake anywhere between 1-4am then try to lie still for the rest of the night so I don't disturb my husband. On nights when it is really bad I get up and watch a boring movie in the lounge with the lights off so that I can fall asleep for an hour or so on the couch.

I have had grief counselling in the past as I had a lot of anger issues to work though as well the normal loss and guilt feelings, it helped a little but I find it hard to open up to someone one on one in person so I found the sessions very difficult.

I don't know if anyone out there will be able to help or if anyone has been in the same sort of situation, but any ideas anyone has would be appreciated. I'm not sure if it would help, but here are the dreams/nightmares I have:

The first is that my husband dies. He dies of different causes each time and usually that isn't a big issue in the dream/nightmare as it is more about the aftermath and how I cope with it and what happens initially after he dies. I have had a couple of hospital dreams where he hasn't died but is in an accident or is very sick and is in critical condition in the hospital. It usually plays out about what I will do without him and how I will get through loosing him.

The second dream/nightmare is that I get some non-specific form of cancer (my Father died of bowel cancer) and the dream/nightmare is again about me coping with it. It usually starts with me at work having just found out I have cancer and having to call a meeting with the people that need to know. Sometimes my husband is there and other times he isn't, but I have to stand in front of about 5 people and tell them I have cancer and what my plans are. Then the rest of the dream/nightmare is me planning how I will keep working and have the treatment and planning how to stop people from finding out because in the dream my biggest fear is that people will know and will treat me differently.

So there it goes! As I said, anyone with any insights would be welcome. Thanks in advance.

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