How can I wake up without having an anxiety attack?

I have these dreams of men, and they always seem to try to hurt me. It's gotten so bad that I first wake at 4:30, then 4:45, and finally stay awake by 6:00. I'm always the last one to fall asleep and the first to wake. I hate falling asleep. The longest I've went without sleep is three days.

Jennifer Gerlach
Jennifer Gerlach
Your Story Matters

That is awful! I am sure you are ready to start getting some rest. It's normal for us to wake a few times in the night, however, when we are dealing with high anxiety or stress, those times can turn into being up most night. Given that you are having these repeated dreams, I am wondering what might be going on in your life either now  or in the past that could be triggering stress or maybe memories. It can help to draw the dream out in the morning or even to look for metaphor. In the long run, seeking counseling can help you sort all that out

In the meantime, self-soothing strategies may help you in the night when you wake and can't get back to sleep. This can be anything with your senses----getting a snack like tea and focusing on that taste, smelling something pleasant, listening to some relaxing music, looking through a magazine, taking a shower. Anything you can think of that might help you relax. If it involves needing to get up, that's okay! Getting out of bed can actually help you get out of that mind space and helps you associate your bed with relaxation/sleep vs anxiety making it more likely you will fall asleep once  you lay down.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

The good news about your dreams is that your fears are right at the surface of your mind so you can study them and release some of the harm from the terrifying experiences you had which created these bad memories in the first place.

The bad news is the feelings themselves are sickening.

Probably a therapist would be very helpful for guiding you to unfold these uneasy feelings and their source.

This type of deep work is easier with emotional support from someone.  A therapist can give you this plus is knowledgeable about dynamics of someone having been emotionally harmed by another.

Or, read a lot online and find out which articles resonate with your emotions.

Luckily people are willing to express personal stories of recuperating a sense of peace and safety after being violated by someone.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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