Lately, I have been experiencing a recurring night terror. The dream begun a month ago and has been persistent. My dream involves being chased by an old woman. There are normally various physiological reactions. My heart rate increases and I can hear the heart beating. When I wake up from the dream, I am always sweating. I breathe fast like a person who was actually running. Sometimes I find myself panting. I am also very afraid at that moment that I cannot keep the lights off. Lately, I have also found that I develop anxiety when it is time to go to bed.
The night terror has had very devastating effects on life. I have developed insomnia. I find it difficult to fall and remain asleep for long. The resultant effects are that I oversleep in the morning hours. I have been late to class for a couple of days. I have missed a number of morning classes because I wake up late. Even when I make it early in class, I have problem concentrating. I think that the dream is having a negative effect on my studies. While I know how difficult the situation has become, I am unable to overcome. The dream appears as soon as I fall asleep. It is a recurrent dream, with the same events and personalities. As I am being chased, I call for help but, no one is willing to offer any.
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I do not know the cause of the dream I am experiencing. However, there is something tragic that has happened in the past three months. The father to my one of my closest friends has had a chronic ailment for a couple of months. We have such strong bonds with that family that we look like close relatives. Last month, we all learned the man had been suffering from cancer of the colon. He had been in and out of the hospital for months, yet not even the doctors knew what he was suffering from. The news hit the family, including myself really hard. I saw my close friend, James, crying most of the time. I was unable to comfort him, yet I am his close friend. I was equally affected. The matters became worse when his father past on last month. Since then, I have been in denial. While I attended the funeral service and even the grave site, I have not accepted that James’ father passed on.
I think there is a relationship between the dream I am having and the trauma of the loss of James’ dad. Prior to the death, I did not experiencing such dreams. I have developed anxiety, and I think that I am also experiencing some mild depression. In the last two weeks, I have lost appetite. My parents and close friends have noted a change in my behavior. I have lost interest in most of things that I love doing most. As a result, some of my close friends are very concerned about what is happening. I have been avoiding such friends who appear concerned about what is happening in my life. My parents have suggested that I should see a counselor, but I still do not think that I have a major problem.
According to Jung, dreams are a representation of what is in the unconscious part of the brain ( Borch-Jacobsen, 2012). Sigmund Freud talks about the defense mechanisms. When one is facing a traumatic experience, there is a tendency to repress the painful emotions ( Bair, 2003) . One is likely to deny the existence of the problem itself. When one suppresses or represses the painful emotions, they are only absent in the conscious, but present in the unconscious part of the mind ( Lieberman, E. & Kramer, 2012) . According to Freud, when one falls asleep, the defense mechanism is weakened. All the repressed painful experiences from the unconscious are brought to the conscious. Normally, the dream will be in the form of dreams that are full of terror. All dreams, according to Freud and Jung have a meaning for instance, when one dreams that he is being chased by someone, it means that he/she is trying to avoid something. The dream indicates that the person needs to face the reality of what is happening, otherwise, he/she will not have peace.
I agree with the perception of Freud and Jung about a dream. In my case, I think that I have failed in facing my own fears and anxiety. I have failed in facing the truth about what is going on in my life. The dream is a representation of what is going on in my life. It shows that I am in denial. I think that I need to begin by facing the reality. I will begin by visiting a counselor. Psychotherapy plays an imperative role in bringing the unconscious to the conscious. As a result, it is possible to address all the fears, anxieties, motives, or painful emotions that are repressed. Unless I face the reality, the dream might never go away and will continue having a negative impact in my life.
Borch-Jacobsen, M. (2012). The Freud Files: An Inquiry into the History of Psychoanalysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 58.
Bair, D. (2003). Jung: A Biography. New York: Back Bay Books. pp. 633–4. ISBN 978-0-316-15938-8.
Lieberman, E. & Kramer, R. (2012). The Letters of Sigmund Freud & Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1–2, 4.