Dreaming LifeDreaming Life

Many dreams represent anxiety in one form or another. Anxiety in excess can make it difficult to even get to sleep in the first place. At one time there was an obsession with the vulnerability of being asleep, largely caused by the sleepers defenselessness against attackers.

Victims of nightmares may still feel some of these apprehensions. The recurring nightmare strongly shows a deep-seated anxiety or repression. If we don’t address the cause of the nightmare and try to interpret it, we are leaving ourselves open to attack from within.

Anxiety dreams are not always nightmares but they are easily identified by the strong emotional energy that is always present. A typical scenario is trying to cope with umpteen tasks at the same time or a never-ending single task, like Sisyphus in Greek mythology who was condemned, as a punishment for his wickedness in this life, to roll a stone from the bottom to the top of a hill. Whenever the stone reached the top it rolled down again. Thus, his task was never-ending. Frederic Bastiat, the eminent French economist, philosopher, and statesman of well over a century ago, dubbed all people sisyphists who, by restrictive measures, tend to make the tasks of life unending. If social inadequacy is the source of anxiety then it may be expressed in dreams by being painfully humiliated in public.

Dreaming about anxiety, being anxious in your dreams

Dreams in which we worry about things are very common. The worry in dreams may seem to be about something insignificant when compared to situations in our waking lives, or seem to have nothing to do with them. However, dreams are almost always connected in some way with our daily lives; our subconscious uses symbols rather than straightforward imagery to get a point across. It is important to examine such dreams closely so that we may discover areas in our lives about which we are uncertain, areas we perhaps had not given enough or any thought to. It is essential to find the source of the anxiety in our waking lives; once a thing is identified its power is diminished greatly.

Trying to run to or away from something and finding that you can’t move properly, or not at all, is a very common anxiety dream. Dreams of being pursued are very common and often frightening. The hunter may be an invisible presence, a human, an animal or monster; there is an almost endless list of things that can chase us in our dreams. Children have reported being chased by household objects like washing machines and toilets, obviously they are a lot more foreboding from a small child’s perspective. Computers are featuring in children’s dreams where they are being pulled in through the screen; I used to dream about being chased by a giant white ball well over fifty meters in diameter. Adult anxiety dreams are commonly crawling through narrow tunnels or wading though cloying mud and sticky inhibiting substances, or watching their treasured possessions being destroyed. People often dream that their teeth are falling out which is sometimes interpreted as insecurity about one’s looks or separation; it could also be a sign that you need a trip to the dentist, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" (S. Freud)

The chase dream usually indicates that something, a problem perhaps, in our subconscious is trying to make itself known to our conscious minds. It is important that we help the process by making meticulous notes of every aspect of the dream, thus initiating the connection between conscious and subconscious. If, after becoming more familiar with the dream while we are awake, we can turn and face the hunter in our dreams; we are coming a long way towards understanding and dispelling the nightmare and overcoming our fear.