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Anxiety.

Hello! So I am an 18 year old female in my first year of college. For the last year or so, I've been experiencing horrible chronic nightmares- several times a week, usually every night. Sometimes they are violent and emotional (such as loved ones dying in awful ways, or being raped or killed myself), but other times they are just incredibly stressful (such as being in a country where I don't speak the language or feeling as if I have assignments past due). Both wake me up several times a night, sometimes every hour, and leave me physically and emotionally exhausted. I also find it very hard to relax and feel worried most of the time, although I don't always know why. I also get scared, sometimes for no reason, sometimes because of something like flying, so much so that I sometimes feel numb in my legs and hands. I find it hard to make up my mind about anything, second guess myself constantly, and am having problems staying mentally involved in my classes- all of which are subjects that I have always been passionate about. I am currently taking hormonal birth control, but I have experienced these symptoms for much longer than the four months I have been taking it. I was just wondering if there was a specific reason, something physical or psychological that was causing me to feel this way. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Hi there,

As a therapist, I would want to know more about what is going on in your life and how you are coping with some of the issues that seem to be popping up in your nightmares.  Often nightmares can be things that we do not give full attention to in our everyday life.  Have someone you can really trust and is really supportive to help you talk about the nightmares and how they might relate to issues that you need to look at.  I also used to have these horrible dreams about forgetting to pass in an assignment or something (over and over again) until I spent some time talking to myself and to others about how the assignments were passed in, and how I often worry about handing them in etc.  When brought to the light, issues can be set aside when we go to bed and dream.  It also sounds like you are experiencing some heavy anxiety in your waking hours, which is tough, I know personally too.  For this, there are a couple of things you can do: 1 is to challenge any thoughts or beliefs which cause you to feel anxious (is this thought really true, let me see), 2. practice relaxation in whatever way relaxes you 3. try to see if there is some underlying shame which causes anxiety and your indecision.  I highly reccomend the work of Brene' Brown as she writes about shame and how to move past it.  "The gifts of imperfection" is great for this, and I have found my confidence and anxiety to be much better after reading it.
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