Hello. I am an adult female from the US.

Ever since I can remember, which is three years old, I’ve nightmares. They got so bad that, as a kid, not anymore, that I was cursed or something.

When puberty started, these dreams have started to get more and more messed up and real. Sometimes I used to believe them to be reality and spend what seems like years in what can be called literal Hell. Now I know that they aren’t it seems that even though I know I am dreaming and trying my best to wake up, I spend years in what I know to be a fake world.

This fake world can be many things. Like something as outlandish as the zombie acopolyse to being framed for murder and wasting away in a cell for the rest of my life. And usually all my family and friends always die. So that’s fun.

This, of course, messes up my sleeping. With the fact I often either start sleepwalking or get sleep paralysis. It is very hard to go to sleep out of pure fear. And that fear might be what is making the nightmares become worse and worse.

Sometimes these happen when dreams aren’t supposed to happen either. Usually dreams happen after hours of sleep, some of these are only after an hour. And that’s weird too. Might be caused be insomnia too.

I’ve tried lucid dreaming, but that does not work. Does not stop me from trying. Something, anything, to escape this.

So far I’ve lived out my life way over 100 times and I am getting tired of having no control over my situation. There has to be some way to stop this. Because this isn’t normal. And it is seriously screwing over my life. I am way too jaded for an eighteen year old.

A. Occasional nightmares are normal and common but frequent ones, that significantly disrupt your sleep and ability to function, are not. It’s possible that you have an REM sleep disorder. Further evidence of a potential sleep disorder is your sleepwalking and sleep paralysis.

Nightmares are also associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, underlying psychological problems, and certain medications: narcotics, barbiturates and alcohol. An evaluation could rule these out as potential causes.

I would highly recommend that you undergo a sleep study. Treatment might involve medication and or psychotherapy treatment, depending upon your diagnosis. Psychotherapy might be particularly useful in correcting the psychological aspects of disrupted sleep. Utilize the website sleepeducation.org to find a facility near you or ask your primary care physician for a referral to a sleep specialist.

Sleep is an important aspect of psychological health. Without it, it can be difficult to function and maintain a stable mood. Once you have had a sleep study, you will have a better idea about what might be wrong and most importantly, how to treat it. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle