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AgapeDoc
AgapeDoc, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 197
Experience:  Dr. W. D. Nicholas will help you find solutions to life's challenging issues.
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PLEASE DO NOT CLOSE THIS IS NOT A DUPLICATE QUESTION I followed

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PLEASE DO NOT CLOSE THIS IS NOT A DUPLICATE QUESTION

I followed through on your suggestions and the anxiety has decreased dramatically and I am definitely much happier. Because of the decreased anxiety I feel much more confident as well. Thanks! Another situation I would like to address is some long-term nightmares I have had. I have been researching information about PTSD nightmares, but still haven't found anything definitive about how to deal with them. The dreams began after my husband passed away. About two weeks after his passing, I returned to work with the idea of getting myself back on track by staying focused on work. However, after I returned there were major, sudden changes to my job assignment. We had a new administration team that year and the comfortable, familial setting we had built for six years also seemed to have shifted dramatically. I left my job and took an early retirement. The dreams seem to be a result of multiple difficulties--I had been with my husband during his sudden passing and when I returned to work the job changes felt overwhelming. My long-term friends at work seemed to feel awkward and uncomfortable around me, and would often state that I had lost weight and they were worried about me. One of my friends told me that my situation frightened people because they didn't want to think about how they also could lose their spouses suddenly. I felt alone and sad. Perhaps my situation was uncomfortable for people, perhaps my behavior was somehow different, but the end result was I was too bereft to deal with any more stress or sadness. In April, I left the school where I had been one of the founding teachers, a school I loved deeply. Some of my students graduated in May and I attended their graduation; that was the last encounter with school. My perspective is that the multiple difficulties started the repetitive dreams. The dreams always have some of the same elements: I can't find the classroom, I am unprepared, I do a poor job and am evaluated poorly, I feel anxious and confused and lost. I often have these dreams several times each week. How delightful it would be to reach some resolution with the dreams and move on! Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Marian.

Optional Information:
Gender: Female
Age: 62

Already Tried:
Research on PTSD dreams. Meditation. Rewriting the end of the dreams.

AgapeDoc :

Thanks for contacting Just Answer - let's see if I can help in this situation....

AgapeDoc :

Well you certainly have been through a tremendous amount! My heart goes out to you, I can only imagine what it must be like you...... you have had two major "losses" and both were pretty much unexpected to say the least!!!

Customer:

Thanks for your understanding. What's surprising is that these events happened about five years ago; however, I still have the nightmares frequently. I'm wondering what methods are effective for ending these dreams. I definitely don't feel lost or upset anymore in my waking life.

AgapeDoc :

I think you have taken some positive steps in terms of, well in terms of everything - but you are specifically looking for help with your dreams - and as I started to say, you have done some positive things there, such as rewriting the ending of your dreams.

AgapeDoc :

I am very happy to hear that you are in a better place now :)

Customer:

Thanks. I've been working on that lately, but the dreams still continue. I'm wondering if there is some specific way to stop the looping/repetitive nature of these dreams.

AgapeDoc :

As for methods to end dreams... well, a couple of things come to mind. It's usually not what you do at night that makes the most difference....

Customer:

Would love to hear about anything that might help.

AgapeDoc :

Most experts agree that dreams have much to do with what's happening or specifically what's happening that we are not completely "conscious" of during the day.

AgapeDoc :

I'm sure you have at least considered this as you reflect on your situation.

AgapeDoc :

So... even though you are feeling fine ( and I'm sure for the most part you really are) there are some things that may be still hanging around more than you realize. Usually it's nothing drastic, just some minor issues (at least in my experience working with folks in similar situations).

AgapeDoc :

Even forgetting the loss of your husband, just consider your career.....

Customer:

Have studied dream analysis and definitely have worked with these dreams in that capacity. They don't seem to reflect what I am currently feeling, however (unless I'm just unaware). I'm aware that traumatic events that haven't been processed by the hippocampus feel as though they are in present time. Have also tried to process that way. It seems that I have classic PTSD symptoms in that something in the limbic system is unresolved from original traumas. I dont dream about my husband's passing--perhaps that is because I have come to feel a measure of peacefulness about that. I just don't know how to deal with the dreams about work.

AgapeDoc :

This is a big part of what defined you - this is especially true for teachers!

Customer:

That's true. I was very involved in teaching.

AgapeDoc :

Compare your profession to that of a bank teller or bank officer...... or many other professions..... see the difference?

Customer:

yes

AgapeDoc :

Anyone who has a long career teaching has her/his soul wrapped up in the growth, development, and education of her students!

Customer:

I feel sad my career ended that way.

Customer:

as a teacher, I mean

AgapeDoc :

And it sounds like you had a nice group of colleagues as well :)

Customer:

Definitely true. Really wonderful people and terrific students.

AgapeDoc :

I suggest that you reach out to a support group of retired educators or perhaps even start a group such as this... it's easy to do. You can do it in any number of ways.... for example, check out meetup.com. you may find a group you are interested in or you can start one :)

Customer:

Now that we're talking about it, I think I have felt that I did something terribly wrong that it ended that way

Customer:

Although I don't know what it would be.

AgapeDoc :

That's understandable as well - for anyone... but again especially for a teacher

Customer:

I do have some friends who are retired educators and counselors, but that doesn't seem to help.

AgapeDoc :

You didn't do anything I imagine, but as a teacher, you feel responsible for many things :)

Customer:

Perhaps I have the dreams because of the unresolved sadness?

AgapeDoc :

You need to set it up as a support group - specific parameters and goals - meeting times, etc.

AgapeDoc :

I think you are making progress :)

AgapeDoc :

You will come to realize that the sadness is or unresolved issue are not something you did.

Customer:

I know there are many things I could have done better as a teacher. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. But other times I remember all the wonderful experiences with students and colleagues and feel happy and blessed that I had the chance to teach.

AgapeDoc :

This is all quite natural - I have dealt with many folks transitioning to retirement. It's even more so for teachers - I am one and have worked with many who have retired.

Customer:

Do people sometimes feel regrets when they retire? That they could have done more?

AgapeDoc :

From a personal perspective, I can also say that it is very challenging to deal with a change in leadership on campus :(

Customer:

That was very hard for me. The new principal was asked to leave the year I had difficulty with her.

AgapeDoc :

Regrets when they retire - wow! Always! It's just a matter of how much or how many...

AgapeDoc :

This is one of the biggest things to come to grips with.

AgapeDoc :

I have been through this myself and I have consulted with staff members from other schools. CHALLENGING, CHALLENGING!

Customer:

Really? I didn't know that. Sometimes I'll remember something and wish I had handled it differently. It doesn't seem to matter how many good experiences I had. Perhaps I am focussing on the negative, but these things just seem to come up. I feel as though I'm doing life review before I die.

Customer:

What you're saying is quite a revelation to me. I didn't know other people experienced this.

AgapeDoc :

This is a normal part of human development. You are good at researching... why not do some research on this from a human development psychologist such as Erikson

AgapeDoc :

Do a search on Erikson Human Development Stages

Customer:

I've studied a lot of human development systems, but I'm not familiar with this. Will definitely research. Does his writing focus on life passages?

AgapeDoc :

You will find that you are not alone by any means!

AgapeDoc :

Yes, he is one of the best in terms of considering one's entire life - including retirement. Many others only focus on the early life.

Customer:

Ok. Thanks for your feedback. I will definitely check it out. Best wishes

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