I always see nightmares that startle me to wake up at midnight very often. I couldn’t remember exactly what I see in my dreams that gives me fear and wakes me up. But I could feel like difficulties in breathing and then I drink some water and relax for a while and try to sleep again. But I will be thinking the next whole day about what has happened at night. As it has become often so I thought of talking to my friend who is a psychologist. I didn’t delay our meeting and called her immediately and fixed the appointment. She has her clinic close by so in the evening I visited her. I was happy to meet her. We had casual chat initially then after a while I told her about my nightmares and their frequency.  

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She heard everything and then took a deep breath. She then said she would ask me few questions and then she will talk about it. I was ok with it and we started. She asked me about my daily routine. For Which I replied saying from morning till night I have so much work. Looking after children; cooking; getting things ready including food for my in-laws and my husband then taking children to school; coming back and finishing my other household work and then other things like grocery shopping or medicine buying for my in-laws to taking them to therapist and doctors on some days. The list keeps going. The next question she asked about while doing my work do I feel tensed or am I very conscious. For that, I answered I always see into it that whatever I do I have to do it correctly. 

Because my husband wants everything perfect no mistakes. Even my children want everything ready before they ask for it. My laws have many expectations from me; I have to fulfil them. I don’t rest because I keep working to keep everything perfect. I gave up my job too so that I can give my best to my family. Sometimes I feel dependent on my husband monetarily but then I forget and adjust. 

She heard both answers and then she asked me do I have any fear which I have never spoken about to anyone. I shied for a while but then I had to tell her. She was my friend first and then a psychologist. I told her that I have fear which I never spoke about to anyone. Not even to my husband or my parents. That fear is of being a failure. Failure in fulfilling my duties towards my family. 

Depressed woman tormented by restless sleep, she is exhausted and suffering from insomnia, bad dreams or nightmares, psychological problems. inconvenient uncomfortable bed or mattress. lack of sleep Premium Photo

Fear of not carrying my responsibilities towards my in-laws properly. Fear of being a bad mother to my children. Fear of losing the love of my husband if I make him disappointed. Fear of not being beautiful and losing my charm and if my husband gets attracted to some other lady. Fear of losing my respect in my house if I forget to do something for my family. Fear of losing my identity. I have already lost my identity as a working woman and financially independent woman. But that I did wishfully for my family; though I regret it sometimes. But now I have accepted and living with it. All these thoughts give me fear and I feel anxious.  

Her next question was before going to bed what I think about most. 

I replied I always keep checking about things required for the following day is kept ready for my children and my husband. 

Then I think about what work has to be done the next day. I need to plan my day. Mostly I keep thinking about all these and fall asleep. After listening to my answer my friend said finally you told me yourself what make you get those nightmares. Your fears are only the reason why you wake up often at midnight. You are so scared now by doing your duties and responsibilities perfectly that even in sleep you only think about it. You are worried about the next day work. You go to sleep with worries in your head. So suddenly you wake up. You get those nightmares where you should be seeing about missing some work to be done or doing something wrong. These are a most common type of nightmares many women gets who are so dedicated to their family fulfilling their needs without thinking about themselves.

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She then suggested starting to take breaks for herself. To start doing something that I like. I should make time for myself in my busy day. I need to rework my schedule again and I should allot free time for myself. If required I should talk to my family and my husband about it. The problem is not a major issue but it has to be addressed on time and steps needed to be taken before it becomes something big. I also understood what she was saying. There is nothing wrong to make space and time for self. Everyone needs that time. It is much important. To give your full to your family you need to be healthy and happy both physically and mentally. I took leave from my friend on from that time I decided to give time to myself. I worked on my schedule and now I have started doing few activities which were once my hobbies. I feel much happy now and also sleeping at ease. #Self Love Isn’t Selfish.

Sejal Davey 
Special educator,
Child and career counselor and
Parenting coach
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