Stress Dreams

It’s that time of year again. Back to school. But for the first time in over 16 years, I’m not at school. Instead, I’m having stress dreams about school.

I’m sitting for an exam. It’s American history. I write beautiful answers for the first three essay questions and leisurely go back and perfect them. Time is almost running out and I go back to the beginning to the test booklet and realise that we needed to answer five essay questions and not three. I begin to panic. How was I so stupid to miss this? How on earth will I even get close to providing mediocre answers to two more essays? Time runs out. And I wake up, breathing heavily, not able to shake that feeling of dread coursing through my body.

stress still life

It’s that time of year again. Back to school. But for the first time in over 16 years of schooling, I’m not sitting in a classroom, stressing about grades or tests or essays. I’m working in an office every weekday, living a normal, not-so-stressful life.

Only I don’t think my mind completely realises that. I’m used to stress dreams like this. It’s hard to control anxiety in your sleep. Getting my mind to shut off in order for me to actually be able to sleep is hard enough (although a friend tells me it’s a sign of genius so maybe I shouldn’t complain). But staying asleep is another problem. During school, I’d often be woken up several times a night by nightmares of failing a test, sleeping through classes, or forgetting to tune in assignments. They would usually slow down over the summer, and then pick right back up again when the school year kicked off and my stress and anxiety levels skyrocketed.


But now I’m not at school. My daytime mind knows that and is alright with it. I’m living in a new great city, doing work I really like. I’m rarely stressed to the point of panic. But I guess my subconscious isn’t quite ready to accept that my schooling days are done for the time being.

The stress dreams started right about the time when the school year commenced and now they’re haunting some of my nights. Hopefully soon my subconscious or night mind if whatever controls stress dreams figures out that I’ve got no deadlines or exams or classes to work about soon because I’d really like to get a good night’s sleep…

I’m not really sure where this post was going, but it feels loads better to get it out on paper, so to speak. Has anyone else experienced this?

Stress dreams

College, Mental Health, School
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1 Comment

  • Reply
    6 September 2016 at 21:25

    I sometimes get these dreams and I am in my mid-thirties. As you said, it is usually a symbolic dream about stress in your life and the feeling of unpreparedness – whether it is starting a new job, staying on top of any household debt or starting life in a new town/country. It’s really nothing to worry about. Just try to think of what it is that is making you feeling a bit overwhelmed and try to find ways to resolve them. Your dreams should stop for awhile after that.

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