Hello, I am a female, 22, married almost a year, happily. I work as a waitress and am hoping to return to school within the next few months to complete my B.S. in Botany. I am the oldest of five children in a moderately to strongly dysfunctional family, and at the moment am estranged from my parents, who still live close by. My younger sister, 16, has recently moved in with my husband and I, due to parental abuse, both emotional and physical. I have always been very verbal, imaginative and emotional, although in the past few years I have been actively trying to be calmer, less emotional and more rational. I have a tendency to worry, and a history of anxiety and mild panic attacks (not frequent). Due to being in a Navy family and moving constantly throughout my childhood, I also have a bit of difficulty communicating with others effectively on a social level, although I do have several close friends, male and female. My mother has shown signs of being mentally ill (though undiagnosed) and I am terrified of being like her in any way.
My problem is this: I have recurring dreams in which I am violently murdering seemingly innocent people for ridiculous reasons. The dream is not always the same but it usually begins with my mind establishing intent for the killing, proceeds to the actual murder itself in vivid and disturbing detail, and next deals with the steps I take to cover up the deed, which usually include getting rid of the body, bald-faced lying, deception, running and hiding and a great deal of conniving, which in the dreams seems all very logical and thought out. No matter how irrational the reason for the murder, I always feel justified in the killing. Rational thought does not even begin to enter into these dreams. These dreams have no definitive endings; they just get more and more chaotic and frantic until I abruptly fade awake, with no resolution. My thought processes throughout are highly emotional and without conscience (very unlike me). The people killed in these dreams have been all ages and genders, except children and teens. Methods are usually shooting or stabbing, though have been as passive as poison and as unusual as a scythe.
In the past, I have had dreams of killing, but always in self defense. These new, more aggressive dreams are disturbing not only in that it is I who take the offensive, but that in the dream I also seem to enjoy it. My family does have a history of temper and violence, but never deadly violence. These dreams frighten me, and have had a sharp increase in frequency this week (3 in the past 3 nights) with no obvious waking reasons or stresses. When I do wake from these dreams, I feel as though I’ve slept poorly, and am very disturbed and upset, sometimes to tears. I am fairly sure the cause is not hormonal. . . should I be worried about my mental health?
--Katrina, Age 22, Pensacola, FLORIDA, USA
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