Nathalie's nightmare has become so intense that she was put on medical leave and hasn't worked in at least six months. "I find myself having difficulty distinguishing between what's reality and what is dream. Even when I am awake, I see her. I feel her. And I fear her."
She even attributes a near-accident to her ghastly dream. "I was driving. I saw her and I tried to not hit her. I felt I hit her anyway. I immediately called 911. They sent an ambulance and police over. The EMT said that I was just tired," she recounts. "That's when I realized that this nightmare was definitely taking control over my life. I live in constant fear. I have the feeling that there is somebody watching me, waiting for me."
Nathalie has tried medication and therapy, yet feels she is running out of options. "My greatest fear is that I'm going insane. If I don't get Dr. Phil's help, I feel that I'll just cross over into the dream and I'll get stuck there."
"It was definitely the first time that I've had more imagery to what I actually see," she admits. "It's definitely real to me whether I'm awake or whether I'm asleep. To a certain extent, I've become numb to it because it's so terrifying. I try to go deeper. I've tried to analyze it myself. I've gone through therapy. I've done everything in the book that possibly exists."
"What do they tell you?" Dr. Phil asks.
"They always came back and said that since it started when I was very young with my parents' divorce, that mostly like it was because I lacked the attention of a father figure in my life," Nathalie says. She describes what is so horrifying about her dream. "She falls in the tub and her arm is hanging out, and she is reaching out to me. Of course, I'm trying to leave, which I can't. She'll say, 'Stay with me,' 'Don't leave,' 'Why are you leaving?' 'Don't abandon me.' And lately, she'll say, 'Come play with me.' That does freak me out. 'Come play with me.' It sounds so innocent, but it evokes a terrifying feeling. I carry that fear even when I am awake."
"Do you have any sense of will while you're in the dream? Can you turn away?" Dr. Phil probes. "If she said, 'Why are you leaving me?' have you ever answered the question?"
"When you see this girl, do you recognize her?"
"But it's the same girl every time?"
Nathalie nods sadly. "Same girl. Same scenario. Same smell in the bathroom. Same coldness. Exactly to the detail," she says.
"Do you think you're going what you call crazy?" Dr. Phil inquires.
Nathalie gives a short laugh. "No, because I am intelligent," she says. "I definitely feel that I'm losing control. I don't feel in control. I don't feel strong enough to fight this, which I can't accept at this point."
Dr. Phil points out that Nathalie's nightmares have contributed to the dissolution of her marriage, and she hasn't been able to work in six months. "This is basically paralyzing your life. Your sleep quality is poor. It's interrupted," he says. "I don't know why you're having this from a psychological standpoint. It's totally subjective. We can say the little girl is you. Common sense is, the little girl is you, and you felt abandoned."
"I'm scared!" she says. "You're scary looking. You're dead. You're hung in my bathroom. You ain't supposed to be moving!"
"Can you see the logic of expressing that?" Dr. Phil says. He points out that Nathalie's face lit up when she was able to answer "Amy's" question. "You used logic and common sense, and it felt good to you. I could see it in your eyes. I could see it in your face. What I want to do is suggest that we meet this thing head on under supervision ... I would also like to have you evaluated in terms of your hormonal profile."
He promises to get professional help for Nathalie, and Dr. Lawlis will assist in finding a trained hypnotherapist for her. "I think we're going to find some answers. I take this very seriously, and I think this is something that we can get a handle on," Dr. Phil says.