Dealing with Sleep Troubles and Traumatic Memories and Imagined Threats

juliana

Learning
I have been struggling recently with sleep. I often fall asleep eventually but sometimes it is as late as 4:30 AM in the morning. I have bad dreams sometimes. In the past, they have been memories of things that happened that resulted in my having trauma. I bad dream this one is most likely different it is a repeated scene of a scorpion crawling up the wall and stinging me in my sleep. I had to move to sleep on my sofa last night instead of my bed. Today it's like I can't stop thinking about scorpions and like feeling a tag on my skin that is itchy and reminds me of this scorpion. I live in Seattle WA there are not any here I know this. Everything is made worst by lack of sleep. I have had one negative experience with scorpions that I remember while attending SPU. There I was bullied by another student to the point of leaving and I was also kicked out for being LGBTQA+. I can't quite remember I blacked out a lot of being at school there, I do remember something about my fear of scorpions being used to bully me but not actual scorpions. My older brother Joe has a fear of school shoots. I am also afraid of this and wail at SPU a classmate who had been bullying me about being who I was LGBTQA+ said something that concerned me about the possibility of a school shooting occurring. Knowing the school's history with there had been a shooting on campus before I was very scared. I reported my concerns to the admission and security they ignored this and made it clear to not speak up again. When I have had a lack of sleep and bad dreams like that it has been a memory of trauma from my past. I have some vague connected to scorpion memories but there are things I do not completely remember.
 
Yes, I am in therapy. My therapist is out for the next few weeks for spring break.
Well, we will stay away from insights about nightmares then. Usually in solving them you find a key to unlocking trauma memories. Don't want to do that without your T around to help.
Sleep? I learned it is what it is. When stress is high - you get less and your symptoms are more active. Have you read the PTSD cup article yet? It helps with everything.


As for sleep - the more time I spend stressing and worrying about sleep - the less sleeping I do. When nightmares were bad - I found alternate places to sleep, when possible without waking someone took a shower (you are covered in sweat and the results of stress), found other things to do like read a book, watch a DVD or something I have seen a million times, anything where at the least I could rest. Changing locations used to help - in the first years after trauma I slept in the closet sometimes.

Hard part is to not stress over not sleeping. One trick I used was instead of being negative about how little - be positive about how much sleep you did get...
 
Well, we will stay away from insights about nightmares then. Usually in solving them you find a key to unlocking trauma memories. Don't want to do that without your T around to help.
Sleep? I learned it is what it is. When stress is high - you get less and your symptoms are more active. Have you read the PTSD cup article yet? It helps with everything.


As for sleep - the more time I spend stressing and worrying about sleep - the less sleeping I do. When nightmares were bad - I found alternate places to sleep, when possible without waking someone took a shower (you are covered in sweat and the results of stress), found other things to do like read a book, watch a DVD or something I have seen a million times, anything where at the least I could rest. Changing locations used to help - in the first years after trauma I slept in the closet sometimes.

Hard part is to not stress over not sleeping. One trick I used was instead of being negative about how little - be positive about how much sleep you did get...
That was helpful thanks so much. That’s good to know the moving to different locations helped in someways also. And that’s a good point be positive about how much sleep I get. That helps what was going on make more sense also.
 
That was helpful thanks so much. That’s good to know the moving to different locations helped in someways also. And that’s a good point be positive about how much sleep I get. That helps what was going on make more sense also.
Yup.....I found being negative and moaning about it didn't change anything. As a matter of fact it lead to more rumination and more stress and more issues with sleep. When I got positive then it was whatever it was, and it was OK, it didn't matter. Yeah - tired - exhausted - all that but been there done that without nightmares.....

Changing locations did the same thing. Not in the same bed where I just had problems - stops ruminating about the nightmare I just had - breaks the lying in bad trying to get to sleep and worrying it will happen again.
 
I listen to an audiobook when I'm going to sleep. Nothing frightening, usually one I've read before. I have certain narrators I like that put me right to sleep, lol. I have nightmares every night too.
 
One thing I’ve noticed when I’m dealing with “too much nightmare fuel” (blends of fiction & reality) nightmares… is that the symbolism is very key.

I’ve lived all over the world.

Including Seattle.

I get both the scorpions & PacNW thing.

For ME, that would indicate that I’m struggling with my past and my present. Seeing threats where there are none. Old habits, overlaying onto present reality. What was ONCE very real (and stupid easy; you shake out your shoes, like clicking a seatbelt; dump laundry, like checking for weevils in flour) superimposing as unreal threats in modern parlance.

What do you think it means for you? Have scorpions ever been a real threat -easily handled- in your own life? Or are they a boogey man, a monster in the dark, a face to assign your fears? Or? Something else?
 
I listen to an audiobook when I'm going to sleep. Nothing frightening, usually one I've read before. I have certain narrators I like that put me right to sleep, lol. I have nightmares every night too.
Really good distraction. Though sometimes it is hard to focus on anything one has to try. I'm lucky (for now) as I currently co bedshare with my little ones and the oxytocin from cuddles and their confidence in me keeps me in line...it also gives me breaks where I can essentially suppress my anxiety for their sake and really try to be present with them...though on worst days it is really tough to engage and not feel irritable. Sick of dreams/nightmares all night but I take comfort that my unconscious is trying to process and heal through these insights...I need to write a dream diary...as often I forget a lot of details and retrieval is not possible...others are prominant and play on my mind all the next day...but being able to interpret the ones I do recall definitely is revealing....

I also use children's meditation stories/music to sleep which helps at least to fall asleep....even if i do wake at odd hours.

Sleep deprivation is really tough and definitely impacts on all aspects of our wellbeing. Between 9pm and midnight is restorative sleep so if you can aim for that...even if awoken by dreams or anxiety...that sleep portion is going to help.

Good to be strict with self...wind down from 7pm...write a list of what is on your mind....then do some yoga and deep breathing, take a bath, read a book or listen to an audio book or even do some mindful colouring in/drawing. See it as a gift a dear friend would give you...self-care/parenting...have compassion for yourself....sleep despite bad dreams is going to help your overall health. I say this but cannot always follow. Housework whilst listening to a book of interest if too agitated also helpful....supplement with magnesium and Bvits...eat raw when you can...cashews also very beneficial.

Wishing you well. Xx
 
Are you in therapy?
Hi. I had my first bout of therapy today. I am struggling with things that happened 50years ago. A violent attack when I was 16 and another attack when I was 17. I knew the person who attacked me when I was 16. I live through this every day. I hope the therapy helps.
 
Hi. I had my first bout of therapy today. I am struggling with things that happened 50years ago. A violent attack when I was 16 and another attack when I was 17. I knew the person who attacked me when I was 16. I live through this every day. I hope the therapy helps.
Same place.....same kind of stuff. Like someone told me when I got here - this place is about the every day. And that's your job, learn to live your everyday with PTSD.

Therapy can be difficult, but when you get a handles on day to day it starts getting easier.

First thing I would do is read this......
 
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