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Extreme Nightmares - Do Others Have Them?

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hi. I was wondering if anyone else suffers from bad nightmares. I have been having them almost all of my life at this point. I saw a doctor about this when I was younger and they kind of assured me this would go away with age but now I am 20 and it still continues on a regular basis. It tends to get worse with time actually and now my nightmares are worse than ever. It has become just a tad embarassing because I consider myself a fairly strong and fearless person but I just can't sleep after I have a nightmare like this I have to talk to someone to get back to normal I end up calling my friend sometimes without even knowing. I looked at my dialed calls on my cell one morning after having really bad nightmare and showed I had called him right afterwards.

When I try to talk to any of my friends about i think they think it is funny. I think it was quite normal when I was younger but now people think I should have outgrown this

these aren't just typical nightmares like falling or something, I mean these are all horrible and graphic, usually concerning getting my throat slit. The problem is in the dreams I always ALWAYS know I am about to die, I get the sensation before I ever see the attacker, I just know he is there and that is the worst part of the dream is that tension and anxiety and this pure fear I feel this fear like it were real life, I can not stand this feeling of just pure terror. It unsettles me even into the day

I swear I am a really strong willed person I feel I have no fears in my every day life. I used to have many but I confronted them all and now I feel I'm afriad of nothing I don't know why this wont go away. Has anyone have similar experience?
Many here will answer yes, they have bad nightmares as it is a common symptom of PTSD. Are nightmares your only issue or have you been diagnosed with PTSD? Sorry, I am a little confused.
I have extreme nightmares, on a nightly basis mostly, and have had them for years. Consistently as bad as they currently are for 3 years, but I have had these nightmares since I was 14, I just used to get some breaks sometimes which I don't get anymore. Like you, I have told friends about them over the years, and they mostly find it weird or funny. Now I just tell them any that are really strange or funny afterwards, but keep my mouth shut otherwise as I got sick of people not taking it seriously.

Though the other week I had a festive nightmare which is funny now! Santa was a mass child murderer...and also a very good ice skater!

But on a serious note, yes... I have horrific, extreme nightmares like you and I have had them for a very, very long time.
Hi fleazo,
I used to have horrible dreams and nightmares until I confronted my fears. Nightmares are a symptom of the trauma. I still have them but only when I'm very stressed out.

You stated you are strong willed and had many fears but confronted them. My guess is that you actually suppressed them. If you are suppressing your fears in the day when they surface, they will find another outlet such as nightmares, depression and anger.

In my opinion the best way to lessen those nightmares is to let yourself face those fears in the day when they come to you. If you are strong willed, and will them to be gone, they will come back in some form, so you might as well deal with them when they come to you.

For instance if you are afraid of dogs and you see a dog while passing down the road. You think to yourself "I refuse to be afraid of that dog" and stuff the fear. Later, that fear will turn into a nightmare, anger or depression. I think if your afraid of dogs then say, "I'm afraid of dogs" then accept it fully and let it sink in.

Being afraid is a natural part of being human and is in no way a weakness. Fear is a healthy part of living and breathing. There are healthy ways to deal with fear and stuffing them doesn't' seem to be one of them.

Now if these fears that you conquered awhile back are overwhelming, then start with the small fears first (such as the dog analogy). If you were attacked by a person and some one you see on the streets reminds you of your attacker, there is no need to face that fear at that point because that would be to much of an over load, and could send you into an overwhelming state of stress.

Maybe you could take baby steps and let yourself feel and accept small fears as they come. You may not even notice they are there at first because it may have become a habit to suppress them. Pay attention and the next time something makes you feel uneasy let yourself know what it is. Hopefully after awhile of doing this your nightmares will start to fade.

If you need help with your dreams let me know. I do dream interpretation which is what helped me with my nightmares. It is not an exact science and doesn't help everyone, but it did help me.

My very bad, very graphic nightmares (better described as 'night terrors') have all been since I experienced my trauma and developed PTSD. When I first developed PTSD, that first week, I could not finish a REM for 5 days straight without being awakened by the nightmare -- it was so vivid and experiential that I woke myself up acting out physically (kicking, hitting the furniture next to me, etc.). It got to the point where I was afraid of going to sleep, because my monsters were waiting for me there. I had no escape from them. It was absolutely exhausting, not just physically, but emotionally too, because I had no safe place inside myself. In the past, my whole life, sleep had always been an oasis ... at least in that I could shut my eyes and I would not be able to see the room around me. There was at least the oasis of darkness ??? Now that had been robbed from me too. It was the overt, unfair theft of the final frontier for me.

The nightmares lessened over time. I do still get them though. The past week, I have had a nightmare/night terror 4 nights I think? which is a lot for me. I was down to getting 1 every couple of weeks, maybe. So it's been a rough week or two. I attribute it to fighting a virus, and also Christmas. My brain/emotions are just all out of whack. So when I wake up kicking or fighting, I try to be patient with myself. It's just a flare up -- no matter how real it feels !! -- it's a flare-up of the PTSD and I need to just hang on and ride through it.

For what it's worth, it takes me quite a while to calm down and settle my brain after I wake up from one of those nightmares. I end up watching TV for a couple hours (usually the news -- it is grounding), or I might call my Mom. Thankfully she is very understanding and knows just what to say. Probably helps that I have had a couple of these nightmares while sleeping in her bed (I occasionally sleep over @ her place when it's too late to drive home, I don't want to risk falling asleep at the wheel), I've woken her up with my kicking and crying out in my sleep, so she knows first-hand what "one of those nightmares" means. She totally realizes it is very vivid and very real to me. That helps a ton.

We all have coping strategies for getting through those moments. When you have a nightmare like that, I think it is probably very common to need to "reset" or "reprogram" your brain back to normal afterwards. I know I sure do. Often the nightmare was so real, I wake up believing it is real. I have to then reprocess it consciously, identifying each part as not real - just a dream. It is disorienting though. Very disconcerting.

I am sorry, I don't know how to make them stop or go away. If I did, I would be employing that strategy every night so I didn't get them anymore, myself. :)

:) Bailey
yes, i started with recurring nightmares since i lost my ex in a car wreck. These include waking up paralysed with intense fear, dreaming that spiders are crawling all over me, macabre dreams of blood and guts everywhere.

when I have nightmares i often wake up with my jaw clenched grinding my teeth, but only when I have a nightmare... anyone else get this ?
Jaw clenching and grinding

Vapor - Yes, I get this during and after nightmares... so you're not alone. I think it's a fear reaction to me... as my jaw clamps shut whenever I've been really scared when awake too. I don't think it's actually that uncommon.
I have had a recurring dream since forever I guess. It is the falling dream where you awake, startled with the surreal sense you were falling. It is somewhat unnerving.

In the dream I am no place with nothing around me. It is very brief. I am in well lit surroundings with nothing but a pale bluish void, if that is possible!

In another dream,I wake up completely disoriented. No memory of the dream that causes this but when I awake I am compleyely and totally disoriented to time and place. I find myself walking in small circles and extremely anxious and REALLY have no idea where I am or what is going on. It can take me quite a while to calm down. This dream leaves me extremely anxious. There is also the sense of intense fear.

Untill recently, I was having nightmares that I did not remember. You know that feeling. You wake up knowing something awful was happeneing, you know it was a nightmare because all the fear and panic and anxiety is still present but you don't know what it was about.

Some of these nightmares are so intense that I am affected for most of the day with anxiety. I am unable to calm down or relax for hours, and usually need to stay in bed distracting myself by watching old movies.

Well, that's my input guys

I have nightmares too. My dreams linger and stay with me, just as vivid as when I dreamt it. It's more than disturbing.
I used to have extreme nightmares and when I woke up....I felt like my assault HAD JUST HAPPENED....UUUUGGGGHHHHH.......and then take care of my son who wakes up between 4:30 and 5:30........With a lot of hard work and cognitive behavioural therapy I now can bring myself back to reality and they don't seem to take over anymore. Some are worse than others but just to let you know......with me.....the nightmares are not so intense. I have also written a lot too. I wish you only the best to overcome this if you can....and i beleive with hard work it can be done.
My nightmares used to be much worse, particularly in the 10 years post-trauma. It still happens when I am stressed. They are terrifying and very realistic when I do have them. I read that dreams can be changed if one realizes they are dreaming. It took a few months to achieve, but I have been able to change dreams. It only works about 1/5 of the time or perhaps a little less. Has anyone else ever done this?
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