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Flashbacks Of Nightmares?

Discussion in 'Dissociation, Depersonalization & Derealization' started by Lisa, Jul 22, 2007.

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  1. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    I have a chronic problem with nightmares. For over 2 years now (and in phases in the past) I have had nightmares 5/6/7 nights a week. I have a whole library of nightmares that I have had stuck in my head going back as far as 8 years.

    I woke up this morning, and remembered one of the nightmares that I had last night. I thought that was all I had last night. Then 20 minutes ago I had what I can only call a flashback of another nightmare that I had last night. I was left shuddering, heart rate up, feeling sick and my stomach literally cramping ready to throw up. I don't just have flashbacks of ones I don't remember, but I have flashbacks of ones that I DO and HAVE remembered from years ago. Most of the time they are not about anything that has ever happened to me. Last night's one wasn't, it was just about a phobia I have, but I have had this problem with things that are totally unrelated, like murder, gutting dead bodies and all sorts I can't bring myself to mention or go into detail about.

    Is it actually possible to have flashbacks of nightmares? Because this confuses me... they are not real, and I know that. They are not things that have happened in reality. And yet I seem to have several PTSD symptoms directly relating to my nightmares, as I do to my real trauma's??

    I feel so stupid about this, I mean how ****ed up is that? I feel like the only person in the world with this problem... is there anyone out there who can relate to this? And how can I get rid of it? It is one thing having the nightmares, it seems quite another to me that they seem to "traumatise" me, which in my mind is a friggin' INSULT.

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  3. Portabella

    Portabella Well-Known Member

    I have severe nightmares/night terrors. I can totally relate to everything you are saying and yes it can take me long periods of time to shake off a nightmare, in fact I have some that still haunt my thoughts as they are unspeakable. I too cannot come to admit what my subconscious conjers up as I cannot explain why such hideous, heinous, grotesque things are in my mind. I do things in my dreams that are totally against everything I believe in and I have learned to tell myself that they are just a dream. What do you listen to when going to sleep? I found that if I am listening to a television show that is off key, I can meld it into a dream that is horrible. I also can watch an innocent program on say ducks and then find that my dream incorporates the ducks and into me doing or observing horrible things happening to or surrounding the ducks. I have dreamt of everything from killing my children to, finding them murdered horribly to having sex with a woman and I am quite straight. I have learned that sadly we can only do so much to control our subconscious. I wish you peace. You are not alone.
  4. brainless_twit

    brainless_twit New Member

    I won't claim to have your exact experience, Lisa, but I do have nightmares that are extremely hard to shake once I wake up. Sometimes I have to make a huge effort to realize that what I dreamed didn't happen - one night I dreamed that my husband was planning to have me killed, and I was paranoid and jumpy for days after that. I knew intellectually that it wasn't real, but I kept thinking back to it and the extreme emotions I felt, and I couldn't let it go.

    I have also remembered dreams that I had long ago. Some of the more vivid ones have really stayed with me, and when I'm upset about something totally unrelated, I'll think back to them. I don't consider it a flashback for me, necessarily, but it's more of a persistent thought.

    Since I started Zoloft last week, I've noticed that I don't remember my dreams nearly as often. I take it about an hour before bed, and that seems to be working well for me even as far as other side effects are concerned. I hope my dreams go away for a long while so I don't have to deal with them any more!
  5. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

    Hello Lisa, yes I get flashbacks of nightmares and nightmares of flashbacks, if you know what I mean. I get really muddled up what's real and what's not sometimes too after a bad night. I really cant tell whats going on.

    I get scared of going to bed a lot. I dont want to let me head go. It scares me what my imagination comes up with. I think its a bit of a vicious cycle. Being traumatised by your trauma/nightmares/trauma.

    On a plus, I'm sleeping quite well at the moment and I know the best way of getting that is by going over my crash with the therapist. Its almost like doing that drains the energy of my nightmares, like it takes away their fuel.
  6. pandora

    pandora I'm a VIP

    Hi Lisa yep.thats me too. Just last night I dreamt that i was being pinned down by someone (I don't remember who) and my cousin, aunt and uncle were just standing there watching and no one was helping me. Much the same in reality of my past. it kind of took over today as my mood was not great ; in fact two of my friends commented on it. Welcome to PTSD, sometimes it does just take over and I know it sucks but hopefully we will both have more good days than bad days. So, I can totally relate.
    Take Care.
  7. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies portabella, BT, Claire and Pandora. The nightmares can get me down to a point where I feel so alone with it.

    Claire I'm really glad you relate to the flashbacks of nightmares and nightmares of flashbacks, I know exactly what you mean. It feels like the nightmares keep my stuck in the trauma state, so if I happen to have a good day, that will sure as hell ruin it.

    BT... totally understand the paranoia type feelings even though you know you shouldn't feel that way you do.

    Portabella... yeah I remember we have had conversations about our nightmares before!! The level of unspeakable-ness and horror from your nightmares sound like the types I get. I know what you mean by sometimes something innocent in the day turns up twisted and awful in a nightmare. That always shocks me more than anything, adn makes me feel that maybe I'm of a twisted mind to be creating these in my head. I don't watch any horror movies, and yet my mind can make movies that no other has made.

    TV before bed is a good point. Usually I spent the last couple of hours on the internet, as I have been told having the telly on before sleeping is not meant to be good for sleep and nightmares. However, as I have a fear of the dark, I do find that often I have to have the TV on until I get used to the darkness, particularly lately as I've moved to a new student house. But I never watch horror movies, or violent programs or news. In fact I rarely watch TV at all, but when I do it's usually a comedy. But I'm trying to break the habit of having the telly on at all before going to bed, in case an image of a trailer or something comes up and has upset me without me realising it. It's just not good when the TV helps reduce my panic with the light and my fear of dark, but it may not be helping my nightmares, but being terrified as I usually am beefore sleeping can't be helping either. I think I am going to have to invest in a better glow light.....

    Thanks again for the support and reminding me that I'm not alone. I needed it. I'm hopeful that perhaps when I've reduced some of my constant tension, anxiety and vigiliance that perhaps my sleep will calm too.
  8. Claire

    Claire Well-Known Member

    Hello Lisa, when things are bad I use a night light. I got it from Robert Dyas. Its a gentle glow and it turns off when it gets light. It didn't cost much. Its surprisingly comforting. Why dont you try that with music/radio or a tape of some sort? Its hard to control of whats on tv late at night. I think Cbeebies is probably all I could take when I have bad nights! The nightmares fed on anything. I also know alcohol makes my dreams worse.

    I hope it settles down for you.
  9. aliceccentric

    aliceccentric New Member

    I also have flashbacks of nightmares. They haunt me, but they seem to be so unrelated to anything in life. I recently had a nightmare wherein I was much younger, 18 or so, (I am 27 now, and my boyfriend, who was not yet my bf in the dream, was kidnapping young women, killing them, having intercourse with their bodies, and hiding the bodies in his room and yard. It was so vivid, I could even smell the corpses. Now I am having waking flashbacks of the dream, right down to "smelling" the awful odors of the nightmare to the point where it makes me gag.

    I don't know why this is happening or what to do about it, but it is affecting my daily life!
  10. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

    Have you ever tried analysing the nightmares (I get them too).

    Sometimes even the horrific ones with tv shows mixed in are related to your trauma.

    Instead of looking at the horrible content i.e. dead bodies or whatever it may be. Firstly think about the feelings you had during the dream not in your waking state... was it fear, was it power, gaining control, sorry, desperation whatever it may be might be an indicator of feelings you had in your trauma or wanting to regain something as a result of the trauma (i.e. being the non-victim).

    Also if you look at what the *thing* in the dream means to you i.e. if it's children, what do children represent? Fun, innocence, child-like. Put this with dead bodies or killing & it may be that you feel the trauma killed your sense of innocence.

    Nightmares can be truly awful, but I think if you are having so many maybe as horrible as it may be, you might have to look at them a bit more closely.
  11. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP Premium Member

    When I was first told I had PTSD about 18 months ago, I was having horrible nightmares and flashbacks. Nightmares about cutting my arms open and ripping out my veins, cutting my arms off, just terrible stuff. Along with the nightmares about being raped and hurt repeatedly. I don't have those anymore, talking about it helped tremendously. I was holding everything in and too afraid to tell anyone about my nightmares. We all have nightmares, it sucks but I realized that it is in my head and I can somewhat control my dreams so if i see someone attacking me or chasing me I stop and use any force I can to beat their ass.

    Once I picked myself up and started to fight for myself things got better, you have to work at it, kick PTSD in the ass and you will get better and the nightmares and flashbacks will go away.

  12. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡ Supporter Admin Sponsor $100+

    Hey Lisa

    I find nightmares bad enough let alone flashbacks as well. Thinking of you :) Nicolette
  13. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

    Claire... that sounds like a brilliant investment, I think when I get my student loan I will definitely invest in one. The soft music sounds like a good idea too, also because I have Tinnitus I have been told today, and this is what they suggested to help me get to sleep also.

    Aliceccentric... I'm sorry you have such trouble too. But you sound pretty much exactly the same as me, right down to the type of nightmare and daymares which I sometimes get too. I will make sure if I find anything useful in terms of beating nightmares like this, I will pass it on for others to try too.

    Awakening... good sound advice, thank you. Perhaps this could be something I could try in my trauma diary, or with my therapist... but I seem to have so many different things I'm working on with my therapist I don't think we will get through everything 10 months, so maybe I'll start trying to look at the nightmares in my trauma diary.

    Thanks for saying what you felt helped you overcome yours Monarch... I guess kicking PTSD up the bum would help a lot of things, not just nightmares... and I agree that not talking about things out of fear probably always makes the problem worse... I just wish all this stuff was so much easier, you know if I had just ONE problem with ONE symptom I think dealing with it would be so much easier... but all of the PTSD symptoms just has me overwhelmed and feeling unable to do anything. But I will get off off my pity pot... I know I have grab all this crap by the horns and take control of it.

    Thanks for the suggestions guys, and the thoughts Nicolette :) It's given me things to think about and things to try.
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