Nightmares - How To Cope With Them

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I was just wondering how others cope with nightmares. I'm so burnt out and overwhelmed right now with work and other crises, I'm feeling, well, overwhelmed! Last night I dreamed that my husband died. It was horrible. Then there were more bad dreams. This is the third night in a row this week that I've had bad nightmares. I have nightmares probably on average 4-5 nights a week. It seems like the only nights I don't have nightmares are nights in which I have a few drinks. But that is no solution, meaning I don't want to drink to excess in order to avoid nightmares! Yet, that's what I've been doing lately. I don't want to go onto another drug. I'm already taking Cymbalta, and that's already making me so tired all the time, I don't want to take anything else. If anyone has any ideas, I'd really like to hear them. Thanks in advance.
Sorry about the nightmares. Sleep anxiety doesn't or hasn't ever happened to me but the drinking as you have said is not the answer. Feel okay to get to your doctor and tell them that you are having nightmares and only drinking makes it better. Also tell them that your medication is making you too tired...perhaps it is causing your nightmares too. Get on that. If more than 3 days with any uncomfortable situation persists...where it is dominat in its presentation, then call your doctor and see if a change can be made. That is really the best advice I got after my stay in the hospital. This is major because I went for one year suffering in and out with suicidal thoughts. Don't wait. Call your doctor and be honest. They can't help if they don't know what is going on. And don't think they can read your mind either. Honestly, no one can read anyones mind. Not even a psychic. Which if you were ever wondering...they aren't really a psychic if they say they can. A little laugh
I can relate hodge, as I have nightmares constantly, every night actually, since my trauma occurred. I've sort of become accustomed to them in a strange way. When I'm really bothered by them I will write about them in my paper journal and/or draw them. Like you, the only time I haven't had them is when I've been stoned on something, or when I've taken benzodiazepines like valium.

I'm not on any medications for PTSD at the moment, and not self-medicating either. I've tried many different natural methods to relieve myself of the nightmares. However, I've come to the conclusion that the only way I'm going to get rid of my nightmares permanently is to heal from my trauma. And I have noticed a bit of improvement actually, since I began working on myself 6 months ago.
Thanks for your thoughtful advice, Patty. I did tell my doctor about all this about a week and a half ago. The next thing to try will be to decrease my dose of Cymbalta. But, only three days? I'm really curious, because I was told that it can take up to two or three weeks for an antidepressant to take full effect. I'd like to understand why I've been told to wait at least two weeks before trying something else.

I think what you say, Batgirl, makes sense, too. Maybe there's no getting around the nightmares until I've done more healing. I've had plenty of nights where I drag myself out of bed to journal about them. I have sort of trained myself to wake up during a nightmare. The thing is, when I go back to sleep, it almost always continues. I know the nightmares are yielding insights for me. I just wish they didn't haunt me so much the next day. It interferes with my ability to concentrate on work (not to mention quality and amount of sleep). There is just so much time I can devote to journaling before I have to try to switch gears to earning a living! What natural methods have you tried, Batgirl? Thanks.
Hodge, it must be difficult, having to go to work the next day. I honestly don't know what that's like, as I've never had a real 9 to 5 type job. I just got a job that I start mid-April, but I will be working from home, so it won't be so difficult for me. I've said before on the forum that I don't know how many of you are able to hold down a job at all. I would not be able to manage it.

My nightmares continue as well, I have them also during naps, and I often think about them during the day. Apparently gabapentin (neurontin) helps some people with nightmares, but I didn't want to try it. I've had bad experiences with drugs in general so I'm trying to concentrate on my trauma healing as a means to relieve the nightmares.

Natural methods I've tried: Rockrose, a traditional flower remedy; Calming Essence; Aurum and Arsenicum; having a carbohydrate snack before bed (supposed to aid digestion); mental imagery before going to sleep; turning on a bright light for a few minutes after awaking from the nightmare (read somewhere this was supposed to help); meditation; incense; having a dream catcher.... really, you name it, I've tried it. That's why I've kind of given up at this point and decided to concentrate on healing my trauma instead.
Hodge, I too have nightmares. They come and they go in my life these days. They use to be regularly, just like yours are now. Lately they have returned regularly, and I trust it is for the time being. I trust they will go away again, bc they have for mo.'s to yrs. in my past. I figure the nightmares are here again, bc I'm looking at my trauma, again.

My suggestions are to talk about them sometimes, to someone who will listen.

Journaling never really helped me much, (that's just me), bc I still always felt completed left alone with it, it would still take it's toll and twice the toll bc the precious time writing it out spent, and there would be so many that it would all come to an end as I just couldn't keep up. So what I do yrs. later which is now is that I talk about them sometimes, I may write about the worst or perhaps just my identification with it, and for the most part, I don't even expend an ounce of my energy trying to make them stop. Rather, I accept them, as part of a process, live with them and let them run their course. They frightened me so much more, when I objected to them, or fought within myself bc of them, and also both when I rejected help and was denied any trauma healing process.

My process at times, has not always been one of healing.

I just woke up from a nightmare, one of several this wk., the theme of one very bad one was: conjecture was that I was deficient in some body chemical that allowed me to stay only partially awake for min.', turning to moments at a time and then I would fall back to sleep, and sometimes fall down, right there in public. I had spent all day trying to get out of this place of business only to be mistaken in the parking lot by 4 young men as a homeless person and stood there unable to move, with my head twisted down in a frozen state, while they spat in my face.

The one I just woke from included me lying on the floor of a deli, alert, only able to move my eyes, with all phys. strength and dextrity and will to live gone from me, watching the dew drops and ants near the glass. And, an abuser of mine standing tall above me watching me, first with cluelessness, then disgust, then self-pity for herself, all while refusing to help.

huh....Hodge, if you've read this far, ..want you to know I relate to nightmares, if you haven't, ..want you to know I understand. I'm somewhat of a long-winded person at times. (Lots of laughs).......

Bless you and take care Hodge,

......sincerely goingonhope
Oh, goingonhope, these sound like awful nightmares. I'm so sorry you suffer this way, too. Thank you for helping me not feel alone in this. In the past, I would have periods of time of intense nightmares, then they'd go away. I still have to figure out why this was.

I hope you have someone now whom you can talk to about these nightmares. I can talk to my husband and my therapist. Doesn't chase away the ghosts, though. I guess it's just part of the process.

Thanks for sharing what you've used. I've tried yoga, warm baths. I always have a snack before bed because I've been borderline diabetic (type 1) since I was a little kid. I've never heard of Aurum and Arsenicum. Or the medicine you mentioned, though I may run it by my doctor.

I've started to think about this before I go to sleep at night and give myself some positive self-talk, i.e., okay, if you have a nightmare, try to wake up, then try to get back to sleep, so you can function the next day. I also am trying to think positively about work and other goals I have for the next day and say to myself that I'm going to get the best sleep I can, then work on achieving those goals.

I work at home, too. I've also had jobs where I had to go to an office. Working at home is definitely easier than having to deal with deciding what to wear, then dealing with traffic and parking to get to an office every day. So I think you should do fine. Good luck, and thanks again.
Nightmares that never seem to end...

The only thing that's ever helped me to not have nightmares is taking Ambien. Yeah, I know, not the best solution. I'm not taking them now and haven't for several years, but I really miss them.

I don't drink or otherwise medicate myself (except for lamictal and an occasional xanax), but am always, and I mean ALWAYS, wishing I had something to make it all go away.

I'm sorry this is not helpful, but I really empathize with you.
Moki, I thank you for your empathy. I'm really leery of Ambien given the news reports of some people doing weird stuff when they should be asleep. Though I suppose it doesn't have the same affect on everyone. I guess I'll just keep on the way I am. So, I take it that the lamictal and xanax don't help with the nightmares? But do they help with other stuff? What do they help with?

Take care.
hi hodge,
the lamictal is the mood stabilizer that they put me on to control my rage and depression when everything went to hell last september. So finally 250 mg of lamictal was where I finally got some relief from the depression. I still feel the anger, but it's usually a result of spikes of anxiety that go on too long and turn into anger. That's what the occasional xanax is for.

When I start to get all shaky inside and my heart starts racing and/or i'm around my husband too much (he's a good guy at the wrong end of my ptsd), I take a low dose of xanax and it takes the edge off. it's a benzo of course.

I'm going to the med dr. tomorrow and I think I will need to go on some type of daily anti-anxiety med, if I want to save my marriage. Couples counseling is just almost impossible with me having these reactions to my husband and he is loving me less everyday because he is hurting so much since I can't stand to be around him. Sounds great, huh.

Maybe getting my anxiety level down a bit will hellp with the nightmares. Thank you for writing back. It really means a lot to me to exchange stories with you and others in this forum. Keeps me sane.
Hi Moki,

How did things go with your doctor today? Thanks for explaining about the different meds. It means a lot to me, too, to know other people know what I'm talking about.

I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time with your marriage. I have had moments where my husband did or said something that triggered me so badly that I lashed out. I would come back to reality, eventually, and realize that whatever he said or did was way more about me and my past than about where he and I were now. Please know that I'm not saying that by way of any presumptions whatsoever about your situation, just that I know that this stuff can really put a strain on a marriage and am just trying to relate how it has affected our marriage. I guess that's all I know to say about this for now.

Anyway, I hope good things came of your doctor's appointment today. Thanks for responding and take care.
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