People giving me a blank state when I tell them I have nightmares

snakedoctor

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Hey, new to the conversation here and site...

I've been having a few more nightmares lately. I think the actual hardest part for me is seeing most people have sort of a blank stare when I tell them I struggle with nightmares as a part of my PTSD. They just don't get it. I think they think I'm talking about your garden-variety nightmare most people have. Not the ones we have with such horrific imagery you can't shake for a while and it's impossible to talk about and they shake you from sleep into full body alert. For me my heart will be going a mile a minute and it's like everything is on fire. Sometimes I wake up crying or shaking. I grew up around a lot of violence and abandonment and my dreams are about just that, violence and abandonment. Usually having to watch something horrific happening to someone or worse someone I know, or even a pet.

I used to take Prazosin for my nightmares but as I started getting better years ago the side effects got a little too much...

Anyone else have that experience of people acting weird or not understanding what it means to have PTSD nightmares?
 
I can relate. Although my nightmares rarely have visuals - just an intense feelings of terror that wakes me up with a jolt and continue after I wake up. I have a strange 'waking nightmares' that I have to pull myself out of, they are terrifying but now I understand them I can deal with them better. When I have said this to people and I get 'the look". It is the same look I have had for as long as I remember - the one people give you when you say something that gives away 'the oddness' of your situation/upbringing. The look that is a giant clue that all has not been ok for you. I read it as a mixture of confusion and sadness, maybe a touch of pity? But it's like a massive space opens up between us and I think 'Oh shit... I said something stupid again!'

I think that people don't understand it because it's not their lived experience. I am glad for them that it isn't, and just try to find the right place for me to talk about it., where I know it will be greeted with empathy and care. My therapist and my husband is that place for me. I hope this helps.
 
From my experience I have struggled with these faces regarding PTSD symptoms. There probably is a lack of understanding with most people. Yet most people do care.

Watching the wheels turn as they try to meanwhile appear empathetic is tough for me to watch. Something seems ungenuine.

I am just recently trying to focus on the compasionate part. It's not an easy change.

A little thing i try to picture, in reflection,(Never enough time in real time.) I have just picked up a baby and the baby starts to cry. I go to my go to baby soothing faces/sounds. Not working baby still crying. I don't loose compasion for baby but my faces will start changing as I am trying to figure out what I did or how to fix.

May or may not be relevant to what you see.
 
I don’t talk to people about my PTSD or symptoms, so when people experience me having them? They generally fall into 2 groups; those who know what they’re seeing, and those who fill in the blank with something they’re familiar with.
 
I don’t talk to people about my PTSD or symptoms, so when people experience me having them? They generally fall into 2 groups; those who know what they’re seeing, and those who fill in the blank with something they’re familiar with.
Yup. when it comes to that stuff - they will never experience it so they use what they know is a nightmare to judge what nightmare is, when in our books their nightmare is a bit of a bad dream. There is one person I tell about that, and she's the one who had spare sheets and blankets on hand so she could get back to sleep after I soaked the bed with sweat.....
 
Wow! This was so helpful for me! That silent/blank stare has become a trigger for me. I am unable to make any sense of it. I immediately think that I’ve done something terribly wrong/bad and just want to disappear/hide… Here, I’ve become vulnerable/trust and then a stare that I am unable to read or figure out, right? It is unpredictable/scary. It helps knowing that this isn’t unusual! Which helps me understand it maynot be ME at all, just possibly someone not knowing how to respond! I am so silly to not “get” this sooner! Thank you, everyone!
 
Wow! This was so helpful for me! That silent/blank stare has become a trigger for me. I am unable to make any sense of it. I immediately think that I’ve done something terribly wrong/bad and
Which helps me understand it maynot be ME at all, just possibly someone not knowing how to respond! I am so silly to not “get” this sooner! Thank you, everyone!
That's the best description of it 'silent/blank'. It's an eerily quiet few moments for sure. Also, you are not silly at all for taking time to process it- I have vivid memories of this happening when I was about 10 years old in school - and only figured it out when I was 45!
 
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hello snakedoctor. welcome to the forum.

i love the mystery of dreams, in general, the good, the bad and the ugly, and talk about them whenever possible. it's easier for me to find people who want to talk about multi-lingual grammar. i love linguistics almost as much as i love dreams. if i am the one who brings up either subject, blank stares are nearly guaranteed. my challenge is changing the subject before the blank stares morph into glazed eyes. for whatever reason, not too many people like to talk about dreams of any stripe. i find livelier conversation talking about bowel movements.
 
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