Struggling to sleep in the summer.

Gatsu

New Here
Besides from when I was very young I have always lived in the state of Oklahoma (rough already I know), in 2013 I lived in a town called Moore. That year in May there was a massive tornado that tore through my town and killed more than a few people. I was at football practice at the time and I remember how quickly the sky turned this sickening green color, like a lens had passed over where I was standing on the practice field. I remember my coach telling us to get changed in the locker room and how quickly that turned into sprinting for what felt like our lives when the sirens began to blare out that horrible noise that makes me uneasy every Saturday. I vividly remember seeing it, the sky looked like it had been torn from the ground up, a monolithic pyramid inverted with flashes of light near the tip, power flashes from where it was destroying the homes of people I saw everyday. The absolute fear of something I could nothing about. A literal force of nature. I still see it every week when I try to sleep on the weekends, I've developed a nasty habit of staying up for days to crash out during the weekend. There have been more tornados since then, some even getting close to where I lived. That fear returns every time and I have wretched flashbacks of that day and I spiral into panic attacks hiding myself in the pantry with all my cats and dogs (3 of each). I hate that feeling so much. I hate feeling it so often. I have no idea what to do when it's something I have to deal with so regularly. It's projected to rain next week and I already feel sick to my stomach. The impulse to keep the weather channel open at all times even during a light rain. I don't know how to even approach this problem.
 

bellbird

MyPTSD Pro
That sounds really rough, I'm sorry @Gatsu .

I don't know how to even approach this problem.
Do you happen to be working with a therapist? Reprocessing that event could help a lot, as it sounds like your intrusions are very vivid. A lot of us here are seeing therapists who use EMDR for that purpose.

Sleep is a big one, it's so fundamental to functioning, but PTSD can really play havoc there. I take prazosin which doesn't stop my nightmares, but helps with remembering them less. In the past when I was having a lot of trouble settling for sleep, I was prescribed a drowsy antihistamine called promethazine (allersoothe). It helped me a lot. For non-medicine approaches, a general sleep hygiene routine can be helpful.

Sounds also like you might benefit from using grounding strategies too. Different people prefer different ones. The idea is to practice them regularly, almost like working out a muscle, rather than only in symptomatic moments. They can help to downregulate emotional responses and centre us in the here and now where we are safe and the trauma isn't happening anymore.
Some different variations include
*5 senses: look around your space and name 5 things you can see, 4 you can hear, 3 you can feel, 2 you can smell, 1 you can see
*Variation of 5 senses using just sight: describe in as much detail as you can 5 objects that you can see
*Tactile objects: maybe an object carried in your pocket that reminds you where you are, trace your fingers over the edges, does it feel smooth, rough, cool, warm, etc
*Setting up your home environment with comforting sensory cues of being in the present
*Four elements (my current go-to): [earth] ground into the floor beneath you - feel your feet pressing into the floor, what can you hear in your surroundings [water] create saliva in your mouth (apparently this can help with activating the parasympathetic/rest and digest nervous system), [air] take 5 slow and deep breaths, [fire] fire up your imagination and go to a place in your imagination that brings you comfort.

If you search grounding strategies on this site I'm sure you'll find plenty others too.

This place helps many. Hope you find the same.

Most of us here have PTSD, but we're all different too. As we often say: take what helps and leave the rest. I understand how awful these symptoms can be. Hope you find some respite soon.
 
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Gatsu

New Here
That sounds really rough, I'm sorry @Gatsu .


Do you happen to be working with a therapist? Reprocessing that event could help a lot, as it sounds like your intrusions are very vivid. A lot of us here are seeing therapists who use EMDR for that purpose.

Sleep is a big one, it's so fundamental to functioning, but PTSD can really play havoc there. I take prazosin which doesn't stop my nightmares, but helps with remembering them less. In the past when I was having a lot of trouble settling for sleep, I was prescribed a drowsy antihistamine called promethazine (allersoothe). It helped me a lot. For non-medicine approaches, a general sleep hygiene routine can be helpful.

Sounds also like you might benefit from using grounding strategies too. Different people prefer different ones. The idea is to practice them regularly, almost like working out a muscle, rather than only in symptomatic moments. They can help to downregulate emotional responses and centre us in the here and now where we are safe and the trauma isn't happening anymore.
Some different variations include
*5 senses: look around your space and name 5 things you can see, 4 you can hear, 3 you can feel, 2 you can smell, 1 you can see
*Variation of 5 senses using just sight: describe in as much detail as you can 5 objects that you can see
*Tactile objects: maybe an object carried in your pocket that reminds you where you are, trace your fingers over the edges, does it feel smooth, rough, cool, warm, etc
*Setting up your home environment with comforting sensory cues of being in the present
*Four elements (my current go-to): [earth] ground into the floor beneath you - feel your feet pressing into the floor, what can you hear in your surroundings [water] create saliva in your mouth (apparently this can help with activating the parasympathetic/rest and digest nervous system), [air] take 5 slow and deep breaths, [fire] fire up your imagination and go to a place in your imagination that brings you comfort.

If you search grounding strategies on this site I'm sure you'll find plenty others too.

This place helps many. Hope you find the same.

Most of us here have PTSD, but we're all different too. As we often say: take what helps and leave the rest. I understand how awful these symptoms can be. Hope you find some respite soon.
The insight here is incredible, thank you for offering so much information. I don't currently work and I don't have insurance so finding a therapist is really hard, I'm native so I have my tribe but there are horror stories about Native healthcare for a reason. My next appointment to start the process of seeing a therapist is in December and I highly doubt they are able to keep a trauma therapist on staff, but I can always hope. I knew the five senses one but I absolutely love the idea of the four elements. Thank you so much again. :)
 

Friday

Moderator
I don't know how to even approach this problem.
1. I have to agree, EMDR would probably be brilliant for you.

In the interim?

2. STRESS CUP! 😁 Yes. I just did that in shouty capitals, happy hey-hey shouts 😁…but it is hands down the most immediately -and long term- useful skill set I have ever come across. The ptsd cup explanation

3. Have you ever (or ever considered) taking some classes in meteorology or volunteering with Disaster Response?

^^^ Yes, I may be biased, as I’ve worked in SAR & Disaster Response off and on for decades, but I ALSO recommend advanced driving courses (tactical, stunt, rally, etc.) to b people with MVAs (motor vehicle accidents), self defence &/or martial arts to people with assault trauma, and the like. It’s something I do, and have done, with aspects of my own trauma-history… because when it’s possible (and it’s not, always) the self-confidence & reconceptualising is… I don’t quit have the words to really describe it. Exponentially balancing? It’s not exposure therapy (although it’s possible to combine the two, I wouldn’t start there unless I had to), it doesn’t deal with / process the trauma itself. Instead? It’s like a counterweight, or a source of strength. The trauma itself will still need processing, and PTSD will still need stress management and all the rest of it, but the abject helplessness -and many other aspects that make the trauma itself so much harder to deal with- takes a knee to the nuts. 😉

Again, it’s not always possible off the bat, but since you said you’re already tuned into the NWS all the durn time? And fighting to never be off your guard by things like sleeping? You sound like you’re instinctively already halfway there.
 

Gatsu

New Here
1. I have to agree, EMDR would probably be brilliant for you.

In the interim?

2. STRESS CUP! 😁 Yes. I just did that in shouty capitals, happy hey-hey shouts 😁…but it is hands down the most immediately -and long term- useful skill set I have ever come across. The ptsd cup explanation

3. Have you ever (or ever considered) taking some classes in meteorology or volunteering with Disaster Response?

^^^ Yes, I may be biased, as I’ve worked in SAR & Disaster Response off and on for decades, but I ALSO recommend advanced driving courses (tactical, stunt, rally, etc.) to b people with MVAs (motor vehicle accidents), self defence &/or martial arts to people with assault trauma, and the like. It’s something I do, and have done, with aspects of my own trauma-history… because when it’s possible (and it’s not, always) the self-confidence & reconceptualising is… I don’t quit have the words to really describe it. Exponentially balancing? It’s not exposure therapy (although it’s possible to combine the two, I wouldn’t start there unless I had to), it doesn’t deal with / process the trauma itself. Instead? It’s like a counterweight, or a source of strength. The trauma itself will still need processing, and PTSD will still need stress management and all the rest of it, but the abject helplessness -and many other aspects that make the trauma itself so much harder to deal with- takes a knee to the nuts. 😉

Again, it’s not always possible off the bat, but since you said you’re already tuned into the NWS all the durn time? And fighting to never be off your guard by things like sleeping? You sound like you’re instinctively already halfway there.
In response to 1.) I've heard of EMDR before, my S/O attends sessions of it regularly. I've never had a trauma therapist out of fear that my parents would somehow find out and I would face consequences. It's led to a lot of T-hopping and I've never been comfortable/confident enough to seek out and really go after consistent professional help. Encouragement from my S/O has been changing that for some time now but it's definitely a journey I'm still far from completing.

In response to 2.) after skimming I think of heard of something similar to this before, I've always been utterly terrible at self-care so I've never really done anything like this forum or a specific technique before, I'm a very physical person ( which when your as big as me((6'3" 330)) can be problematic) and I've always taken the "Mind over Body approach to things in the sense that if I'm not having any physical symptoms I'm "fine". I'm also led to wonder that if growing up as the son of a combat veteran, I have some variation of the lid and button concept, it's a familiar feeling; bottling everything up until it explodes out all at once and I end up in some sort of institution.

In response to 3.) I have actually, the NWS is easily within 20-30 miles of my current home and OU is renowned (I've heard haven't confirmed myself) for its meteorology program. But, that being said, I inherited a passion for all things computer from my late Uncle and I've always dreamed of being some hotshot programmer or developer. Funnily enough I actually used to drive rally when I was in my late teens to very early 20's so that brought back some good memories + good job past me!

In response to kindness, I hope to repay it in time when I can, I'm already blown away by the sincerity and genuine kindness here and I hope to pile all I can onto the other people here. In advance of everything, thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart <3
 
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