vivid nightmares everyday for a year

human007

Policy Enforcement
I've been having vivid nightmares every night for a year. They are so scary, vivid and often involved with people in my past traumatic experience. In my dreams i often meet people who have bullied me from kindergarten to highschool. In my dream, I often meet my abuser that already dead too. I often meet my abusers that are still alive too. The dreams mostly are repeated traumatic experiences i had in different forms. Or it could also involved murder and blood where i am is so helpless in the dream. Sometimes when the nightmares are too vivid, i woke up in the middle of the night having panic attack and extreme fear. I don't know what to do. I can't call anyone and i can't talk to anyone since everyone are sleeping. I feel so helpless and i don't know how to help myself. I can't afford therapist and we don't have free therapist in my country. I'm so scared that my body is shaking when i woke up. and when i try to fall back asleep, i will have another nightmare. I feel so hopeless. I don't know who is willing to hear my nightmares, especially knowing how brutal it is, i know sharing to people might help, but i really don't have anyone to talk to or anyone who would care to understand. How do you deal with nightmares?
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
I also have nightmares every night. Sometimes my entire REM sleep is taken up by nightmares. There are several recurring ones I've had since I was a child, the war one with different characters and different places at war, the post apocalyptic one that varies but always has the same theme. Then there is the house nightmare where I'm being driven from my house or just rooms in my house. I'm thinking of trying to write a book based on the recurrent nightmares.
 

Simply Simon

Sponsor
I’ve had insomnia, night terrors, more-vivid-than-life Nightmares, and just regular horrific nightmares (capital N here like a capital T Trauma for me—Nightmares are clearly and distinctively trauma-related) since my abuse ended around age seven-ish (I’m 30).

I’ve tried to stay away from this thread so others could weigh in, but I feel compelled to at least say I have spent so much time and energy on this that I have so many different techniques it’s actually nauseating when I try to write it all down. There’s just so much that I’ve tried that’s helpful, but it all takes commitment and effort I don’t often have unless there is no other choice (ambien helps, and prazosin is hit or miss).

Nutshell edition, things that have helped:

-Dream journaling
-Journaling for 10 minutes directly before bed
-Lucid dreaming and lucid dreaming visualization techniques to create a “way out” of recurring nightmares

I have so many recurring nightmares most sitcoms have fewer regular “sets” than I have in my dreams. Places, houses, eras... it’s ridiculous. I have at least a dozen Nightmare settings that are amalgamations of real places that are experienced in my dream as places they are not and do not resemble, but I still feel them and recognize them as those places or houses.

If your nightmares are recurring, especially if there are only a few permutations, visualization and lucid dreaming is far closer within your reach than most people who have never lucid dreamed. I was lucky that I learned to lucid dream as a kid and it was a sort of hobby, but it still takes me at least two weeks of visualization every night to shift something in my nightmares most of the time.

That said sometimes I shift it just enough to cure it. I had a particularly distressing recurring nightmare that I was in a house I (still) don’t recognize being chased by a man (I also don’t recognize) who is laughing at how feeble I am before he rapes me. There was a marble island in the kitchen he chased me around, and I pulled a huge chef’s knife out of the knife block on the countertop. I would go to stab him, but I couldn’t. I could feel the tip of the blade pushing into his belly, threatening him, but I couldn’t do it, the strength gone out of my arms and a feeling of both shame and fear engulfing me. He would laugh. I’d wake up, sometimes woken by my own screams. I started to focus on this nightmare when it wouldn’t go away for more than a week or two for months. I thought about stabbing him, envisioned it, what that would be like in real life, where my arms don’t suddenly feel like they’re underwater. Where I know I’m quick and do not hesitate when threatened.

The next time the dream came, I pulled the knife from the block and sank it into him before pulling it out and going in again and again. He didn’t laugh. There was blood everywhere. I woke up at peace. It never came back.

That’s only one example. I’ve banished three or four now that way... just enough of a shift to make that difference. To realize it’s that bastard again, that it’s that damned dream, and remember my true power for just a moment without panicking. It’s been more effective than anything except a total lifestyle management regimen or a shitload of sedatives, especially ambien (which I’m lucky I do well with).
 

Friday

Moderator
How do you deal with nightmares?
Mostly by stripping off my first set of sheets*, dropping them off in the laundry room, stepping into the shower to rinse the stink of fear / sweat / oil / salt off for 20 or 30 seconds, and climbing back into bed.

* I usually triple sheet my bed :
- Mattress protector + sheet,
- Mattress protector + sheet,
- Mattress protector + sheet.
That way I always have a clean/dry set of sheets ready to go. <<< It’s a trick I learned when my kiddo was potty training. Total elapsed time? Under 2 minutes >>> If I’m blasting awake more than 3x a night? I “just” add more sheets/protector combos. But that’s a rarity for me. If I’m waking up that often I usually kick over into 15min-90min of sleep a couple/few times a day, rather than a nice long 4 hour block.
 

internal

Sponsor
i get sleep paralysis (which is often real scary-i've had people chop my limbs off and things). but often for those ones i just see really big and weird objects that don't belong where i am. and it frightens me for some reason. even though in real life i would not care. and night terrors and things. i sleepwalk and sleeptalk too. i've carried full conversetions with my husband that he has not realized i am asleep.

i am often "half awake" and "half asleep" even when i am not dreaming. the slightest sound i am jolted awake and completely alert. i've woke up: making ramen. in the bathroom. on the lawn. in the closet covered in blankets... one time i woke up at work! 🤪 but the night mares/terrors which unfortunetely include elements of my traumas.

what works for me is probably distinct. because my issues are probably not ptsd related. it just so happens that i do dream a lot about my trauma. (whereas night terrors are destinct and i usually don't remember any thing and they usually cause more distress to my family than to me!)

the best thing i've learned to do is recognize when i am asleep. if i am dreaming. and that can happen as long as it isn't a night terror. you can gain awareness. and wake yourself up. you actually don't even need to go as far. as changing what is happening in the dream. knowing that you are asleep and then forcibly waking your self up. is much faster and easier. you probably will deal with the nightmare again. as it isn't dealing with it. but that's what i do when i cannot be fussed.

i can do this as well as i can normally control my behavior. and by thinking the same things over and over again. i can effect what the dream is doing. but that takes effort. and i want an immediate solution. so i wake my self up. because the effort of doing that is not there. when i am dreaming about my dad going on a meth binge. and i am restrained and terrified.

those happened f*cking constantly in may and june. so i just started waking my self up. usually with clapping or banging on something. or stomping your foot or some other action. for me clapping is what works. that's hard and it takes a lot of work. if you don't actually have any dream awareness. getting it is difficult. but it is possible and people do it all the time. and it's the single most, simplest, thing you can learn to do. when you're like that. to wake your self up.

if it's a night terror this is different. if you remember what's happened then it isn't. but if you're thrashing around and screaming and being really aggresseve, that is a problem for the people around you. when that happens to me i usually cannot be roused. and if you yell at me or try a lot it will make it worse. because my brain isn't f*cking on.

so waking your self up will work. if it's a nightmare or a sleep paralysis episode. if you're on other medicines that can cause adult night terrors or other parasomnias then you are looking at a different problem. because i am so easily aroused it often does not take long for me to be woke up any way. if that may help for you to have any one around. that can wake you up quickly.

the sooner i am pulled awake from it the better things are. some times i only have one or two a night. some nights i'm totally fine! for years i was fine. and usually i didn't have nightmares. (but i did have night terrors and sleepwalking). the other thing i do is to turn on all the lights. and get a dry blanket. and maybe play some game on my phone. or talk to my spouse.
 

human007

Policy Enforcement
Thank you everyone for the reply, the story and the suggestion. I really appreciate it. I hope everyone having a good day :)
 
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