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  1. #1

    Question Nightmares: How Do You Cope? (Also: A Lack of Normal Dreams?)

    Does anyone else here have reoccurring PTSD-related nightmares? I was diagnosed with PTSD in late 2009 and started experiencing nightmares in 2008. I relive my trauma and scenes similar to my trauma almost nightly, but thankfully the intensity of the nightmares isn't what it used to be when the trauma was still fresh, but once or twice a week I'll have a bad nightmare that really ruins my day.

    What's frustrating is that I otherwise don't dream anymore, so it's either nightmares or nothing. Or, I dream, but I don't remember my dream, which may be a good thing if I'm mostly just having nightmares when I am aware of what's going on.

    I had one therapist suggest trying to induce lucid dreaming, does anyone have any experience with that, or any other coping mechanisms in general? I've never really had a doctor give me a lot of good advice about my nightmares, unfortunately.

    Edit: Wanted to add more info that I thought might be relevant. My nightmares started before I started medication, leveled out to where they are now (persistent but not life-ruining like they were in 2009-2016), got worse when I first started taking Wellbutrin/Luvox (and when I increased my dosages), but then leveled back out again. So, medication definitely did make my nightmares worse, but only temporarily.
    Last edited by absol; 10-04-19 at 23:06.
    i must not fear, fear is the mind-killer
    fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration
    i will face my fear
    i will permit it to pass over me and through me
    and when it has gone past i will turn the inner eye to see its path
    where the fear has gone there will be nothing
    only i will remain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Nightmares: How Do You Cope? (Also: A Lack of Normal Dreams?)

    Hiya Absol,

    I have trauma related nightmares frequently, especially when I'm going through a hard time. I've been having a lot lately and this morning my therapist said that this means that in some way the trauma is being processed, which is a good thing. I don't really have any advice re: how I deal with them because I haven't found the way yet myself (that doesn't mean there isn't one)

    I tend to have a nightmare and then wake up with the feeling of having a stone in my stomach, this then stays with me through the day and flashbacks increase. My therapist said that the stone feeling is anxiety and my body is reacting the way that it did have back when the trauma was happening. She said to deal with this I should do some grounding techniques to stay in the moment. I've not tried this yet (I've only used grounding for dissociation) but I will and will report back. I hope that makes sense and that it might help x
    If you can't handle me, that makes two of us.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Nightmares: How Do You Cope? (Also: A Lack of Normal Dreams?)

    Also I did used to practice lucid dreaming!

    Achieving a lucid dream I can see would be an easy way to negate the nightmare and might even bring closure in a way. However, in order to increase my dream recall I begun writing a dream diary. This worked but unfortunately means that both dreams and nightmares are vivid and I wasn't achieving full lucidity that often.

    I've not tried it as a way to deal with nightmares, so it may work differently. X
    If you can't handle me, that makes two of us.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016

    Re: Nightmares: How Do You Cope? (Also: A Lack of Normal Dreams?)

    Sleep disturbance/nightmares is my number 1 symptom of PTSD, and for the most part, I'm symptom free most of the time. When I have a really bad one, I try (if time allows) to write it out, and throw the paper away, therefore trying to get rid of it as much as possible so I can move on with my day. I've also tried to practice lucid dreaming, with a few successes. I'm by no means a master of the technique yet.

    Hang in there.
    I'm still a work in progress.
    Currently working on: World Domination

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Re: Nightmares: How Do You Cope? (Also: A Lack of Normal Dreams?)

    Maybe some imagery would help?
    Like I used to have specific things ready, so if I realised the dream was bad I'd use a remote control that would "change the channel" of my dream or unicorns would come save me (i was 7) and I'd have a unicorn adventure instead or something like that. But those images were in my mind when I was awake too, i guess before o went to sleep I'd tell myself it would be okay because of anything bad happened in my dream I'd summon unicorns. It sounds so silly but it usually worked!
    I'd guess similar techniques could work for an adult, just perhaps with less unicorns.
    Raised by wolves and other beasts.

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