C-PTSD, PTSD & Nightmares

When you first learn that you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you will hear about having nightmares, but very little has been discussed about what kind of nightmares.


When I first realized I had C-PTSD in 2012, I read everything I could find on the disorder, & kept seeing nightmares on the list of symptoms.  I assumed it would be dreams repeating traumatic events.  Unpleasant, for sure, but I lived through the real thing so I figured I could handle the nightmares.


Not even close!


I have had nightmares ever since I can remember, but the frequency has increased greatly since 2012.  And, of the many nightmares, very few were actually reliving the trauma.  Instead, many were very strange, such as having my car stolen then totaled, finding a little child I needed to protect or other odd subject matter.  I honestly wondered what was wrong with me.  How could I have such awful & strange dreams yet nothing of the trauma I have been through?  It seemed completely bizarre to me.


Recently I realized something.. these dreams may not be specifically about trauma, but they share similar emotions to traumatic experiences I have had.  The nightmares often leave me feeling powerless, abused, unloved (even hated), helpless & more.


I’ve heard a few people say their nightmares are much like mine- not about traumatic events, but about events that trigger similar emotions.


I believe this means such nightmares must be a normal part of having C-PTSD or PTSD.


If you too are having odd, unsettling nightmares, then know you aren’t alone.  Nightmares are part of PTSD & C-PTSD, unfortunately.


As disturbing as they are, they may be able to help you.  Dreams & nightmares alike have meanings.  They’re never random, even though they feel that way.


Dreams can show you areas you need healing in or areas where you have healed well.  They can show you things you weren’t aware of or you need to be aware of.  They also can simply help you because your brain is  processing some information.  The brain processes information every single moment, even when you’re asleep.


If you want to understand your dreams & nightmares, prayer is the best place to start.  Ask God to help you to understand them & learn what you need to know from them.


A good dream dictionary is a helpful tool too.  I use a website (there are many to choose from).  They can help you to see what each item in your dream represents, which can make it easier to interpret them.


It’s also a good idea to keep track of your dreams.  Write them down & look them over from time to time.  That can help encourage you when you see how far you’ve come.  It also can help to remind you of things you need to deal with.


Personally I write down my dreams & nightmares, plus what I find the meaning of everything I can remember in them.  Colors, objects, people, feelings.  Once it’s all written down, I ask God to help me to understand what the dream or nightmare meant.  It’s proven to be quite helpful to me many times.  It could benefit you as well


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

18 responses to “C-PTSD, PTSD & Nightmares

  1. You dream in color? Amazing! I’ve never dreamed in color. I wonder what it must be like.


    • Never?? Wow! My husband said he almost always dreams in black & white too.

      My dreams are always very vivid & realistic, so honestly I feel like I live whatever I dream about. If I dreamed of running a race, I’d wake up physically tired, for example. It’s so strange!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela

    I used to dream about losing one of my children or finding, looking after and trying to return someone else’s child. Perhaps it’s to do with wanting to protect children from going through what we’ve been through. It took me a few days to work out why, besides trying to get a child back to his parents in one of these dreams, I was also having a conversation with a cat. Then I remembered I’d been watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch with my daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey! I have PTSD as well, and I was recently prescribed Prazosin for the nightmares. It’s a blood pressure medication, but it’s been found to stop nightmares in people with PTSD. It worked for me, so I thought I’d mention it 🙂


  4. Thanks, the tip about writing down the nightmares is really good. I have been struggling with similar nightmares. I drew some cartoons about having them that you might relate to. You can find them in my most recent blog post if you are interested http://www.luthienthegreen.wordpress.com . I hope you have had fewer dreams like that recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting concept… One of my worst nightmares (repeating dream) is of my children being dragged under a semi, and I wake up screaming in a panic. The actual PTSD was them witnessing their father being shot. Strange how the brain works.


    • That is horrible! I’m so sorry to hear that happened!

      It is strange how the brain works. I’m glad to learn about the nightmares though.. all my life I’ve had really bizarre ones. It was cool to learn what they were about. Prior, I frequently wondered what was wrong with me, & if I was insane.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeannette_ptsd.bipolar

    I too have very very similar dreams. I’m always trying to save someone. Or I have nasty morbid dreams.


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