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A Little About Nightmares

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you know about nightmares.  You have them so often, they aren’t a surprise.  They’re just a way of life.  Yet, little is mentioned about the nightmares.


I’d always had frequent nightmares, but it got much worse in 2012 which is when I realized I had C-PTSD.  I began having several almost every night, which of course led to a lot of fatigue.  The nightmares also became even more vivid than usual, which is saying something since I’ve always had very vivid dreams.  They became so vivid in fact, that often I would wake up feeling as if I’d just done whatever I did in the dream.  If I dreamed I ran a marathon, for example, I woke up physically tired & achy.


After learning about C-PTSD, I assumed the nightmares would be about reliving traumatic events, which does happen, but only rarely.  Most of my nightmares are about strange things- being an adult yet having to repeat high school & relying on my mother to take me rather than driving my own car; while repeating high school as an adult, being unable to find or remember the combination to my locker; my car being stolen &/or totaled; my husband mocking me when I was obviously upset or rejecting me somehow; or someone letting my cats outside & they ran away.  Strange stuff!  I finally asked God about it after waking up for yet one more bizarre nightmare.  What He shared made a lot of sense & I think it will if you too suffer with odd nightmares like I do.


The brain constantly processes information, whether the information is good, bad or indifferent.  Our dreams are often a result of that processing, because the brain doesn’t take breaks.  Sometimes we don’t remember dreams because they weren’t important- the brain simply processed something unimportant.  Other times, it tries to make sense of horrible things that have happened, which is where nightmares come into it.  Sometimes the brain relives those awful, traumatic events in an attempt to understand it, but not always.  Sometimes nightmares look as if they have nothing to do with traumatic events on the surface, yet they actually have a lot to do with them.


While the circumstances of the dreams may be different, the emotions they stir up feel exactly like some trauma you have experienced.  My nightmare of my car being stolen & totaled?  It caused a huge amount of anxiety & fear, & I felt completely helpless.  Eventually I realized it triggered the exact same emotions of my seventeenth birthday.  That day, my mother took my gifts from my then boyfriend/now ex husband & destroyed them on the way home from school.  She blamed me for making her do that & making her car messy.  The event caused me so much anxiety (knowing I’d have to tell my ex what happened to his gifts), fear (wondering what she was going to do next) & I felt helpless (she destroyed the gifts as I was picking up her Avon order & gone for maybe 3 minutes- I couldn’t have known what she was going to do or stop her from doing it)


When these nightmares happen, the good news is that they have a purpose.  They show you that there is an area in which you need more healing.  It can be hard to figure out, so I highly recommend asking God about it.  He loves you & wants to help you, so let Him!  Ask Him what did that dream mean?  If you like, you also can look up symbols on a dream dictionary website- I’ve done this.  I write down everything I can from my dream- items, colors, feelings- then look up what each means & write it down beside each item.  Sometimes things make more sense to me when I see them in writing so that can be a helpful tool.


Once you realize what the dream was trying to make sense of, you can heal.  Work on coping with the traumatic event however works for you- pray, talk to a therapist, talk to a close friend, write in your diary.  What you do doesn’t matter, so long as it works for you.


I know nightmares are a very difficult part of C-PTSD & PTSD, but they are also unavoidable.  Why not make them work in your favor by learning what they’re trying to help you cope with?  Once you do, the nightmares often go away or at the very least don’t happen nearly as often.  I haven’t had a dream about my car being stolen or totaled in a couple of years.  🙂


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

Possible Help For People With C-PTSD

I just realized something good I’ve forgotten to share with you, Dear Readers!

A while back, I read that antidepressants in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) class such as paxil, zoloft & prozac are used to treat PTSD & C-PTSD.  As many of you know, I am a fan of natural & herbal remedies whenever possible over “real” medications.  St. John’s wort is a plant that works much like SSRI’s, & is very helpful for many people suffering with depression.  I’ve taken it before periodically, & it helped me.  However, I started taking a higher dose of it a couple of weeks ago, & it is working  better than ever.  The depression isn’t as bad as it has been, neither is the anxiety, & the agoraphobia is much better.  I can’t say perfect- I still have down times & I have yet to work up the nerve to go out alone yet- but nonetheless, I have hope I’m onto something good.  I’m debating upping my dose, but am not sure if that is a good idea yet or not.

I take 375 mg of St. John’s wort once a day, which is one pill from the brand I use.  St. John’s wort can be head surprisingly cheaply from most places that carry vitamins.  I got mine online from Swanson Vitamins- they have very good pricing on all kinds of vitamins & herbs, even with shipping & handling.  

I have yet to have any side effects, either, which is more than can be said about prescription SSRI’s.  Not ONE side effect!!

Please don’t take this out of context- I’m not saying you should get off your anti-depressant & take St. John’s wort.  If you’re on a prescription that works for you, by all means, take it!  Everyone needs to do what works best for them.  Besides, with any prescription anti-depressant, you should gradually wean off of it anyway.  I am saying that if you aren’t taking a prescription, or it isn’t working for you, St. John’s wort may be your answer.  It’s worth considering anyway!  

I also realize many Christians aren’t fond of herbal remedies, as those in Wiccan & Pagan religions use them.  I have a friend who is Pagan, & I’ve learned a few things on this topic. Both religions use herbal remedies, as well as herbs in casting spells or making potions.  While I can’t say I agree with spells & potions, I have not heard one reason that makes me believe herbal remedies are an offense to God.  I believe that God made this plants & herbs with their healing properties for a reason- why shouldn’t people use them?  If we can use roses to express love to one another, why can’t we enjoy a cup of chamomile tea when stressed or unable to sleep?  What is the difference?  

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about my experiences of late with St. John’s wort & to encourage you to think & pray about it- it may be right for you to help you fight depression & the other awful symptoms of C-PTSD.  🙂

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

December 10, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I’m sorry for not posting lately.  I had a nasty flashback last Friday night, then had to go out twice on Saturday which set the agoraphobia off like mad.   That left me extremely frustrated since I used to be very independent, in addition to the anxiety & depression that this was happening.  I’ve been recovering since.  I am exhausted, physically & mentally, as usual.  Makes it hard to focus on writing anything.  

Apparently it also makes reading more challenging than normal.  I’ve had a tough time reading for a while now- after a while, the words pretty much blur together on the page.  But after flashbacks or bad days, it’s even harder.  From what I’ve read, that is a normal part of C-PTSD & PTSD.  This is so frustrating since I love books.  And, I just got Stephen King’s sequel to “The Shining”, “Dr. Sleep.”  You have no idea how much I want to finish this book & find out what happens!  

I’m trying different things to deal with these common problems with C-PTSD.  As for recovery after flashbacks, I think rest is the best thing.  Being lazy- watching movies, gardening, knitting.  Activities that I enjoy but don’t require a lot of effort on my part help me.  Avoiding stressful activities, such as going to a crowded store are also important.  

As for the reading problem, I’m having to learn to take it in small steps.  I used to read an entire book in an afternoon.  Now?  A while, then take a break, read some more, take a break.  It makes it less frustrating if I stop as soon as the “blurring” starts.  

I’ve learned something else.  This is the most important thing- I saved the best for last.  When symptoms flare up, whatever the symptoms are, it is best to get quiet.  During those quiet times, God gives me creative ways to deal with the symptoms.  He taught me about ways to ground myself during a flashback before I read anything about grounding techniques.  

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health