Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

PTSD re-experiencing nightmares, don’t end when you wake up ~ Lilly Hope Lucario


I am writing this blog, to explain and validate why PTSD nightmares often don’t end when you wake up.

I am sure there are lots of people, who think that nightmares aren’t that bad right? After all, once you wake up, it’s finished yeah…. 

Well, that is absolutely not case for many of us.

I have nightmares about severe trauma/abuse and when I am stressed out, emotional, the nightmares always increase.

Nightmares usually result in me waking up, terrified, massive anxiety, often crying, disorientated, and I have to do grounding and breathing techniques, to calm and soothe myself.

(You can find these on my Website @ http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/ )

I usually put the light, or the TV on and it will take time before I am calmer and not distressed.

Sometimes they are so bad, I dissociate when I wake up and I really don’t know how long it takes for me to get myself back to state of being able to have self talk and ground etc. The dissociation is like my brain saying ‘this is way too painful’ and switching off.

These severe nightmares, always worsen my other PTSD symptoms the next day too.

I will have the nightmare, replaying in unwanted, involuntary intrusive thoughts/memories, and other unwanted memories coming into my mind throughout the day.

The anxiety, noise sensitivity, irritability, emotion dysregulation, capacity to cope and function-  all worsens and my mood will be lowering, or unstable all the next day. I also can tell I have an irrational sense of fear, but only irrational because the nightmare is the past and not happening now…..

But my mind isn’t wired that way…..my PTSD mind acts like it is happening now. And all my physical, emotional and psychological responses to trauma, occur now, as if the trauma is occurring right now.

That’s what PTSD is……..your mind and body reacting to trauma, as if it is happening now.

I will also have emotional flashbacks increasing and my body ‘muscle armoring’ and pain from that all increase, as my body tenses even more than normal, due to anxiety, and also ready and braced for potential trauma…….even though there is none occurring now.

So, all these PTSD symptoms increasing after a nightmare, can last all the next day…..sometimes for days.

And my mood can continue to lower, fluctuating between dissociation – depression – distress and the other severe symptoms of suicidal thoughts, can also start occurring.

I am better at managing this now…….but I can quite categorically state, I cannot stop nightmares occurring……..and nor has the emotional and psychological pain of them lessoned.

The actual nightmares are just as horrendous, as they were 2 years ago. And I accept that, because the reality of the abuse/trauma, isn’t going to change. The abuse was horrendous.

But I have partly learned to manage them & the other symptoms better, and also partly become more used to them happening.

So, please know, if you learn and practise all the PTSD strategies, it can become easier to manage the ongoing affects of PTSD, including after waking up from a nightmare.

It has taken a lot of work and dedication to my healing to manage my symptoms better, but it is so worth it.

I have lots of info on my Website about PTSD – and it is my gift to everyone who may read it.

You can see it @ http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/

~ Lilly Hope Lucario

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Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle.

5 thoughts on “PTSD re-experiencing nightmares, don’t end when you wake up ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

  1. After suffering from C PTSD and multiple nightmares on a nightly basis for over 20 years I was recently prescribed a medication which has changed my life. It is an adrenalin inhibiting drug which I take at night before bed. Although it cannot influence the content of my dreams it does inhibit my flight or fight response to nightmare triggers. So instead of a dream escalating to nightmarish proportions it continues on harmlessly. I urge anyone with PTSD or CPTSD to ask their Dr for a referral to a psychiatrist who can prescribe the medication that will improve their quality of life a thousand fold.

  2. Thank you Lilly<i get so much strength as i read your status on facebook and this blog has answered so many questions for me.I can tell myself Im having a off day or I just dont feel right today.I knew i had a bad night I just couldnt quite work it all out,Im so grateful for your inspiring words.Thank you

    • I am so thankful if anything I read help you and anyone else. I try to explain things I have worked out, in a way that may helps others, so they understand themselves better and validate how hard it all is.

      It is my way of reaching out to others, especially for those who may not have much support.

  3. Pingback: PTSD re-experiencing nightmares, don’t end when you wake up ~ Lilly Hope Lucario – whitemoontsukishiro

  4. I thank you, Lilly for putting this into words. Unless you are living it, it seems impossible to rationally explain to others. The actual, literal physical drain from a nightmare or panic attack really wipes you off your feet. It takes, sometimes, days to recover. It’s like a cycle that repeats over and over.
    It is, at times, too exhausting.

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