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.