PTSD nightmares just cause everything to be worse. I call it Nightmare’s aftermath.Tweet
One of the trademark symptoms of PTSD is the nightmares – a patchwork of post-traumatic memories that lurk in the shadows during the day and wreak havoc throughout the night. Maybe what lurks in the shadows during the day are the flashbacks? maybe they’re Nightmare’s aftermath
In my view, these nightmares can be the cornerstone of PTSD’s power. I believe this because when I wake up in the morning with a deep sense of dread, it’s the nightmare’s aftermath that can derail the entire day.
With that said, this aftermath may not be on your radar as a reason for your heightened symptoms during the day – but they very well could be the cause, a thought worth exploring, I would say.
Think you may have PTSD? Go here: Symptoms of PTSD.
As if the nightmares in themselves weren’t enough, the lack of sleep from them is intolerable at times. These two factors are, for me, at least, a recipe for a very triggered day.
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Every symptom is heightened – the startle response, the irritability, the flashback can be more pervasive and my mind thick with a mental fog. So thick in fact, that my thoughts strain to make their way through the murk.
The double-edged sword in all of this? The nightmare’s aftermath dominates the day. Not only because of the nightmares themselves but because of the overall lack of sleep.
So, essentially, the nightmares act as a terrifying ignition point and the lack of sleep is its steady state fire it produces. As many of you may already know, sleep is fundamental for good health and our mental health is no exception. In fact, a good night’s sleep is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your well-being, and right up there with a good diet and exercise.
What can be done to quell the nightmares and get a good night’s sleep?
Fortunately, there are many things that can be done. For instance, getting a referral to a psychiatrist. I recommend them over a general practitioner simply because psychiatric disorders are their specialty. They can find the right meds to help you sleep and deal with the PTSD symptoms, like the nightmares.
In addition, see a psychologist who has training in PTSD and its treatment approaches. They can train you in mindfulness and often have training in EMDER therapy; (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). It’s a therapeutic approach that has been found to work well with people with PTSD.
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And finally, the big three: diet, exercise and connection. They will take you a long way to feeling like you again. I know, the last thing you want to do is put yourself out there, but let me tell ya, it’s good for you. Let’s not let the PTSD run the show.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed to be a cure-all, but if we can get the nightmares under control, we will sleep better and our PTSD symptoms will be more manageable. The elation I feel when all of these elements come together is amazing. This is why I continue to fight every day. Life is better when you set out to defeat the nightmare’s aftermath.
If you are struggling, please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada