Waking up from a nightmare

It is difficult to wake up from a nightmare. It can be hard when you are not sure if the nightmare is reality or just another nightmare. It is disconcerting to lay there unsure if your nightmare was real, if it is over, and if the thoughts running through your head are making it worse or making it better. I know the nightmares, they are rarely new anymore. They just tend to be like a bad horror movie stuck on repeat. The meds I’m on help most of the time, but I have noticed that excess stress can overpower the meds and bring the nightmares back in full force. I have talked about nightmares before and it is likely that anyone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can tell you how real they are. Outside of the people I see at the PTSD clinic at the VA, I do not think I have actually laid out what one of my nightmares contains and I do not really have an urge to.

I am just happy that they happen at night and rarely do I suffer from daytime flashbacks. Thankfully most daytime recollections that I have a mild and more like unpleasant daydreams. I also have the tools to handle things during the daytime. Those same tools do not really work at 3 am in the morning when you are not sure you are actually awake, your heart is beating out of your chest and the shirt I happen to be wearing is soaked I sweat. In fact, those tools do not work at all. Almost 90 minutes later, my heart is still racing and I am only 90% sure I am awake and that the thoughts racing through my mind are more than just a continuation of my nightmare. It blows honestly and sucks because it just sets the tone for the rest of my day.

I try very hard on mornings and days like this not to just shut down and retreat back into my own little protective shell. I know it is unhealthy and it never really fixes anything anyways. I do have to work hard on not being an asshole to people though. Part of me tends to feel like making everyone else suffer with me. Yes, I know that never really fixes anything either, but depending on who I get to be an asshole too, sometimes it makes me feel better. On a more serious note, it is just hard to be normal when you’re tired, frustrated and preoccupied with overanalyzing a stupid nightmare. I know it is not real and I end up using every tool I have learned and spend the day picking apart my nightmare piece by piece to prove to myself it is not real and why it is not real. My problem is that does not really seem to stop the nightmare from reoccurring and it does not really stop my want to retreat.

Like everything else though, I do know I will survive. I do know that I will not have a nightmare every time I attempt to sleep. I just wish I could say that they will go away forever one day. The problem with that belief is no one has yet to tell me they will.  I know what living in my reality is like and having night terrors be apart of them royally sucks ass.  Just remember, PTSD is not a choice, we didn’t wake up one day and decided: ‘Hey! Let’s have nightmares and flashbacks for the rest of our lives!

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