Last night I had fitful sleep filled with nightmares. My brain is working on healing 24-7. Lack of restful sleep makes my daytime symptoms with complex PTSD flare up and become more difficult to deal with. One method of working through what I’m experiencing in my healing process is to talk about my experience. Share it, write about it, make a video or audio and talk. The other is visualization with “rewriting” what happened in the nightmare. While pacing around my house trying to cope with the energy that anxiety dishes out I decided to rewrite my nightmare. I said what happened but then I talked myself through visualizing a different set of actions that I took and a different outcome than the dream. It’s also MY visualization so I can control the whole thing start to finish.
In this new version of the now fading memory of the nightmare I was brave and stood up for myself. I did not cower behind the door and look frightfully out the window. In my rewritten version of the nightmare I opened the door, walked outside and faced the scary person in the dream. Already it went from a nightmare to a dream. I’m the hero in my dream and I tell this (no longer scary) person that I snatched their identity to make them basically faceless to piss off. I take the gun from them and they leave. I went over and over the story until I was able to tell the story out loud without getting upset. I pushed past upset and went through the dream until the end. This helped me feel more empowered and strong. The original nightmare doesn’t matter now because I rewrote it.
Visualization is very powerful and I use it a lot to help me cope but also see different perspectives of the same issue. This is my way of problem solving. This was not easy for me at first but like everything, practice creates new pathways in the brain making it a little easier each time. I think my nightmares are a way for my brain to process multiple traumas and stitch the details together into something confusing and terrifying. Even if the nightmare is something that 100% happened I can still visualize and talk myself through. The more I do this, the more confident I am with my ability to help myself. It can take what would be possibly days of being upset to a few hours. This doesn’t always work but when it does I feel like a super hero. As I said before SPOILER ALERT, I don’t die due to my CPTSD, I recover and live well.
I’m glad you feel like a super hero when you do this. You are a super hero. Well done.
My best friend has PTSD. Whenever someone says “Sweet dreams!” to her when she says she’s going to bed, so replies, “I take meds so that I don’t dream. My dreams are always horrible.” I need to share this post with her. Thank you!