Laura Russell, Ph.D., Archive  

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Q. What do I do about nightmares and day mares? I have been like this for as long as I can remember. People tell me to wait it out. That by the time I am 30 it will all be mild to hardy noticeable. I can't imagine my living another day like this now alone another 4 yrs. I have nightmares and day mares. 

A. Flashbacks

Nightmares and day mares are normal for PTSD. They are actually part of the flashback set of symptoms. And I believe they are from a healthy part of
people. It is one way your mind is trying to master your trauma (s).

You see, when something happens to people that is overwhelming; they cannot digest or integrate it at the time. But you still need to do that. So your
mind continues working to digest this awful event. Kind of like you digest a
big meal. One side effect of digesting an overwhelming mean might be
heartburn or indigestion. Similarly to that, you have flashbacks while your
mind is trying to digest your traumatic event.

Re-framing your experience can help somewhat. Most people are horrified by their flashbacks and judge them as symptoms of 'craziness'. That simply is not the case. Flashbacks are healthy and normal.

Self-talk also works somewhat. What you do is figure out all the logical
reasons why you are safe from and no longer vulnerable to the trauma (s)
that happened to you. Then you make statements to yourself as if you were
your best friend. Some ideas for self-talk in this situation are:

* You are safe now.
* I can take care of you.
* Give yourself your reasons why you are safe.











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