Managing nightmares

I have been out of my anti-nightmare medication for over two weeks now. I need to wait till I see my psychiatrist tomorrow to get more. Since I’m still in the process of seeing what works for me and my doctor wasn’t the original person who prescribed the medication, I couldn’t have it refilled. I don’t remember what the medication is called. I suppose I can simply head to the bedroom to look, but that requires me to move. At the moment I’m not feeling very energetic.

Anywho, this medication keeps me from having nightmares. My PTSD has been in full swing these past few weeks. I believe the Prozac I was given has something to do with that, for it gives me much anxiety. I think we need to try another medication other than Prozac. I hate trying new medications. I never know how it will make me feel, or its side effects.

Back to the nightmares. I have been trying to control its outcome.. the outcome of the nightmares. Since those are the dreams that we remember the most, maybe the trick is to continue the nightmare and change the story? Maybe this can help my sleep. I don’t have trouble getting to sleep. I have trouble towards the end of the cycles of sleep. The body goes through five stages of sleep about 4 to six times a night that lasts 90 minutes each. It’s normal to wake up between these cycles. Normally one doesn’t remember they have woken up and just fall right back to sleep. Another thing is that we can dream during both deep sleep and REM sleep. They aren’t the same thing. Deep sleep is a non-REM sleep. We usually only go through a couple deep periods of sleep throughout the night. REM sleep becomes longer with each cycle. Nightmares happen during our REM sleep, which is usually in the latter part of our sleep before we wake up. Therefore we have a much better chance of remembering our nightmares. Nightmares are not night terrors. Night terrors happen during non-REM sleep and is basically a sudden arousal, feelings of terror or involuntary movement during deep sleep. These usually go away by adolescence.

Nightmares can be a reaction to our stress. Which takes our stress, fears, and anxieties to an almost exaggerated level. I have been told that nightmares are a way of our brain trying to protect ourselves. Since our brain and senses are at its peak after a nightmare. The latest technique I have been taught on managing my nightmares, besides the medication I’m usually given, is to take a moment after the nightmare and change the story. Change the outcome of the nightmare and understand why I had the nightmare in the first place. Is the nightmare a fear of my past and even relevant at the moment?

It’s a work in progress. Sometimes these nightmares put me in such a mood that I can’t get myself out of. My mind would play it over and over again. I’m told the trick is to take that image and change it. Now, if my brain can just do that and stick to that and not revert back to replaying the nightmare… I’ll be grateful.

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