First Tip

Nightmares, are a common thing. Especially when the wounds are still fresh. Here are the couple of ways I helped deal with them.


First off, is the pre-sleep ritual. No video games, no war movies, nothing super mentally engaging before attempting to go to sleep. Alcohol may knock you out fast but it contributes to nightmares because it prevents deep sleep. I try to wind down before crashing for the night. Best case scenario I will start an hour out, watch a little TV, then go through the night time stuff, brush my teeth then hit the sack and read a book. Then try to sleep.
     If your like me, as soon as you close your eyes and start to sleep, your mind will find its way back to the machine gun fire or being in the army in general. Force yourself awake a few deep breathes and focus on something entirely different, and attempt to sleep again.
    If you do have nightmares, keep a journal bedside. Wake up from it, jam it into the notebook while it is fresh then try to go back to sleep again. When you get up the next morning review the journal. Try to put your finger on what it is that is bugging you based on the running theme of the dream.
    Some get medication, some self-medicate, this is what I found works best for me. The same should probably go for you. If you have over come the nightmares post it up share your view. If you are still working on it, share the dreams. There are common themes in alot of vet nightmares…. Mine is zombies, my guys get killed they turn into zombies and come after me, reflects that, I feel guilty for what happened to them. What do you think yours mean?

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2 responses to “First Tip

  • mso52050

    I served in the infantry with the First Cav.
    My experience with PTSD goes something like this.
    At war I had my share (and fill) of combat.
    I know how a battle becomes just “me and the guys with me’, there is no world beyond that during combat, it is pure survival. I never failed in battles, never received any disciplinary actions, earned higher rank and received the medals that went along with our service at war.When the time came to return home,
    I remember thinking so clearly how I would return to life as it was before war.I was excited to go back to my wife, my job, playing softball/shootin pool, having a few beers with old buddies and riding motorcycles in the beautiful country hills that I had dreamed of and missed while at war. I was also excited that I would be able to go to college with government help earned as a soldier, and I could really think for the first time of owning a house. I left war happy and excited for the future.
    I was only home a few days when all those dreams started to disintegrate! I was unexpectedly overcome with anxiety that I didn’t understand. I felt disconnected from family and old friends by the experience and hauntings of war that they couldn’t understand and i couldn’t relate to them. My realty was different than theirs, I started withdrawing and isolating myself from them and former activities that I had enjoyed before war. Nightmares came every night, fourth of July firecrackers send me flying out of bed to take cover on the floor before I could control the reaction. Flight for Life Helicopters brought back memories, loud noises startled me uncontrollably and I seemed constantly on alert to dangers even though I was in a very safe suburban neighborhood.
    I was given perscription sleeping bills by a doctor that had no affect on nightmares, I woke up right through them drenched in sweat. I began to fear I was loosing my mind. I tried a job and walked off it before the first lunch period and couldn’t stay on any others, some insane anxiety wouldn’t let me stay or focus on the work/job.
    I tried college which had been such a dream while at war but couldn’t focus there either. It was a terrible disappointment to fail at school and added more to my sense of losing my mind.
    All the students at the university seemed to exist in such happy, carefree lives that I could no longer identify with. I felt I was in a strange place with experiences that only had had witnessed. My marriage failed soon after because
    I could no longer communicate with or participate in the marriage as the happy person I had once been. I had changed into a person who I no longer knew myself. I started running from myself in my mind and hiding myself and that mind from the world. The fear of insanity caused me to start drinking and then…….
    There is much more but I don’t want to bore you guys. PTSD is so very, very real.

  • mso52050

    if anyone wants to check out PTSD.about.com
    you find info on PTSD and can receive a free
    weekly update. PTSD is not clearly known so any info must be reagrded as how it applies to the individual.

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