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5 Steps For Recovering From A Trauma Nightmare

Dreams are the place of fantasy and wonder, but can also be a realm of terror and horror. For every ounce of fantasy that our dreaming brain can conjure up, it also has the ability to recall more moments of trauma than we are willing to remember. Dreams aren’t always meant to be enjoyed. When we dream, our subconscious is taking on the drastic task of trying to make sense of the millions of thoughts we’ve had throughout the day, as well as our lives.

Unfortunately, if we’ve lived through trauma, that means we are prone to having nightmares about our trauma. Trauma nightmares can be exact replays of trauma we have experienced in our life or it can be some kind of thematic representation of our trauma through metaphor and meaning. Either way, we are literally being forced to relive some of our worst moments in one of the places in our life, sleep, where we hope to feel the most safe. Trauma can have us feeling deeply afraid and alone, on edge, and chronically unsafe. Waking up from a trauma nightmare, we often find ourselves in exactly that space, forced to go about our day as normal, with the fresh memory of an anything-but-normal situation on our mind. Trying to regulate and move through our day can be a challenge as our spirit is triggered, our brain is triggered, and our body is triggered. Here are five steps for recovering from a trauma nightmare.

Step One: Get Grounded In Reality

Being thrown back into the circumstances of some of our worst trauma can give us that unsteady feeling of being in an alternate reality. Comprehending the full truth of trauma is not something our brain is readily capable of doing, which is why we compartmentalize the truth of our trauma, block memories out, and struggle to even physically cope with the way trauma impacts our nervous system. We can feel like we’re living in a feedback loop of the past while trying to remain in the present.

Getting grounded in reality is the first and most important step we can take after waking up from a trauma nightmare. First, we can get a hold of our surroundings and recite to ourselves the basic facts of the present moment: our name, our location, our age, the fact that we lived through trauma, had a trauma nightmare, and are now awake from that nightmare.

Checking into our senses, we can point out five things each we smell, see, hear, and feel that don’t have to do with the sensations being caused by our trauma. We get out of bed. We mindfully focus on our feet touching the floor. We get up. We move on to Step Two.

We will discuss Step Two for recovering from a trauma nightmare in our next blog.

You can walk through your trauma. The Guest House Ocala offers residential treatment programming for trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information on our customized programs and availability: 1-855-483-7800