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Nightmares. PTSD?

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Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby StirFried » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:24 pm

Hi everyone I am new to this forum. I have joined because I was wondering if anyone could give me some helpful advice. Is anyone out there having the same experiences as I have been having recently with regard to recurring nightmares that relate to some "stressful" past experiences while working in a couple of "Hot Spots" over the past 10 years. If so have you found ways to deal with this without using meds?

My nightmares have not been continuous over the last 10 years. However recently they are becoming much more frequent. In some of the nightmares some of the features from different experiences are blended together. Sometimes the nightmare is the same as what I experienced. Sometimes they start out as being the same as what I experienced but then the ending is different but no less terrifying.

Although I have been away from the geographical locations where these experiences took place now for almost 6 months and I am now in a country that is considered safe the nightmares are coming thick and fast. Sometimes I will have them 4 or 5 nights in a row with some nights having more than 1. Then I will for 2 or 3 weeks with no events at all.

I have been married now for almost 5 years but during this time I have spent the majority of that time away from my wife. Now that I am back home my wife is starting to ask questions and wants to know what my nightmares are about. It is putting our relationship under pressure because I just cant talk to her about it and she feels I dont trust her. Its not that I dont trust her. Its like the thought of talking to her about it makes me physically unable to speak to her.

I am also finding that I just cannot relate to people with whom I was really close friends with before working overseas. The closeness that was once there has gone. Sure we are still friends but there is something that is just not there anymore.

I am finding also that anger is starting to become an issue. I find that sometimes the smallest things will just want to make me explode and have an almost overwhelming desire to smash something. On one occasion this happened and it terrified my poor wife. I will never forget the look on her face. I dont ever want to see that look again. Although I have never used physical violence against my wife or kids I am finding more and more that I have a desire to use violence to teach a lesson to people I deem to be idiots.

This whole thing is starting to become a real problem. Due to my current type of employment I am very hesitant to seek psychiatric or psychological help as this would be on my medical record. I feel that trying to talk to someone about this who does not understand would just make me really angry.

Lately I have been trying to focus my mind on other things such as running and hunting and being active with my kids and taking them fishing and stuff but the issue is still there.

If anyone else is having issues like this and has found ways of dealing with it that works for them I would appreciate hearing about it.

Must admit I feel better getting this off my chest in an anonymous manner :D.
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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby CrackedGirl » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:48 pm

If you feel you cannot seek medical or psychological help, which would likely be the best thing, then do you have any friends from when you were overseas you can talk to who might understand what you are going through. Or local anonymous support groups. Just a thought. I am glad you felt able to post.

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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby StirFried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:00 am

I worked overseas after completing 10 years in the military. I was not actually in the military at the time these things happened. I worked as a private contractor with other contractors from other countries. I have tried to talk to one of my mates I was in the military with and who I used to be really close with but like I said that closeness seems to have gone now. I just feel there really is no one around me that I can discuss this with. No one that I feel I could trust anyway and who would understand. Thats why I was hoping that there may be someone in this forum who had these issues and got them sorted.
But seriously I really would prefer not to go down the medical road!
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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby Living Well » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:39 am

Hi StirFried,

Obviously the parameters you are working within, requires some thinking outside of the square. The best I can think of is Valerian, which is the plant that Valium is derived from. Valium with my sleep medication manages to suppress my nightmares really well. So Valerian might be worth a whirl??? *Valerian is not a herb to use over an extended time though* Herbs like passionflower and camomile can be calming to an extent and are suitable for more frequent and ongoing use. Often healthfood shop assistants are naturopaths or herbalists but if not, you should be able to find one near you for a consultation. I use an over the counter medication called Restavit for insomnia (if you suffer from that at all). It's pharmaceutical name is Doxylamine Succinate (25mg) and I find it far more effective than any prescription meds.

EMDR (I think it is called) has been found beneficial for PTSD. Possibly you could access that kind of psychological intervention without it being on your medical record where you live or elsewhere? Who treats you and whether it is under any "medicare" scheme will influence the traceability of treatment.
You may need to knock back government health assistance in order to keep it "off record".

I must admit you have me curious that some kind of employment outside the military as a contractor would have freedom of information to your medical records without your consent. Without knowing what it is all about, it does seem quite invasive and counterproductive and it is a shame you are subjected to that amount of medical scrutiny. The system is based on circular logic. Where people can't get treated for illness without penalty, means you end up with a lot of very sick people with unmanaged, usually progressively intensifying illnesses, on your payroll. When they finally crack, all those years of investment in that person's professional development goes down the plughole along with their health. You'd be a very intelligent person and I imagine I'm merely pointing out the obvious.

Is a change of occupation to one where you don't have to deny yourself access to the basic human right of medical attention, to remain employed, an option? You'd probably love your job but is it worth jeopardising your health, your social life and your marriage for?

Probably gave you more to consider than what you signed up for - sorry about that - valerian / passionflower / naturopathy / herbalism is my first thought. Possibly even things like acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation....

Would love to know how you get on

Cheers,

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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby StirFried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:27 pm

Thanks for advice on the natural remedies, I will look into that for sure.

My line of work at the moment requires me to hold a medical that is required to be renewed every 6 months. Because of the type of work I am doing certain prescription drugs would prevent me from being able to work. If it became known that I was seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist and there was any question regarding my mental stability my medical would be pulled and I would lose my job. However having said that I am sure in my own mind that I am not mentally unstable as such but rather I just have a few issues to deal with.

I am definitely considering a change in employment type and gaining qualifications in another area. It would however require full time study for about 3 1/2 years to get the degree. The problem is how do I support my family during that time? I have considered doing a 12 month private contract that I have been offered and the money would be exceptional but it would mean going back into that environment again which at this time I am not sure I could face going back into that environment.

Thanks again for the advice.

StirFried
Last edited by StirFried on Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby CrackedGirl » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:35 pm

StirFried wrote:I am definitely considering a change in employment type and gaining qualifications in another area. It would however require full time study for about 3 1/2 years to get the degree. The problem is how do I support my family during that time? I have considered doing a 12 month private contract that I have been offered and the money would be exceptional but it would mean going back into that environment again which at this time I am not sure I could face going back into.


I can see why it is a dilemma. Good money would support your family and allow you to study. However what I would say is that the way you are at the moment do you think you could function in that environment safely? Thinking of you.

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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby Living Well » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:03 am

I'm really glad you posted. I get the sense that just being able to get it out of your head, put it on the table and have others help you think of ways to manage a complex issue may have helped you somewhat? You are prolly the type to think you have to manage absolutely everything on your own but even as clever little Einstein said, problems can't be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them. While you didn't create your problem, you are openminded enough to explore short term and long term possibilities to help manage it. We all have to explore solutions to problems; there is nothing weak in doing that.
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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby StirFried » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:56 am

CrackedGirl wrote:
StirFried wrote:I am definitely considering a change in employment type and gaining qualifications in another area. It would however require full time study for about 3 1/2 years to get the degree. The problem is how do I support my family during that time? I have considered doing a 12 month private contract that I have been offered and the money would be exceptional but it would mean going back into that environment again which at this time I am not sure I could face going back into.


I can see why it is a dilemma. Good money would support your family and allow you to study. However what I would say is that the way you are at the moment do you think you could function in that environment safely? Thinking of you.

Cracked


I know this might sound strange but, these things have really only started to bother me since I have been out of that environment. When you are in that environment your training kicks in and you deal with any situations that arise. You stay focused, alert and vigilant. Although stressful dont really have time to think about things that have happened. However you cant stay in that environment forever and you cant go for extended periods under constant stress because sooner or later you will become mentally exhausted and make a mistake or drop your guard and things will go wrong.

However when I think of the possibility of going back or even just thinking about that environment I just feel totally mentally exhausted and on edge. Then I start thinking about what went on and I find I try to switch off emotionally as a defence mechanism I guess. Sometimes when I am in this mode I can go for days without even saying a word to anyone.

Thats when I start getting it from the wife because she thinks I am just angry about something and ignoring her. When she is having a go at me and shouting and carrying on I dont even react. Its almost like I dont even know how to. When she is going on like that I look at her and I dont feel anything. I dont feel anger, I dont feel sorrow, I dont feel love and I dont feel hate. I feel absolutely nothing! Its like water off a ducks back. Sometimes I have thought I could talk to my wife about what is actually going on when this happens and the reasons why. Thing is when I try it almost feels like I have a rope around my neck and I just cant get any words out at all.

So would I be able to function back in that environment again?
In that environment I am ready for what might happen. I know to react to situations and my training kicks in. You work with people of the same mind set who you can trust and you always know that someone is watching your back. Everyone is on the same page and everyone understands each other.

Outside that environment I have to deal with people who really have no idea. Their idea of a crisis is like when their DVD player doesnt work or their dress and shoes dont match. I have to deal with people who I just cannot relate to. People judge me when they have no F@#$ing idea about what goes on outside their neighbourhood. I just cant relate to anyone in a normal environment.

So to be honest .... I think I could function better in a hostile environment than in a normal one ... and that kind of scares me.

I know people may read this and not understand what I am on about. Just watch the movie "Hurt Locker". I tell you, I can relate to that movie!

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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby CrackedGirl » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:11 am

Thanks for explaining StirFried, I also work in a job where you click into training mode and get on with it even if sh*t is going on, tho it is totally different to you. Wrt your wife do you think you could write it to her if you can't speak the words? Might be worth a try...

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Re: Nightmares. PTSD?

Postby StirFried » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:06 am

CrackedGirl wrote:Thanks for explaining StirFried, I also work in a job where you click into training mode and get on with it even if sh*t is going on, tho it is totally different to you. Wrt your wife do you think you could write it to her if you can't speak the words? Might be worth a try...

Cracked


I have tried previously to write things down to explain things to my wife but I find that difficult too. Its hard to know where to start with the writing and to write it in such a way that it will make sense. I know people say "a problem shared is a problem halved" but with this I am not sure. It is likely to become "a problem shared becomes two problems.
Its a hard thing to deal with. I know I cant go on like I am and this has got to be sorted one way or other. But I also feel that if I tell my wife I would be causing her a huge problem and off loading something on her she may not be able to handle.

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