The moderator on the Facebook page U.S. ARMY FEMALES posted a vet’s request for help developing a mindset to deal with recurring nightmares that interfer with daily functioning. This vet was aware of many websites and, of course, the possibility of treatment options through the VA. Several commenters also steered the vet to non-government health resources, which apparently can be done through the ArmyOneSource.com website or through Operation Mend and some of the resources listed in my sidebar. Comments mentioned helper pets, talking to loved ones, medications, and a variety of coping mechanisms, making it clear that different things help different people. In the paragraphs below, I’ll repeat the advice I left.
1) Know that you are not crazy, you just lived through a crazy, surreal experience.
2) Find a way, even when in your own pain, to serve others, because that is how you survived in the first place. Serving others might mean mowing the lawn for a neighbor, pouring coffee at your church social hour, or it might mean rebuilding after earthquakes in an organization like Team Rubicon. See suggestions on my “How to Help a Soldier” article.
3) Writing a journal can help (see http://www.milspeak.org/milspeak/Welcome.html).
5) If talking doesn’t help enough, or if you just can’t talk yet, try reading so you will know you are not alone. Here is my suggested reading list: Soft Spots, Danger Close: The Mike Yon Story by Mike Yon, and a novel Home Front by Kristin Hannah. Just have boxes of kleenex nearby.
God bless you!
I just read an interesting, but undocumented source, that suggest resetting your sleep habits so you wake up after REM sleep starts but before the nightmare finishes — about 4 hours. Then get up, relax, think of a new ending, and then try to go to sleep for another few hours.
If this has worked for any readers, please log in anonymously (lower right sidebar) and let us know. If you have any comments on how any of these suggestions help or not, please leave a few words for others in the same situation. Thank you.