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#40719 - 02/04/03 11:25 PM Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Ever since I started down the pot hole filled role of recovery about 6 years ago I have been having nightmares. At first I felt like I was in a glass case looking down on what was happening to me. I could not breath and that woke me up terrified. I could have 5 or 6 of these every night. All the time that I was not dealing properly with my abuse I had no dreams. I did however, go looking for the violence and humiliation that had me by the throat. It was a re-enactment of my time on the streets as a male prostitute catering to the very rough and kinky element of so-called normal male society.
Anyway these dreams got worse and worse and I graduated from the glass case to a participant in the abuse of me and then on to me being abused. My wife has helped me through this because she could tell when I was having a bad one and she would gently wake me up. As the dreams continued I could not tell if the dream was a recall of an event or a fabrication of my imagination. I say this because I still feel drawn to the violence and it scares me. Is my mind trying to give me what I physically deny myself. This is a bad time of year because when I mountainbike or inline skate I get the pain and adrenelin rush that I need and is safe. I searated my shoulder, broke 4 ribs and badly wrenched my left knee and hip in one biking accident last summer and I have to tell you it felt great. I have always been able to wrap pain around me and make it my own. Walking out of the bush for 6 miles was the ultimate andit gave me a huge erection. I was so ashamed afterwards. Am I crazy. Sometimes I think that I am. Back to the dreams. When I have a particularly bad one I wake up with a pounding erection and that makes me feel like a piece of shit. I have tried everything that has been recommended about changing dreams and nothing works. Now they are starting to include people I know and like and they have turned into monsters. Sometimes I feel like a little child afraid to go to sleep because something will get me.

I have read about survivors and perpetrators here and it make me really uncomfortable to think that as a prostitute I may have been a perpetrator by being available for whatevery anyone wanted. Is that totally screwed up logic. I have never ever tried to influence someone younger than myself or gone looking to have an innocent involved but the low lifes I got paid by got what they wanted because I was available for them. I had absolutely no feelings for them; only the rush of the blinding pain or danger that I knew I could get. The rougher and more dangerous the situation the higher I got on the pain.
Has anyone else ever experienced this. I do not know how to break the cycle. My T has tried to work it through with me but I just go numb when I try to deal with it. I am afraid that this is one thing that I cant let go of and yet the addiction to it is the reason that I decided that my abuse was a really big thing in my life and I had better deal with it before it killed my.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#40720 - 02/05/03 09:13 AM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
Has anyone else ever experienced this. I do not know how to break the cycle. My T has tried to work it through with me but I just go numb when I try to deal with it. I am afraid that this is one thing that I cant let go of and yet the addiction to it is the reason that I decided that my abuse was a really big thing in my life and I had better deal with it before it killed my.
Mike, I've only been in recovery 18 months, and the nightmares I had pretty much came & went years ago. What I had to deal with was flashbacks,
which are a bit different. Not much problem with those anymore, for now anyway.

What I do very much relate to is my addiction being the reason I decided, or discovered, abuse was a big issue in my life I needed to deal with before it ate me up from the inside out. The difference is that my addiction is to fpm (fantasy, porn & m*sturb*tion).

But like you I don't know how to break the cycle. Or maybe I should say I know how but I've been having a hard time acting upon what I know, instead of just continuing to act out or numb out.

Sometimes it seems like the 12 step work, the online (and now live) support, the readiing, the therapy, etc, is really helping. Sometimes this still seems like that one thing (or main thing) I can't let go of. Or don't want to? Or am scared to? I guess overall I'm making progress...

I hope you are too. Mike, you've probably tried more groups & therapies & books than I have. But I don't like to assume. I've heard that some of the concentrated therapies like EMDR or TIR can be helpful in dealing with nightmares, and wonder if you've tried or thot of trying such therapies.

Maybe someone else who's been thru something more similar to what you're experiencing can offer more help. But know that you are not alone in your struggles, fellow survivor. Take care.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#40721 - 02/05/03 11:05 AM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
al Offline
Member

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 143
Loc: canada
Mike
I could have written that myself except I've never been mountainbikeing plus add daymares for me -- even the antipyschotics don't take complete care of those.

It is so weird to see someone going through the same thing as me. Hard to admit but I have the same types of dreams, wake up with an erection too. And I hate myself for it, feel so ashamed. But what I think it is, is that when the climax finally happens, it is over -- the abuse ends or at least the worst of hte pain. I used to do whatever I could to make them climax faster so it would be over. Marc's brother tortures me with suggestions that I liked it. I didn't like it, I hated it. But I did what I had to do to survive. Maybe this is how your mind is dealing with it too. I know when I am in allot of pain, deep down I think it's good because one of two things is going to happen -- one it will just get worse and kill me, or two the punishment is over and I am released from responsibility of the crime.

Don't know if this helps but just my thoughts.

Alan

_________________________
Those who dance appear insane to those who cannot hear the music. Mark Kleiman

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. Winston Churchill

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#40722 - 02/05/03 11:49 AM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
MrEdd Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 317
Loc: Texas
Victor, you said:
Quote:
Mike, I've only been in recovery 18 months, and the nightmares I had pretty much came & went years ago. What I had to deal with was flashbacks,
which are a bit different. Not much problem with those anymore, for now anyway.
How did you get rid of the flashbacks?

_________________________
Some Things are not problems to be solved, rather, they are facts which must be coped with over time.

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#40723 - 02/05/03 01:31 PM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
MrEdd, I used to have flashbacks years ago, but they have abated. I have a theory, but don't know for sure if it's correct. But here goes: just as the mind gets forgetful with old age, or a computer's hard-drive gets full and kinda slow, so works my theory. I am suggesting that if you fill your mind with heaps and heaps of good memories by just going out and experiencing happy and healthy things, then eventually, in time, the bad flashbacks are pushed to the back of the pecking order. I know this sounds super simplistic, but I think there is some truth to it. Maybe we need to quantine our bad memories as much as we can, then get on with living and looking forward. Peace, Andrew


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#40724 - 02/05/03 03:52 PM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
MrEdd, Mike, Al:

Just wanna toss out some links & a few helps here:


Some links with many good helps:

http://www.stardrift.net/survivor/helping/tsld016.htm

http://mysteryicebengals.tripod.com/id45.htm

A couple of good piece on flashbacks, also nightmares & triggers:

http://www.survivingtothriving.org/triggers

http://www.crcl.org.uk/flashbacks.html


Brief helps from The Mental Health Sanctuary:

Nightmares and day mares are normal for PTSD. They are actually part of the flashback set of symptoms. And I believe they are from a healthy part of people. It is one way your mind is trying to master your trauma (s).

You see, when something happens to people that is overwhelming; they cannot digest or integrate it at the time. But you still need to do that. So your mind continues working to digest this awful event. Kind of like you digest a big meal. One side effect of digesting an overwhelming mean might be heartburn or indigestion. Similarly to that, you have flashbacks while your mind is trying to digest your traumatic event.

Re-framing your experience can help somewhat. Most people are horrified by their flashbacks and judge them as symptoms of 'craziness'. That simply is not the case. Flashbacks are healthy and normal.

Self-talk also works somewhat. What you do is figure out all the logical reasons why you are safe from and no longer vulnerable to the traumas that happened to you. Then you make statements to yourself as if you were your best friend. Some ideas for self-talk in this situation are:

* You are safe now.
* I can take care of you.
* Give yourself your reasons why you are safe.


More detailed tips from http://www.oneinfour.org:

Coping with Flashbacks
If you are finding flashbacks or intrusive thoughts and images difficult to deal with here are some practical steps to help you deal with and cope a little more effectively.

1. Tell yourself you are having a flashback and that this is okay and very normal in people who were traumatised as children (or as adults).

2. Remind yourself that the worst is over - it happened in the past, but it is not happening now. The' child' inside you who was abused is giving you these memories to use in your healing and, however terrible you feel, you survived the awfulness then, which means you can survive and get through what you are remembering now.

3. Call on the 'adult' part of yourself to tell your 'child' that they are not alone, not in any danger now and that you will help them to get through this. Let your child self know it's okay to remember and to feel what they feel and that this will help them in healing from what had happened to them. However hard it is for you, your “child” is communicating in the only way he or she can.

4. Imagine that the images that you see are on a TV screen. Turn the sound down, turn it up again, turn the TV off so that the images fade away. Remember that you can choose whether to remember and re-feel.

5. Try some of these ways of 'grounding' yourself and becoming more aware of the present:

stamp your feet; grind them around on the floor to remind yourself where you are now.
look around the room, noticing the colours, the people, the shapes of things
listen to the sounds around you: the traffic, voices, the washing machine, etc.
feel your body, the boundary of your skin, your clothes, the chair or floor supporting you
have an elastic band to hand (or on your wrist) - you can 'ping' it against your wrist and feel it on your skin - that feeling is in the now, the things you are re-experiencing were in the past.

6. Take care of your breathing: breathe deeply down to your diaphragm; put your hand there just above your navel and breathe so that your hand gets pushed up and down. You can also count - to 5 - as you breathe out and in. When we get scared we breathe too quickly and shallowly and our body begins to panic because we're not getting enough oxygen. This causes dizziness, shakiness and more panic. Breathing slowly and deeply will stop the panic.

7. If you have lost a sense of where you end and the rest of the world begins, rub your body so you can feel its edges, the boundary of you. Wrap yourself in a blanket, feel it around you.

8. Get support if you would like it. Let people close to you know about flashbacks so they can help if you want them to. That might mean holding you, talking to you, helping you to reconnect with the present, to remember you are safe and cared for now

9. Flashbacks are powerful experiences, which drain your energy. Take time to look after yourself when you have had a flashback. You could have a warm, relaxing bath or a sleep, a warm drink, play some soothing music or just take some quiet time for yourself. Your "child”, and you deserve being taken care of, given all you went through in the past.

10. When you feel ready, write down all you remember about the flashback and how you got through it. This will help you to remember information for your healing and to remind you that you did get through it and can again.

11. Remember you are not crazy - flashbacks are normal and you are healing.


Hope you find some of these helpful. I have.

Take care.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#40725 - 02/05/03 05:03 PM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Great ideas Victor. Thanks. Peace, Andrew


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#40726 - 02/05/03 05:48 PM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Andrew, you're welcome.

Those ideas, some of which I've used and some of which I haven't (yet), are summed up pretty well in what you shared:

"...fill your mind with heaps and heaps of good memories by just going out and experiencing happy and healthy things, then eventually, in time, the bad flashbacks are pushed to the back of the pecking order...Maybe we need to quantine our bad memories as much as we can, then get on with living and looking forward."

How true. Hopefully some of these ideas from all over the place well help. Might even help me, my flashbacks have slowed to a trickle but it's too soon to say they've stopped yet. At least it's not the "flash flood" it was for several months in 2001-2002!

Glad yours have abated, Andrew. I wish that for everyone here.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#40727 - 02/05/03 09:25 PM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Thanks everyone for the replies and support. I am so afraid of this addiction that I cant seem to shake. It is much like heroin was. The reason for heroin addiction is that the first time is like nothing else that you have ever experienced. It is like your whole being is turned inside out and really alive. Unfortunately it only happens once and then you chase after it till you kick the habit or die. With the violence I think that although I hated it it was something I was used to because of my early childhood. When the sexual element was added it was like wow they really want me and them the rush from the endorphins was overwhelmning. I knew it was wrong as I knew heroin was wrong but what a high. This continued in my life on the street. I found that I could manipulate the customers by either being high on heroin or booze or both because this would infuriate them because I was imune to the pain, or so they felt. In reality I was cocooned in the pain. So I ask who was the agressor or perpetrator. ME or THEM. God that bothers me, I think sometimes worse than anything else. Was I fulfilling their needs. I dont think so. I was feeding my addiction. On a given week at the height of my prostitution I would have 12-15 clients in a week. I wish that that part of my memory could be deleted as you would a file. I find that the movies I watch are filled with sexual innuendo and violence and I get erections it theatres or watching TV. Them I feel so guilty. I try to put it out of my mind but when I do I find that I punish my body by myself. Today, for example, I really pushed my body at the health club and the pain I felt was intoxicating. I am so sore now and it still feels great. I guess the best way to describe it is that I feel totally alive when it happens and I seem to wait expectantly for the next time. When I read about abuse of others by whoever I become enraged at the perpetrators and the judicial system for lack of conviction most of the time. I could cheerfully murder any and all perpetrators but only after they experienced what they did to others for at least 6 months. That rage is for the innocent but I dont feel the same about the abuse I endured as a child and as a teenager. God I am so screwed up in this. I just cant think straight about it. I feel like a dumb moth being drawn to the flame. I know it is wrong but the hunger is immense.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#40728 - 02/06/03 11:56 AM Re: Survivor-Dealing with Dreams
MrEdd Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 317
Loc: Texas
Thanks for the link Victor. My Bipolar has Re-emerged and I haven't slept in 51 hours. No problem though - I'm not sleepy, Just weepy.

_________________________
Some Things are not problems to be solved, rather, they are facts which must be coped with over time.

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