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I have been raped by an ex, and probably sexually abused (signs point to that, there is a family history, but I have no memories - it doesn't bother me a great deal b/c I can't remember anything). 

 

I think at one point I probably had PTSD - I had trouble dealing with the rape, anyways, though I'm okay now.  A difficult time vs. PTSD, who knows. 

 

I'm not asking to be dx'd. 

 

But I still have nightmares sometimes.  Sometimes they're about my ex, sometimes not.  But about being assaulted or attacked. 

 

But surely women who have not been raped sometimes have these dreams?

 

Are dreams a potential indicator of PTSD?  A social worker once dx'd me with it, but that was more of a 'well you've been raped and SA so obviously you have it' not a 'these are your symptoms so you have it'. 

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Persistent nightmares are a part of the criteria. But not the only one.

I think that some people have nightmares afterward and some don't. I think that some people heal more easily than others. Or are more resilient. I think that people who are scared of that, without that experience, are more likely to have generic fear nightmares, rather than of the specific fear.

Either way, nightmares suck! I hate them and get them in cycles. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My tdoc from years back told me that my nightmares were a consequence of my PTSD.

 

My trauma pattern fortunately didn't involve rape, but instead emotional and financial abuse followed by diagnosis with a terminal physical illness.  My parents, who live 40 miles away from me, still scream at me constantly in my dreams.  They don't want to pay for this or that, and I find out from some doctor that I'm going to die tomorrow.

 

Certainly a hyperbole if not contradiction to my real life, where my parents apologized for how they treated me and would never scream at me again, and where my 'terminal' illness actually gives me another 20-30 years.

 

But PTSD is a b*tch that way.  Our dreams never follow reality.

 

My tdoc's specific theory is that our worst nightmares are of rehearsing for when that saber-toothed tiger was going to come chasing after us back when we were evolving as humans.  Instead of the saber-toothed tigers, we now have rapists, abusers, and illnesses...

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Are dreams a potential indicator of PTSD?

Dreams can be an indicator of possibly having PTSD but at mentioned by someone else, it is only one of the criteria. If you believe you have PTSD, I would suggest talking to either a pdoc or tdoc about it.

 

I have persistent nightmares which I can usually recall, night-terrors which I usually can't recall, and insomnia from being terrified of sleeping, all from multiple rapes, sexual abuse, psychical abuse, and witnessing a homicide in my 20s. For me at least my nightmares are a part of my PTSD, but there are other things too; like flashing back when my ex came up behind me and placed his hands on my shoulders close to my neck. I immediately flashed backed to one of my rapes and had an instant panic attack. Certain types of TV shows or movies can cause flashbacks, so it's more than just having nightmares.

 

You mention possibly being sexually abused as a child but can't recall the abuse, this is called dissociative amnesia and is not that uncommon where traumatic events are involved. For me, while I have dissociative amnesia of some events in my past (heck I've lost chunks of my life), parts of those blocked memories occasionally seep into my nightmares; those are the worst nightmares for me since I'm left with a new piece of the puzzle to deal with when I wake up.

 

As I mentioned above, nightmares can be an indicator of possibly having PTSD but only a qualified professional can diagnosis if you have it or not. PTSD isn't pretty and I pray you don't have it...

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