In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Nightmare

It’s the same nightmare every time… I’m in the town of Avgoni on an operation. We’re moving through the woods. Then shots are fired. A soldier next to me is hit in the neck. I try to help him, but it’s hopeless. He’s lost too much blood as he goes into shock. In the dream, I can feel somebody watching me even as the medics move and a platoon secures a perimeter for a helicopter. The kid is young, maybe 20, and I just look into his lifeless blue eyes while the medics move him to the evacuation point. I feel like I’m invisible and nobody in the dream seems to recognize me or realize I’m standing there with a camera and an M-16. Everybody leaves. And then I am back at the Palace, where again I feel invisible. At my desk is a CD with Arabic writing. I pop it into my laptop, and it’s a video of me.

I’m standing over the dead soldier just looking at him. There’s a rustling in the bushes and I look toward the noise… I’m staring directly into the camera. Somebody is speaking in Arabic and strangely, in the dream, I understand it. The people behind the camera simply say “we’re watching you.” Then, the barrel of an AK comes into the frame pointing right at me… this is when I wake up.

The dream has caused many sleepless nights to the point that I don’t fall asleep until 7 or 8 when I can no longer keep my eyes open. Once, I woke up in a different room that I didn’t fall asleep in. Another time, I was sweating profusely. Last night, I spoke of the dream to some friends and it really freaked ‘em out. I also had the dream again last night. This time, I called one of those 1-800 help lines the army provides. When I made the call, I realized my hands were trembling. I think I was more afraid of just talking to somebody… it’s hard to admit something like this, but I don’t want it to control my life. In other words, I know I need help.

The lady on the other end was sweet. She asked me all sorts of questions, like how do you feel around people. I answered truthfully… I feel uncomfortable around everybody even close friends. I’m always on edge, unless I have a few drinks in me. And I hate being in crowded places. I told her the only time I feel at ease is when I’m in my car all alone just driving and listening to Crosby Stills Nash and Young or when I’m running with my dog. She said that’s because I’m in control of the situation and that everything I’m feeling and going through is completely normal. She commended me for calling and set up an appointment for a counselor.

I’ve never been to a shrink before, but I’m not ashamed or afraid. I just don’t want to deal with it 10 years from now. I survived a war, and I’m going to make damn sure I survive peace.

119 Comments:

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I think I can speak for a lot of your readers. We're here for you if you need it. For all you've you done for us and this country, the least we can do is let you bend our ears.

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger Kara said...

You are having a completely normal reaction; you've just experienced a year that few of us can fully comprehend. Find yourself a wonderful counselor and cut yourself some slack. It took you a year to get to this point, so it may take a little time to work through it- but you will!

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

Michael's comment above speaks for me too. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I am glad that you also posted here because I am guessing your rough adjustment is not that abnormal. One of my nepew's had panic attacks while driving (the phantom IED on the roadside) and trouble sleeping right after he came home. He was a driver while in Iraq so I it makes sense to me that his symptons would surround driving. He too decided to get help and from what I understand it helped him tremendously.

The other day when you posted your recent pictures it made me think about your particular deployment. When my stryker nephew came home it was with the advance party. It was good to have him physically back in the states, but I also felt that he would not truly be home in spirit until his buddies joined him. Then I think of you, while you were with the 3/2 you probably developed a closeness to at least some of these soldiers. Then they left and you worked with the 1/25. It probably helps a lot that your unit all deployed together but I wondered when I looked at those photos and could feel your closeness to the 1/25, how rough it may be to leave these new buddies behind. There are so many variables that impact a soldier during their decompression period (and no two are exactly the same). I have a feeling that your post may help another soldier to make that call, or tell someone they need that extra help.

Please get all of the help you need to feel better again. Also, I hope that if you feel comfortable with it, that you will continue to post about your experience both in Iraq and returning home.

 
At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally sent via email 1/23/05:
Just a note to add my "Thanks!" to you for your service to your country. I've been all over the world, and the best part of every trip is getting back to the good 'ol US of A. Makes you appreciate being here so much more, doesn't it?

A word of caution, (if I may be so bold, and in case you haven't already gotten it in your de-briefings) beware the guilt you may come to feel and recognize that adrenalin is addictive. Many soldiers suffer from a subconscious sense of guilt under your circumstances for having left others behind to complete the task, and after a year of regular exposure to adrenalin rushes, find being home a let down when the homecoming blush wears off. Hopefully, you will not have to deal with these issues, but if you do, realize they are a normal, natural and not uncommon reaction typical to the returning warrior, and guard against their effect.

Take pride in your contribution and enjoy the coming years. You've earned it.

A fellow vet,
Vietnam - 67/68/69

 
At 1:46 AM, Blogger Brian H said...

You might like to try this viewpoint on for size: keeping back your memories, thoughts, and experiences from the war because non-sodiers can't possibly understand is a big mistake. It's true that the reference points aren't there, but consider the very, very, common scenario that happens within families, in which Daddy the vet never speaks of his experiences to his kids, despite direct questions, and even makes it uncomfortable for them to bring the subject up. Later, he dies, and the kids are left with an aching hole where all that desire to share and understand was.

Your civilian environment is a lot like that. If you don't open a bit and communicate, who will? People will survive your telling them things, and actually be richer for it. And you will be "combing your own hair" free of some of those nasty knots and tangles just by the "looking at and speaking about" process. It's simple but immensely powerful.

P.S. Just don't let anyone, shrinks included, tell you what you think or feel or why. Those two "W"s are your personal prerogative. Others' ideas are NOT helpful.
Good luck.

 
At 6:20 AM, Blogger Joy said...

Several years ago I had dreams similar to yours, each dream was more intensified as time went on until I was afraid to even try to go to sleep. I was/am a pediatric ICU nurse in a large regional center, and as a result it was trauma, trauma, trauma all the time. I realized I needed to talk to someone and like you, made that important phone call... it took twice, the dreams stopped, and have never returned. But it gave me an insight into what REAL post traumatic stress is... and I am in awe of young men and women like yourself who have done and are doing the jobs you all have, and are able to come home and still enjoy the pleasures of Abby and your car and your freedom of movement. This will pass... it really will... good that it reared it's head now, when you are safe, and can seek the people who can help. You're fine... this is just a speed bump that is expected. Know we are here for you, if only or especially in our thoughts and prayers.

 
At 7:13 AM, Blogger Boobabe said...

It helps to talk about things. It may help to talk to a stranger (therapist/ us) we have no expectations of you. We just listen and once in awhile offer a thought or solution based on our life experience.

To me the war is kinda like losing weight, it comes on and affects you so quickly, in a blink of an eye and without much effort but can take years to get under control. It takes alot longer and much more effort to lose 10 pounds than it takes to gain it and it will take a lot longer to cope with the ravages of war than it took to live them.


The worst part is that your friends and family want to help you but they are powerless, you may not feel comfortable confiding all of your lonely secrets. It's not that you don't trust them, you just don't want them to worry and you want to be the strong one, you are after all a soldier.

But remember before you were a soldier you were a person and we all have that inner child that needs to be nutured. Let yourself be nutured. You deserve to live in the same peaceful world that you helped to provide for the rest of us.

 
At 7:47 AM, Anonymous Q said...

yo, Sminkie... i can't improve on the statements posted above, only back them up. i'm no soldier but have had more than my share of bad dreams.(my sisters can vouch for some) so i can identify with that part. as far as the other i agree with the others, especially the vet. now there's a knowlegable source. we love ya here in Dallas, Sminkie! hang in there after all, you ARE a warrior

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger V.L. said...

My heart goes out to you and very proud that you made the call and was not afraid to do so.

So many others think they can handle it on their own and find that is not the case.

We are so proud of you and the other soldiers that have come and gone over to Iraq and served for our country.

Know that you have many cyber friends who want you to seek and get the help you need to adjust to your life as a civilian again and know we care about you

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Bloomntn said...

Smink,
Thank you for letting us know what you are going through. You will be in my prayers.
Valerie

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Bloomntn said...

Smink,
Thank you for letting us know what you are going through. You will be in my prayers.
Valerie

 
At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you regarding your dreams and adjustment. You might also find a Chaplain helpful. We are trained specifically for Critical Incident Stress debriefings and hold the STRICTEST confidentiality standard. A Chaplain can also help with the spiritual side of healing, allowing your own faith to be your strongest asset in getting back on your feet. God's love for you is HUGE and He can bring joy to your heart that can heal any trauma and resolve old wounds.

Blessings,
Fr. Wes
Chaplain, Air National Guard

 
At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know you're going to talk to someone about this dream now instead of drinking for ten years or more first. Drinking is for thirst or pleasure, not forgetfulness. I know too many cops and soldiers who did the drinking first and some of them never got around to doing the talking that they needed to do the most.

And after you're done talking to someone paid to listen, try to get more of your fellow soldiers to talk -- either to you or to someone. That sort of talk is not cheap; it's important.

 
At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bud...

It helps and it doesn't help. Kinda weird, but you'll "get it" after a while.

Don't be afraid to talk about it. There is no shame in asking for help. If there was, there wouldn't be a single coaching position in professional sports! None of those guys need help, do they?

Rule number one:Talk about it. Rule number two--see rule number one.

OregonGuy

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger FVK said...

I can only imagine what you're going through. Sounds like you're on the right track for dealing with this. I'll be thinking of you. Keep the faith.

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I'm so glad you made that call! :)

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

I am sorry to hear about your troubles. It is surely not helpful to hear this, but I believe this is a very common reaction to being in a stressful and difficult situation. I wish there were something I could do to help...if there is, please let me know.

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Jim in WA said...

Good for you. The first step in dealing with a problem is admitting that there is a problem. You've made the hard one, and I have no doubt that you'll get through this. The dreams may never go away (like you wanted to hear that), but you will be better able to cope with them now.

Please involve your family as they will provide support for you that no doctor/priest can.

Take care soldier.

 
At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday.. I pray for you at night when I say my prayers.. I will continue to do so for you and for all of our military personnel.
You can handle this Smink! I have absolute, steadfast faith in you.
God Bless You and Keep You.

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger membrain said...

You made the right decision Smink. Nothing I can except that my thoughts are with you.

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger membrain said...

You made the right decision Smink. Nothing I can except that my thoughts are with you.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger membrain said...

You made the right decision Smink. I can't add anything to what's already been said except that I'm thinking of you.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger membrain said...

You made the right decision Smink. I can't add anything to what's already been said except that I'm thinking of you.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

My friend and yours, Julie sent me your blog and I have been reading it to get a idea of what your year was like. I went through it about 15 years ago and as a journalist, too. I will continue to say my prayers for you. Take care and let me know if you need anything.

 
At 9:10 PM, Blogger FbL said...

You've received some wonderful advice in the above comments, and it sounds like you're taking the right actions and attitude about it all. Good for you!

A combat vet once told me that it sometimes takes more courage to deal with what happens after combat than it does during. So, I respect and honor you immensely for having the courage to confront the aftermath.

I wish I could take that dream away from you. But all I can do is say that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Truly.

Please take the advice of all the wonderful comments above, and know you are still held tenderly and respectfully in our hearts. We're here for you.

 
At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Gina Rae said...

How can such deep-imprinted images sleep in us at times, till a word, a sound, awaken them? ~ Lessing

Difficulties show men what they are.
In case of any difficulty God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil. ~ Epictetus

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Sgt. B. said...

I'm going to echo the previous sentiments...
You have engaged in a meaningful and important operation, where your actions have positively and directly impacted the lives of thousands, if not millions.
You have seen the best and worst of humanity, and there will be some issues that you will struggle with...
Don't internalize this, lest it fester into a problem that is larger than what you are willing to cope with.
We are with you. We supported you when you were getting ready to go, we supported you while you were there, and we will continue to support you as you return home, and get back into the business of living life.
PLEASE, there are plenty of combat vets who have experiences the same "post-game jitters", seek them out. Not only will they give you a sympathetic ear, but they will re-live through the "glory days" of their own service, and through you, perhaps resolve some issues that gnaw upon their souls, all the while, giving you the change to unlimber the troubles of yours. They will listen to you, cry with you, advise you, and protect you as you exorcise your own demons.
And, when the sun rises, and dawn breaks, you will dry your tears, regain your bearing, and leave this enclave of veterans with a lighter heart, your honor intact, and with a stronger understanding of this Band of Brothers (and Sisters), who stand ready to render what assistance you require.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!

Semper Fidelis, war-fighter! Welcome home, and WELL DONE!

 
At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It took courage to make that phone call...but then we all knew you had courage. Keep the faith. You'll work through this situation.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger AFSister said...

Very well written, as usual, and so open and honest about a very real problem that can exist for years.

My Dad is a Vietnam vet, and he never talks about it. He still, to this day, cringes as the sound of military helos. I went to the traveling Wall with him this past summer- but he couldn't get within 50 yards of it before stopping and just sitting down. He used to freak out whenever I woke him up from naps too. And rage- boy did that man have a temper problem.

PTSD is a very real and dangerous problem which I am VERY glad you recognize and are seeking help for. We're all here for you, but it's not the same as seeking professional help. I hope you include this chapter in your book- it needs to be heard.

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Chad said...

I'm glad that you've made the call. Don't be ashamed, and don't get to feeling like you are any less of a man, or a soldier, because of this. I highly reccomend a chaplain, as most of them are trained/being trained to specifically deal with this type of thing. There's a lot of the soldiers returning home, and there's a good chance that others in your unit have been/are going through this same thing. We're seeing it in our unit, and in units across our RRC. We'll pray for you, and we'll be happy to help if you need us.

 
At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Ron said...

I know exactly what you are going through. I went through the same sequence of events in 1970. The sooner you get counselling the shorter the duration of counselling may be, I know it was for me. The longer you wait the more harm will be done to yourself and possibly others.

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know we've never met, but I'm really proud of you!! I can just picture you shaking when you made that phone call. It is scary to reach out for help, but I'm so glad to hear you did. I'm betting you feel a little better already just knowing that you are taking steps to help yourself. At least I hope that is true.

It is really awesome for you to post this on your blog. Not just because we (your regular readers) appreciate knowing how you are, but because there is a great chance that just reading this post will help someone else. And hopefully help you sort things out as well. Keep us posted as much as you feel comfortable with.

Thoughts and prayers for you from Green Bay, WI!!

Renee

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Sammy said...

One of the weirdest things I've experienced in my nearly 15 years of military service...well...aside from the tower shot at and the long whistles of incoming mortars because the longer the whistle the more you hug the friggin' ground or on convoy not knowing if that Volkswagen Passat coming up in the left lane was going to be the one the gun truck in front of you was going to have to light up with the 240...was putting the BDU's on yesterday for the first day of some temporary duty...and my BDU's have "The Patch"...Second Infantry Divison...The Arrowhead Division...called "The Patch" by a captain I saw in the hallway who was in the Second ID in Korea a few years ago...on the right shoulder...and you get to the state headquarters building...and alot of the full time Guard people you encounter see "The Patch"...and act somewhat taken aback...a few because you just don't see too many Guard personnel with a Second ID patch on the right shoulder of their BDU's...but others...because they seem a little jealous they didn't go over...and a few get all huffy...then there are a couple who for no reason at all, in my opinion...feel bad because they got deployed to SW Asia but ended up in Kuwait or Qatar the whole time...and they don't want to talk to you, either...it's just different...hard to explain...

I don't have the nightmares my buddy Fred has had...but the re-adjusting from a combat zone and the operational tempo one's respective unit was at and then coming home...is one helluva thing to work through...affects different people different ways...like everything...

But I'll tell ya. It's the occaisonal high pitched whistles certain construction machinery makes that just about sends me into ground huggin' mode.


SSG J

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Yes, the memories of your friends and your experiences will always be with you. Your memory of them and what you did can either help you or hurt you.

I didn't think I had a problem after I got back to the world in 70, (actually late 69, but I was in the hospital until spring 70)

But I did.

I let it simmer and lived with it, without acknowledging it for almost twenty years.

I was helped by an ex-boss to hook up with some vets and get some help. My only regret is that I didn't get help much earlier.

My friends still sometimes visit me in the night, but they are good visits now, reminding me and reassuring me that they know I loved them and they loved me.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

 
At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st, glad you made it home safe, 2nd glad you're getting help. It's important. Been reading your site for a long, long time, never posted anything. I live in a burb of Milwaukee, maybe that is why I always took an interest to your writings. I am in the military, did a stint in Afghanland, understand/appreciate what you're going thru. Maybe not all the intricacies, but hell, no one does. Need to talk to someone, drop me a line.

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous thad lucken said...

Hey buddy, youre the strongest when you ask for help. If we were taught that as kids the world would be a better place. If you believe there's no cure,youre right. If you believe that you can get through it, you can. My Dad went in at Inchon and stayed through the whole show. He came home and helped as many VN vets as he could but it all boiled down to wysiwyg to him. Therapy and talking will help but you have to believe it will and that youre fixable. We need you still and want the best for you. Despite the losers and machomen screwing things up over there the world is still a wonderful place firstly and people have to really work at screwing it up. Believe in you like we do and it will all work out, right? Hooah! And WELCOME BACK!!

 
At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Sgt. B. and Papa Ray said!
There's a reason VFW has been around for .... near forever.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

Wow Smink, my heart wants to make it all go away! I know that this does not compare, but I use to have night terrors from childhood trauma. In counceling I was told to go into the dream and take control of it. Weird but sometimes I did wake up before the worst part. Hang in there and know we are all here and PROUD you made the call.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Army Mom said...

I am so glad that you made that call. As I told my own son this evening, it is important to take care of yourself...to keep yourself strong...and to seek out help when something is wrong.

The only difference between a physical injury and a psychological injury is that you can see the physical one. Both hurt and both need to be cared for.

Take care...and thank you.

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger Kat said...

As many have posted here, you're not alone.

My father was 21 years on the force and retired with disability. He was diagnosed with PTSD.

Post traumatic stress comes in two forms: Syndrome - which is the short version (anywhere from a couple of days to a year) and "disorder" which is the long term, chronic version.

People from all walks of life suffer from PTSS or PTSD. Normally from either constant life or death situations or one time, extremely traumatic events.

I don't know what anyone has explained to you about it, but I thought if you understood it a little, you could relax. Don't forget about it, but realize it can be treated.

People who suffer from PTSD usually do because they never recognize that they were suffering from PTSS in the first place or they think that there is something horribly wrong with themselves and they don't want to tell anyone for fear of their reactions.

particularly people who have been or are in positions of authority.

Police officers and firemen often suffer (along with soldiers) because they don't want to burden their loved ones with details of the ugly world they've seen.

As a daughter of a man who suffers from the chronic version, I can tell you that it was much easier to listen to him tell me details about things I might never fully understand than to find him with a gun in his hand talking about how he was going to make it go away.

So talk, write, sing, paint, whatever. Tell the moon, the wind, your chaplain, your dad, tell us, don't hold it in, ever and don't think that you are less for it.

We may never walk in your shoes, we may never be there, but we will never judge you as something less.

I guarantee it.

You're not alone.

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger Huntress said...

PTST is something that requires professional help...Career Marines and Soldiers cannot often get help for fear of having their careers negatively affected. The Militarys Mental Health initiative called Resiliancy is proving to be effective.

The first Marine I ever met wjp fought in both Afghanistan and Iraq....suffers from PTST. Its been so hard on me knowing I cannot help him...as I look into his eyes..I see such deep pain..he drinks to feel better and to numb the pain. He walks in his sleep..when he can sleep...and he does exhibit moments of depression and of paranoia....he doesnt like being in crowded environments.

He cannot seek the help he knows he needs because it would ruin his career..and that is what he loves more than life...he loves being a Marine......I have seen the pain and at times the torment in his eyes and it hurts me to know that I can do nothing to help him...he has emotions that he needs to talk about...he can be funny charming one moment..and dark and distant the next. he is super intelligent and he handles his anxiety and depression very well for the most part. But his nightmares have taken a toll on his personal relationships. I am one of the few people in his life who has not passed judgement nor walked away from him.

In spite of all this..he continues to serve his country...its what he is most passionate about...he is after all a career Marine.

The battles fought in distant lands are often easier than those the inner battles we struggle with.

PTST cannot be dealt with on your own.I want you to know how very important and very courageous it is that you chose to seek help.

Now the healing can truly begin!

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger Angel said...

Smink,

Not sure where this one comes from, but I always liked it.

"Courage does not always roar like a lion from our lips. Sometimes, it is the quiet little voice inside of you at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow"."Everyone else has pretty much said it all already.

Chasing ghosts was the hardest part of coming back home, don't chase them alone. Whether it's another phone you pick up, a friends shoulder you borrow, or a pen and journal, exercise the ghosts, let them rest and find your peace.

We'll be thinking of you and again as everyone else has already said, don't hesitate to drop a line at any time.

Angel

 
At 9:41 PM, Blogger Kat said...

Huntress...you're Marine probably needs to leave the Marines.

I know he loves it, but if it has gone to that point, he will eventually come to the point where he is no longer operational and will be forced out under less than honorable conditions.

My father was afraid of the same thing. Of course, back in those days, going to the "shrink" still had a nasty stigma attached to it and yes, could ruin your career. But, there is a point where its the career or self destruction. My father chose his career and ended up without a career and at the point of self destruction.

Our friend Smink here is far from that. Your friend sounds like he is close to it.

What you can do is lend an ear and keep listening, but I highly suggest that you find a support group for you and maybe some non-military organization that could help your friend without getting his military career in jeopardy. that's if it's not too late.

I have much information on this and would be happy to provide it.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Toni said...

Smirkie - I read your blog but was not a commenter (maybe once). You are one outstanding man. I have found so many commendable soldiers like you in this war we are fighting. Even home, you are showing the courage needed to survive. Good wishes and prayers to you.

 
At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smink, I think you're going to wind up one of the best-adjusted returnees, since you have the "luxury" (relatively) of a worldwide outlet through this blog. Posts like this, that document in vivid detail the trouble you're having, not only garner support and sympathy from complete strangers, you can even get a smattering of professional opinions.

If every one of our heroes re-entering civilian life had a blog to get bad memories off their chests, I think there would soon come a day when Vietnam-style "flashbacks" were viewed as being the product of the same type of regretful, preventable medical error as civil war soldiers losing limbs to gangreen just because they didn't have the meds to prevent it. Everyone needs this kind of outlet. Even if most of us readers don't know how to directly help, we can offer you thanks and support.

 
At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Smink, I feel terrible that you have to go through this, but so grateful you found the strength to make that call.

Keep talking to us. We love you and are here for you.

 
At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, smink. i was plagued with nightmares for decades after my mother died. to my surprise, over time, they evolved and changed.
some thoughts on ways to alter them: one is, recreate the scenario with willing actors, and go thru it very slowly, so you can feel your inner process and 'stop the tape' at any point for as long as you need to. puts you in control of the scenario and gives you alternative endings and outcomes.
another way is gentle hypnosis with ground rules beforehand, agreeing that it is only a 'tape' that you can freeze at any time, can rewind, and can change the direction of wherever you say to.
kind of like Neo in the Matrix, when he discovers that he can manipulate it because he's figured out how it's done.
The reenating is called Psychodrama.you can address characters,you can stop the action, you can try taking the place of another character, you can step out of the scene and talk 'outside the box'--all of which adds material to your nightmare's script and gives you new memories you can use the next time you find yourself back in dreaming the nightmare. something as small as adding a scene where you find the enemy's nest of ammo and relace it with blanks so when that AK pokes out, you know that they dont know they're empty.

ask your counselor for more ideas.

janet in venice

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viet Vet, Glad you didn't wait like I did. Got out in '69 and sought treatment in 2003. Still have nightmares,but I really feel the therapist and group meetings help. Take care of yourself and don't be afraid to talk about your experiences. I never did and I think that was my problem, GOOD LUCK!!!!!

 
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