Monday, June 6, 2011

PTSD nightmares resurface

I was going to write a happy post today, about my love of pink and how we've brought that into our new house.

But today isn't that kind of day.  Early this morning, in what was supposed to be a period of restful REM sleep, I found myself in an alternate world of grief.  In my dream we rebuilt our home on a hillside, next to the ocean.  It was still our house even though it was in another location.  I was away from the house (again) and returned to find it leveled.  It was my worst nightmare.  In our real fire, we got our laptops and saved many of our photos.  But this time, they were gone.  The garage was untouched, but the house was gone.  The grief I felt in my dream was the same that I felt standing over my home three years ago.  It was heartbreaking, even if it wasn't real.

I haven't had a PTSD fire nightmare in what I think is at least a year.  I was talking to someone who knows a lot about PTSD recently, and even proudly declared my nightmares gone.  To have them return was, at the very least, jarring and unsettling.

This morning I was trying to understand what might have triggered the dream.  Was it the fire in the foothills Saturday?  Was it reading about the evacuations in Arizona?  Was it my fear last night about falling asleep with the dryer still running?

In the nightmare, I remember the decision not to rebuild anywhere wildfires occurred, preferring to move to a greener, wetter location.  This morning, I questioned whether I could live here with the threat of wildfires a constant presence every summer.  I'm not sure I know the answer to that.  And I'm not sure whether my dreams help or hinder in figuring that out.  Or in overcoming PTSD.

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