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Readers Respond: What Themes Pervade Your Bad Dreams?

Responses: 26


Updated June 02, 2010

From the article: PTSD and Nightmares
We have all had bad dreams, but sometimes we have the same themes occurring over and over. What themes seem to pervade your recurrent nightmares? Whether it is dreaming of being chased or attacked by a monster, many of the themes are common. Tell others about the nightmares you can't seem to avoid. Share Your Experiences

Recuring Nightmares

I'd been having a dream of my baby brother dying, bullet whizzed by older brother's ear as we were going through the swamp. Eventually My baby brother died in the 3rd-4th sequence of that dream. At that time I thought the dreams were nothing. My brother that died in the dream, died in real life of an overdose in March. The dream continued again last night and showed the path to the swamp area was where we used to get into trouble. And that someone/something murdered my brother, not another person. How strange life is. I too am an ex-con. Among the dreams of rape and murder(fork in the road, one way is jail, one way is rape) there are many others. I won't go into that now though. What I do realize though, is that trauma can be confusing and dreams are a way for the body to let us know when something is terribly wrong.
—Guest Anon - Portland, OR

constant nightmares

i have been in prison in the past unfortunately for many years. Now being free for sometime,my dreams have apocalyptic and institutional (prison) themes. I suffer from ptsd and bi-polar disorder.
—Guest anthony cardwell

I dream of being captured, and torture

Ive been suffering from dreams! Where I'm capture ether by CIA Army or police force. I don't know why I have these dreams. I end up being under arrested and tortured. Sometimes I am experimented on, in those dreams. I am strapped to a Table were I can't get free from. Sometimes the dreams get so bad! I can feel the pain! I also some can feel like I'm dying in them. I normally wake up after it though. In real life I had suffered from domestic abuse! But walked away from it. I was survived two murder attempts! In real life, and it still scares me when I think about it.
—Guest Aeris Cetra

Shadowy male figure or heavy object fall

I dream two dreams repeatedly. No matter where I am, I dream a man is standing by my bed & I wake screaming. The other is a heavy object is falling on me & I'm trying to escape. I scream & jump out of the way. Sometimes I lunge out of bed.
—Guest Carol

My best friends raper and murderer

My best friend was raped and murdered and the man just got out of jail and I keep having this dream that he comes after me torture, rapes and then kills me and I have had it every night for 6 months
—Guest anon

Screaming to Wake Up

There's something that gets in bed with me, an unseen force. It will either try to suffocate me, pull the covers over my head and seal me in, or when I try to escape the bed, it pulls me back in. I don't see it, but I most definately feel it. I try to scream, but I know if I don't scream loud enough, I won't wake up, and it may really hurt me. My husband has awakened me several times when he hears me moaning loudly, but for reasons I don't understand, I can't open my mouth and scream. I have figured out how to moan-scream, but it's not the same. I am usually too afraid to go back to sleep. I used to have the dreams weekly, but for the past few years it has only been three or four times.
—Guest Sherrie

can't get relief; also agree with Tom

I agree with Tom, above: sharing details of our nightmares gives others more things to dream about, and to fear... we have enough nightmares and don't need any "bright ideas" to add to our dreams. Having said that I will leave out the details. My dreams constantly involve people I know and love... often, people I've had very recent contact with and have no bad experiences with. Then I fall asleep. The circumstances, people and places vary; the commonality is that it's always trusted people who end up with sinister intent, and I cannot escape. Cannot scream or shout out for help cannot find a phone or when I do it has no 9's or 1's one it... and sometimes I do get the cops and it turns out they are sinister people disguised as someone to help but really they continue to try to hurt or maim me in so many ways. Prazosin 2mg seems to help sometimes but I'm having pounding heart/pulse, sick stomach and increased headaches.
—Guest notthesameanymore

Can't Escape Death

Since high school I have had night terrors about loved ones trying to kill me. It started with my father hunting me down and no matter where I went or how hard I ran he would catch me. Now Things have changed and it is my fiancé who hunts me, then mutilates me in ways that will kill me slowly. Again, I cannot out run him, I cannot hide from him, and no how much I beg and plead he won't stop. Last night he cut off my breasts, then each of my fingers and then stabbed me six times in the abdomen before I woke up. The most reoccurring theme in these dreams is where they take place. They always start or end in my childhood neighbor hood. With me trying to escape to my bestfriends house-rarely succeeding. These dreams are mentally scarring and leave me emotionally unbalanced for a couple of days. I have tried talking, rather hesitantly, to my fiancé about them but he just writes them off as weird dreams.
—Guest scaredpoopless

Strange places, strange people

I have a recurring dream of getting lost in a strange place with strange people unable to find my way home. I lose all my money and my cell phone so I can't buy a travel ticket or call anyone. I feel helpless!
—Guest Rhonda


I dreamt we were burgled, broke the back door window and managed to open the door and came straight into my bedroom, he was fair skinned small, stout, hair cropped with a sharped pointed knife. as he came towards me i woke up
—Guest Karen Adriaanse

Recurring Bad Dreams of Friends Killed

I had friends that were killed when the magazine on their ship exploded during Vietnam, and have had recurring dreams for many years, that wake me up in a sweat, and disturb my sleep. Is this PTSD?
—Guest WillieWelch


I,m a Viet VET W/ PTSD VA doc gave me prazosin 1mg and within io nights was having erections in sleep that wouldn't stop have taken this for three months and now I read about side effects here and will stop taking. I told doc and she never even chacked for me. VA they'll take care of a vet...
—Guest vinny


—Guest PAM

Prazosin does work

I use Prazosin in all my patients with PTSD and/or night terrors. It works well and is safe. Of course, medication is not the only answer. Working with a counselor or therapist is a must. Identifying your triggers and issues so you can develop strategies to cope with them is essential.
—Guest H. Huber

Horrible Attacks

My nightmares can be extremely violent...thankfully I'm on a medicine now that suppresses most of them. I often had nightmares of being raped and tortured in various scenarious by different figures. Generally they don't involve people I know. In every dream I can vividly feel all of the pain of everything going on. The worst one involved a gang of rednecks (think Deliverance) raping me, eating the flesh directly off of my body, then amputating and gutting me alive.
—Guest Mary

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What Themes Pervade Your Bad Dreams?

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