I could not wake up this morning even though both girls were tugging at my blanket and bugging me. It took me over an hour to finally wake up all of the way. That never happens. Usually I wake up too much and too easily.

Part of that is cause I had kids in and out of my room all night, despite me desperately putting them back to their bed each time (until like 4… I gave up). And Piper insists on sleeping on my face. But another reason. Is because apparently I was having a nightmare.

Said baby just before falling asleep on said face
Literally 2 am. Trying for the 50000000th time to get them back into their beds. Look at stinker Winnie in the background 😂🙄

This wasn’t like a thrashing around and screaming nightmare (I don’t think… Piper was in bed for most of it and she is uninjured). It was weirdly mellow even though it was horrible. I don’t know where it came from or why. Usually if I have a bad dream it’s connected to a movie I watched or something I heard. I’m assuming most of us are that way. And it’s usually only when I’m pregnant. And I’m not normally a person who remembers my dreams. So that’s another part that was weird.

In it, I was with four old friends. We lived in a tree which was also like a mansion? Dreams are weird. Oh and I could fly. Never had one of those dreams before EVER. Some other random things like I then moved to Australia on the beach (what up my favorite Aussie’s) with Denny and Winnie and we had water surrounding our entire house and our house was basically an island. So that seems dangerous.

The nightmare part though? First Denny disappeared. Then I was told by detectives that Denny’s dad had died (in real life, Denny’s dad died in 2012 before I met him). Then Winnie died. I don’t think she’s ever died in my dreams before. And the detective told me that it was suicide. She’s 3. So I don’t know how that made sense in my dream but it seemed to. How horrific. And then I’m told that Denny took his life by the detectives.

In this dream I felt the same need I did in real life the day after Denny died. I felt I needed to share it openly and honestly. I felt this need to ask people for help and to give them specific ideas on how to help. I also remember desperately trying in the dream to do a post about all of the people who had helped so that I could thank them: the detectives, other officers, people who searched for Denny, etc. I could not get it together enough to do a post. (This is something I can TOTALLY relate to in real life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to write a post of the many people who have helped… it’s impossible. Between the fogginess of my brain and how many hundreds if not thousands of people and businesses who have helped me and my girls… I can never do it. So overwhelming).

So in real life, this dream was on and off all night long. It was so weird. One of the girls would wake me up and once I’d fall back asleep, it would go right back into the dream. Another weird thing was not being able to wake up! I was in and out for like an hour this morning while the girls were fending for themselves (thank you inventor of baby-proofing… no children were harmed in the process of this nightmare… just many messed made). Winnie of course got breakfast for herself and piper and turned on a show. She’s an angel. I also woke up drenched in sweat and with a stinging and throbbing constant headache from clenching my teeth too hard during the night. I apparently was stressed out despite my calm dream-Dani demeanor.

Do you know what I realized about an hour after waking up? Today is 7 months. 7 months since I lost the love of my life for the rest of this life.

So where did this come from? Well, my friends. I reached out to my favorite aunt/social worker. She said it’s very common with PTSD to get nightmares. She said it’s a deeper part of my subconscious healing and trying to find understanfinf. So I did a little more research on my own.

Sleep.org says, “as many as 96% of people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffer from vivid nightmares that can feel overwhelmingly real.” This link has great suggestions for how to help a spouse/significant other deal with PTSD.

The National Sleep Foundation says, “Some people have nightmares that are exact replays of the trauma that they experienced, and these are called “replicative nightmares.” Others have nightmares that are related to the trauma indirectly or symbolically.”

If you want a super smarty farty pants way of saying stuff so that I don’t understand it, check out what the National Center for Biotechnology Information presents in a research article. “Nightmares are considered the hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the characteristics of these distressing dreams may vary with the type of traumatic event, the pathophysiology exposes central dysfunction of brain structures at the level of the hippocampus, amygdala, and locus coeruleus, modulated by neurochemical imbalance in nor-adrenergic, dopaminergic, and serotonin pathways.” I skimmed through this article which is all about the most recent research about PTSD and nightmares. It’s super interesting and heartbreaking, explaining a lot about why so many Veterans and other people who endure lots of trauma are taking their lives. I wish I could ask Denny if he had nightmares about the abuse he received as a child. He had problems sleeping (major insomnia) for MANY years and this could be an indicator of why that was happening.

This is just a big long ramble about my one nightmare. I’m super lucky that I’ve only ever had the one. I could have had more that I don’t remember. But nothing like this. I believe it being 7 months today has something to do with it. I also think that me not writing as much here on my blog could be a big reason. I’m not getting it all out of my brain. While I was posting a lot on social media, I was thinking through and processing things constantly. Then I would have so much support and feedback from your comments and responses that helped me process it even more. I feel like I’m getting more ready to come back. I am working on it. I think it’ll be good once I do. I just have to find a healthy way to do it and to have balance. We’ll get there.

The rest of the day was basically A GIANT DUMPSTER FIRE of a day. I don’t know why these specific dates are sooo bad. I don’t want them to be bad. I thought I would be okay once I was up from the nightmare and functioning. I can have the best attitude and be so hopeful. But it all came tumbling down. And then it did that again. And again. And again. Like 45 times. I had so many just completely random melt downs. It was like those tears when a little kid is mad and they start crying and it’s hard not to laugh because you’re like “Okay, crazy, what emotion is that?” As tears shoot out of their eyeballs like killer laser beams. All of a sudden I would be hardcore crying and then a few minutes later I was okay again. I haven’t had this bad of a day in a long time. At least several weeks. Denny’s birthday was way better. I’m so tired. Not just physically. Every kind of tired. It’s so much. And just when I think I’m doing great again, I have a day like this.

In the meantime, thank you for the continuing love and support of temporarily dumpster fire Dani. I’m so incredibly blessed. I’ll get back to my non-dumpster fire self again soon. Just send me some extra prayers and voodoo juju and good vibes and whatever else you have up your sleeve.

Also, my Australian loves. I’ll still come visit you someday. I apologize you were brought into all of this! My dang subconscious has an issue with you but the rest of me doesn’t hahaha. I LOVE YOU and your “far out” comments ❤️❤️❤️ it’s probably all Denny’s fault anyways. #damnitdenny

5 thoughts on “An Australian Nightmare

  1. Ahhh Dani I’m sorry you had such a shit day 🙁 You’re aunt is probably right, you’re still raw and grieving and processing. Your mind is still trying to make sense of it all while day to day life is moving on quicker and forcing you to go along with it. You’re doing such a great job of managing it all and raising your two little girls!

    I work for a mental health service and someone once used a metaphore to explain PTSD to me, it really helped me understand.

    They said that essentially, the brain is like a factory, processing boxes (events of all the things that happen to us), and once processed these boxes get stacked away neatly in a cupboard (memory). Sometimes we might never see certain boxes again, the ones stored way into the back, sometimes we get our favourite boxes out to look at from time to time or other things come along that remind us certain boxes are in there. With trauma, it’s like the factory has had a box that’s way too big for it to process so it gets jammed, it cant be processed like the others as there’s too much crammed in. The machines get stuck and bits of the box are broken off and overflowing. You might try and tape up the box and try to shove it in the cupboard with all the rest but it’s precarious and delicate, balanced on a shelf. It’s not neatly stored like the others, it stops the door closing properly and sometimes the tiniest of movements (triggers/life) can cause it to come crashing down and spilling out all of it’s contects, so that you are forced to see everything in the box and tidy it up and shove it back onto the shelf again as best you can. You worry about this box a lot, even when you don’t want to, it might suddenly come crashing down. (nightmares/flashbacks/overwhelming emotions/sensations etc.)
    Sometimes, with help from someone else, (counselling/therapy/time/processing) you can get some smaller more secure boxes and separate all the big box rubbish out, putting things neatly back into the cupboard, stacking them safely into something that looks more manageble. One by one. This might take a while, and it’s messy to do. You don’t forget about these boxes because they caused the factory so many problems but, now they are stored properly, you can deal with them in a different way. You’re more in control. They’re not as unstable and don’t come crashing down as often at any old time as unexpectedly as they did before. (Less symptoms)
    (Sorry if this is a rambling post, I hope it makes sense! Just thought it might be helpful for some people to see).

  2. This was helpful. Dealing with a lot of emotional pain lately and it’s hard to discuss (cause I’m a man, and a man’s gotta be manly he say’s puffing his chest out). My whole being aches at your hurt and I feel connected to you in some small way. Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry that you’re having a tough time. I hope that hearing that it was helpful for me, helps you in some small way. Hugs from an internet stranger.

  3. You would fit in really well down here with us in Australia- I for one would give you all THE biggest hug imaginable….. dreams are strange. I’m glad you haven’t had or remembered any others. I could imagine that it really set you up to have a harder time with the 7 month mark than you may have had. You are still an inspiration. You would honestly be forgiven if you were to lock yourself away & never leave the house- but here you , 7 months deep in the most gut wrenching grief & you are not only living but you are making an impact. Take care of yourself as you are so needed x

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