Nightmares Can Bring You Back to Your Self-Harming Past

April 30, 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham

I’ve been having the most frightening nightmares recently. These dreams could be due to my recent obsession with the new television show, Salem. However, some of these nightmares have been bringing me back to my years of cutting.

One thing is for sure: nightmares filled with negative flashbacks are not good for the struggling and recovering self-harmer.

As many know, even years after your self-injurious behaviors have ended, the urges and thoughts still remain. When you see others with scars covering their arms, your mind brings you back to when you too had fresh marks. When people mention self-harm in a joking manner, you may tend to get anxious and not know how to respond.

These nightmares have brought me back to the bathrooms where I went to cut my arms during high school. The visuals were so graphic and so familiar that I woke up at night, confused. I don’t really know why these nightmares have been happening a couple times a week, but it has made me realize how difficult it is to push the past behind you.

Reality Can be Difficult After a Nightmare

After a dream with memories of self-harm, it can be tough to make it through a day without flashbacks. Don't let nightmares drag you back to a self-harming past.

There are times when we want to forget parts of our past. Some of these moments may involve embarrassment, regret and pain. However, no matter the challenges you have faced in your life, there are good moments that are worth holding onto.

For those who have vivid dreams haunting them, sometimes it’s hard to wake up to the reality you live in without some kind of fear clinging to you. If you had a nightmare filled with visuals of self-harm, you may see scissors or razors or can tabs a little differently that day. If your dream had a flashback of a suicide attempt, you may have that picture in your mind for the whole day.

These nightmares can bring you back to an unsafe place, which could lead to self-injurious behaviors.

Don’t Let Your Past Self-Harm Haunt You

We all know that pushing these visuals away is easier said than done. When vivid memories come to you without warning, your body reacts in an uncontrollable way. We all know we must find our coping skills and use them, but again – it’s not that easy.

As you get ready to throw your alarm clock across the room, think about the coffee machine across from you and how it will make your morning better. Think about the friend you will see when you get to school or the helpful co-worker who lets you vent to them. Give your dog an extra hug before you leave or take a moment to look at some photographs that bring you to a better place.

By being surrounded with positive memories, perhaps your nightmares will turn into dreams of moments from your past you’ll always cherish. Those are the dreams you want to have.

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APA Reference
Aline, J. (2014, April 30). Nightmares Can Bring You Back to Your Self-Harming Past, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 19 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

April, 5 2017 at 10:48 am

Liked this story - suffering from insomnia & since 2002 always have nightmares every

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