If you are assaulted by violent and emotionally devastating mental pictures during the night ~ you wake up, rebuke the enemy, pray and take your thoughts captive to the Truth.
The Truth? …No, you weren’t really abducted by aliens and your spouse tortured and killed in front of you. No, your house didn’t turn into the witch’s candy house in which you’re in danger of being turned into stew for her supper…No, the Nazi’s haven’t regained power and begun systematically exterminating Christians. At least not yet. 🙂 😦
But during the day? Fully awake, with visions of a loved one engulfed in flames, horrible disfigurements, or an accident claiming limbs, or a drowning and you can’t do anything to save them….How do you respond to something like this?
I think the temptation is to let the image play out, as if to see the rest of a storyline, even if the emotions that accompany are powerfully negative. But it can tormentt ~ worse than a nightmare because you’re awake, and presumably “in control” of your thoughts. “What kind of monster am I?!”
Honestly, the battle is the same. Speak Truth to yourself, turn to God in prayer and fix your mind’s eye on Jesus’ face and your faith on his goodness. Anything else is…well, emotionally self-indulgent and destructive.
If you feel you can’t “turn it off” or “make it stop” ~ involve a loving, godly friend to pray with you, to find Scripture to strengthen your faith (pray through Ephesians 6, perhaps, or Colossians 3:1-4, or Philippians 4:4-9, or choose a praise Psalm, or a Gospel so you can refamiliarize yourself with Jesus’ voice).
Note! An imagination is a powerful gateway to spiritual realities … the entrance MUST be guarded by the HOLY Spirit.