Make Time For Yourself
Letting your loved ones PTSD become dominant in your life and forgetting about your own needs will quickly lead to burnout. You have to take care of yourself if you want to be able to help your loved one.
- Make sure that you eat and sleep properly and take care of your physical needs.
- Lean on other members of the family for support or join a support group for families of PTSD sufferers.
- Dont give up the things that you enjoy, such as hobbies, friends, or other activities that you enjoy.
How Can I Communicate Better
You and your family may have trouble talking about feelings, worries, and everyday problems. Here are some ways to communicate better:
- Be clear and to the point.
- Be positive. Blame and negative talk won’t help the situation.
- Be a good listener. Don’t argue or interrupt. Repeat what you hear to make sure you understand, and ask questions if you need to know more.
- Put your feelings into words. Your loved one may not know you are sad or frustrated unless you are clear about your feelings.
- Help your family member put feelings into words. Ask, “Are you feeling angry? Sad? Worried?”
- Ask how you can help.
- Don’t give advice unless you are asked.
If your family is having a lot of trouble talking things over, consider trying family therapy. Family therapy is a type of counseling that includes your whole family. A therapist helps you and your family communicate, maintain good relationships, and cope with tough emotions.
During therapy, each person can talk about how a problem is affecting the family. Family therapy can help family members understand and cope with PTSD.
Your health professional or a religious or social services organization can help you find a family therapist who specializes in PTSD.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Helping someone with PTSD can be hard on you. You may have your own feelings of fear and anger about the trauma. You may feel guilty because you wish your family member would just forget all the problems and get on with life. You may feel confused or frustrated because your loved one has changed, and you may worry that your family life will never get back to normal.
All of this can drain you. It can affect your health and make it hard for you to help your loved one. If you’re not careful, you may get sick yourself, become depressed, or burn out and stop helping your loved one.
To help yourself, you need to take care of yourself and have other people help you.
Tips to care for yourself
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People With Ptsd Often Feel Unlovable
D. is beautiful inside and out. Not only is he strikingly handsome, he is smart, caring, and compassionate. But he didnt feel he was deserving of love, or even remotely loveable.
Traumatic experiences, in addition to being scary and impacting our sense of safety, very often have a direct effect on our cognition, says Irina Wen, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone Health.
Usually those effects are negative. As a result, the patient might start feeling undeserving and unlovable, or that the world is a dangerous place and people should not be trusted, she explains.
Over time, these negative thoughts become generalized so that negativity permeates all aspects of life. They can also carry over into a relationship.
D. would often ask me what I saw in him, how I could love him. This deep insecurity shaped how I treated him, with more reassurances without prompting.
D. needed a lot of time and attention from me. Because he had lost so much in his life, he had an almost controlling grip on me, from needing to know every detail of my whereabouts and having meltdowns when the plan changed last minute, to expecting me to be loyal to him above my own parents, even when I felt he didnt always deserve it.
In believing that he was unlovable, D. also created scenarios that cast him as such. When he was angry, hed express it by taking horrific jabs at me.
How Can I Deal With Anger Or Violent Behavior
Your family member may feel angry about many things. Anger is a normal reaction to trauma, but it can hurt relationships and make it hard to think clearly. Anger also can be frightening.
If anger leads to violent behavior or abuse, it’s dangerous. Go to a safe place and call for help right away. Make sure children are in a safe place as well.
Set a time-out system
It’s hard to talk to someone who is angry. One thing you can do is set up a time-out system. This helps you find a way to talk even while angry. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Agree that either of you can call a time-out at any time.
- Agree that when someone calls a time-out, the discussion must stop right then.
- Agree to tell each other where you will be and what you will be doing during the time-out. Tell each other what time you will come back.
While you are taking a time-out, don’t focus on how angry you feel. Instead, think calmly about how you will talk things over and solve the problem.
After a time-out
- Take turns talking about solutions to the problem. Listen without interrupting.
- Use statements starting with “I,” such as “I think” or “I feel.” Using “you” statements can sound accusing.
- Be open to each other’s ideas. Don’t criticize each other.
- Focus on things you both think will work. It’s likely you will both have good ideas.
- Together, agree which solutions you will use.
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Losing A Loved One: Grief And Addiction Recovery
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- By Nicole
Grieving is a normal process that occurs when experiencing the death of a loved one, or even just a person you knew. When experiencing & talking about grief, its important to note that it is different from chronic depression. Grieving in general can be difficult, and especially difficult when trying to maintain recovery from addiction. We understand that grief can cause issues in maintaining sobriety and we want to help provide our clients with different resources that can help them overcome those temptations and obstacles. When life gets tough, its imperative to know that sobriety is still maintainable.
Tip : Support Treatment
Despite the importance of your love and support, it isnt always enough. Many people who have been traumatized need professional PTSD therapy. But bringing it up can be touchy. Think about how youd feel if someone suggested that you needed therapy.
Wait for the right time to raise your concerns. Dont bring it up when youre arguing or in the middle of a crisis. Also, be careful with your language. Avoid anything that implies that your loved one is crazy. Frame it in a positive, practical light: treatment is a way to learn new skills that can be used to handle a wide variety of PTSD-related challenges.
Emphasize the benefits. For example, therapy can help them become more independent and in control. Or it can help reduce the anxiety and avoidance that is keeping them from doing the things they want to do.
Focus on specific problems. If your loved one shuts down when you talk about PTSD or counseling, focus instead on how treatment can help with specific issues like anger management, anxiety, or concentration and memory problems.
Acknowledge the hassles and limitations of therapy. For example, you could say, I know that therapy isnt a quick or magical cure, and it may take a while to find the right therapist. But even if it helps a little, it will be worth it.
Encourage your loved one to join a support group. Getting involved with others who have gone through similar traumatic experiences can help some people with PTSD feel less damaged and alone.
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Tips For Helping Someone With Ptsd
When it comes to helping someone with PTSD, it can feel overwhelming. It is a serious disorder that can have a significant impact on a persons life. Its not up to you as a friend or loved one to try and cure someone with PTSD or force them to get help.
What you can do is take positive steps to show them you care and that you support them. You can also encourage them to seek treatment or find online support through teletherapy, although its ultimately up to that person whether or not they do. Here are nine different ways you can help a loved one with PTSD.
How To Support Someone Close To You With Ptsd
It can be just as challenging being in a relationship with someone with PTSD even if you dont live with them. Since social interaction with family and close friends can help those with PTSD overcome their disorder, its important to let your friend know that they have your support. Often, this small gesture can have a powerful influence on PTSD sufferers because it encourages open communication.
Additionally, if your loved one or close friend needs todiscuss their feelings or what theyre going through, listen actively, and avoid giving unnecessary advice. Instead, let your friend speak freely, express what theyre feeling, or ask for further help coping.
Encourage your loved one to participate in relaxing activities with you. Choose activities that are relaxing and that wont induce stress. Some fun and relaxing activities to do with friends include yoga, biking, walking along nature trails, and other peaceful activities that can help reduce stress and boost both of your moods. Its also important to let your friend bring up their trauma if they feel they need to. In this case, listen and avoid changing the topic of discussion. This open communication is something that can help them heal.
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What Is Ptsd & What Does It Look Like
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition that people sometimes experience after encountering a life-threatening or traumatic event. PTSD is often associated with military veterans because of the trauma that often occurs in war and battle, but individuals who are not involved with the military can also be afflicted by the disorder. PTSD affects people of all ages, background, and gender. In the US, its estimated that over 14 million adults are affected by PTSD.
What PTSD looks like can vary from one person to the next. Not everyone responds to trauma in the same way. However, there are some commonalities among individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD. Generally, the disorder is characterized by the experience of one or more of the following symptoms for a time period lasting longer than one month:
- Re-experiencing of trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, or memories
- Emotional disconnection or numbness or a tendency to avoid certain people, things, or places related to the event.
- Feelings of hyperarousal that are often described as feeling on edge, being easily irritable, feeling jumpy, or feeling like one is in a constant state of danger
How To Help Someone With Complex Ptsd
Its awful to see someone you love suffer. You see how anxious and triggered they can get. Their mood swings. You see how troubled they become in intimate relationships. And you say to yourself I wish I knew how to help someone with Complex PTSD.
Complex PTSD is the result of surviving repeated abuse. Sadly, it often occurs at the hands of those who are supposed to love and care for us the most. Often the signs of complex trauma are overlooked. The survivor my struggle with how to explain complex PTSD to their loved ones.
Its this fact that is makes recovery from C-PTSD so challenging.
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Do Some Grounding Exercises Together
When triggers arise, there are a few evidence-based methods that people with PTSD can use to regulate their nervous system and feel more grounded or present. You might offer to sit with your loved one and do some of these practices together. In doing so, you may find yourself feeling more calm and present, too.
Over time, practicing regulating exercises with a loved one known as co-regulation can help your loved one regulate their nervous system. It can also help you and your partner feel more at ease and connected.
Practices that anyone can use to regulate their nervous system include:
While its important not to glorify the strengths one builds out of trauma, it can be helpful to identify, affirm, and appreciate the ways someone with PTSD has grown through their healing journey.
Identifying and affirming strengths may sound like the following:
- I admire your bravery.
- I appreciate your ability to cope.
- Ive noticed how strong you are. Do you notice your own strength?
Foo says that her own healing journey with complex PTSD has allowed me to feel less like, Im a nightmare person who cant do anything right and more like, You know, I have a condition that sometimes requires a little extra help, but it doesnt make me a bad person.
Dont Force Them To Talk
If a loved one is living with PTSD, you must not force them to talk about an event, as it can often be difficult to discuss the traumatic experience with others. Instead, you should state you are ready and willing to listen should they want to discuss the event with you.
Be Patient and Positive
The road to recovery can be long for some people living with PTSD. While you might want nothing more than for them to move on from a distressing event, you must understand that the treating PTSD can take time and they might need to deal with various setbacks along the way. The best way to help a friend or relative is to remain both patient and positive, which can make them feel loved and supported.
Recognize Their Triggers
Help with Flashbacks
Following a traumatic event, a loved one might endure flashbacks, which are vivid memories that force them to relive an experience. To help your family member or friend when they have a flashback, you should:
- Remain calm
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Understand Them Before You Fix Them
What a person with PTSD most wants is a listening ear. Many patients have reported feeling alone and unloved with their peculiar condition. They feel as if they are too flawed to be loved. Show that you understand what theyre going through. That way, PTSD survivors wont feel out of place or misunderstood.
The therapist does that job but they are not going to be there all the time helping a loved one with PTSD. So you must step forth and comprehend the troubles theyre going through.
Stigma Real And Not Real
One of the most ingrained issues that Time to Talk Day aims to address is stigma, both real and perceived. These are two distinct things.
Yes, there are still myths and misconceptions about PTSD, and you may come across ignorance and judgement. However, it can be too easy for people with mental health conditions to make their own misjudgements too. You can imagine that everyone will think less of you.
There is far more awareness about mental health now. Initiatives like Time to Talk, Its okay to not be okay and the Campaign Against Living Miserably and we hope PTSD UK, have dismantled a lot of the stigma surrounding mental health.
There are also a lot of hard-working mental health charities like us who are doing a great deal to spread knowledge, understanding and empathy.
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Tips How To Help A Loved One Who Struggles With Ptsd And Other Fear Related Issues
Do you know someone who is in the military or is a veteran who struggles with PTSD and dont know how to help them?
Are you at your wits end on how to help a family member or colleague get relief and stop their suffering from PTSD and other fear related issues?
If so, here are 8 helpful tips to help the person cope in these kinds of situations.
1. Learn as much as you can in dealing PTSD, Anxiety, And Depression. There are many books and information that will educate you on how to deal with PTSD and mental health issues. Share this information with the person who is struggling. The main point is that the person who is struggling gets as much information as possible on how to overcome their PTSD. In addition, other family members should be aware on how to deal with someone who is struggling without making things worse. Education is the first step in overcoming a persons mental health issues.
2. Be understanding and patient with the person struggling with their fears: Dealing with PTSD, depression, and anxiety can be difficult for the person so do not add more problems than what is already there.Do not make things worse by getting into arguments with someone who is suffering. Yelling at your loved one with PTSD will only make things worse.
8. How To Deal With The Nightmares: Many veterans and military members who have been in combat may get nightmares regarding their past war time experiences.
What A Family Can Do
A family can do a number of things to cope with a loved one’s PTSD, including:
- Understand that behavior does not necessarily equal true feelings. Your loved one may want to go out with friends and family but is too afraid of running into upsetting thoughts and memories. It is important for family members to understand their loved one’s symptoms and the impact of those symptoms on behavior.
- Know the triggers. A family also needs to be aware of their loved one’s triggers. For example, if you know that the nightly news on the TV always triggers your loved one’s PTSD symptoms, you may want to schedule other activities during that time so there is no way that your loved one will experience that particular trigger.
- Consider changing routines. Family members may also need to change their routines based on a loved one’s symptoms. For example, if your loved one tends to have nightmares, try to figure out a way to wake them up without touching them. Some people with PTSD may respond as though they are being attacked.
- Get help. Support groups and/or couples counseling may be a good way to learn how to communicate with your loved one, as well as cope with PTSD symptoms. They may also help you find the best way to encourage your loved one to get help if they haven’t already.
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