Learn About The Diagnosis Of Ptsd
Before you tell anyone about your PTSD diagnosis, it is important that you understand the diagnosis yourself. Learn as much as you can about PTSD, which is often misunderstood. It is very possible that your loved ones will have many questions for you about PTSD. Make sure that you can address those questions or, at the very least, direct them to resources to get their questions answered.
Some people find it helpful to print out information which describes the symptoms of PTSD and important information ahead of time. This way they can not only share what they are feeling but give their loved ones something concrete to continue to read and think about after the discussion.
Suggest Something Fun To Do
It sounds a bit obvious, but seriously, to hear you suggest something fun can provide the ultimate relief for someone struggling with PTSD .
Elite Daily spoke with Dr. Patricia Salber, editor-in-chief of The Doctor Weighs In, who began suffering from a mild case of PTSD after a bad slip down a staircase.
Though she noted it felt gruesome at first, her friends’ suggestions for certain activities helped her through some particularly difficult times:
One of my friends suggested I attend the local zen center for Sunday group meditation sessions.
Within moments of the first session, I could feel my mind letting go, easing up on the anxiety. I found it incredibly soothing to be in a large, serene room with 60 or 70 other people also letting their thoughts go.I continued to go to the meditation sessions until the PTSD symptoms went away.
Take Care Of Yourself
When youre working to support a friend with PTSD, it can be difficult to set boundaries and protect your well-being. Always remember to take time for yourself, as challenging as it can be. Develop coping mechanisms, healthy ways of dealing with stress and take time each day to do what bring you joy.
When Were Having A Bad Day Know That Its Not Your Fault
I wish they understood that when Im struggling it has nothing to do with them. Like, if Im going through something because of my PTSD, its because of my PTSD, not them. I never want friends or family to feel like its their fault when Im struggling with anxiety or from other symptoms of my PTSD. Kayla Stevenson
Common Mistakes When Talking With Someone Who Has Ptsd
Let’s imagine you just learned from someone she has PTSD. Perhaps you’re uncomfortable with this new information. You may envision hearing details about their trauma that you don’t want to know. This might completely change how you see the person confiding in you. You might even think that you should be embarrassed for the one with PTSD. I have encountered all of these responses. To be frank, they are all emotional responses that come from a lack of education and understanding about PTSD.
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Tip : Rebuild Trust And Safety
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages peoples ability to trust others and themselves. If theres any way you can rebuild your loved ones sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery.
Express your commitment to the relationship. Let your loved one know that youre here for the long haul so they feel loved and supported.
Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Creating routines could involve getting your loved one to help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply being there for the person.
Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.
Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.
Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by showing that youre trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on what you say youre going to do.
Emphasize your loved ones strengths. Tell your loved one you believe theyre capable of recovery and point out all of their positive qualities and successes.
Common External Ptsd Triggers
- Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma.
- People, locations, or things that recall the trauma.
- Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day.
- Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events.
- Situations that feel confining .
- Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments.
- Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment.
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Arousal And Reactivity Symptoms Include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Disclosure Can Make A Difference
While there are laws protecting you in the workplace, there is nothing that can control an intimate or romantic partner’s response to you revealing your PTSD diagnosis. Most likely, your partner will know you have sought treatment for your mental health, and so it’s only natural that they will want to get an update with details to help them understand your condition.
In this situation, disclosing your condition can make a significant difference to your relationship. You should be prepared to educate your partner, especially to dispel any preconceived stigmas they may have about PTSD. This can be frustrating, but being prepared to talk about it can help to ensure that your partner becomes your biggest advocate. Though your partner will want to know more about your condition, the reality is that you can use this process to really learn about it for yourself.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Understanding that men and women, as well as individuals, process trauma differently” can make all the difference. Women may want to talk about it more, while men may shut down or express their feelings through exercise or activity. It’s perfectly acceptable to take time to research your condition, learn about your triggers and formulate a plan for talking with your partner.
Of course, your partner will probably want to know how they can help, such as things they can do to make things easier, and, ultimately, how the condition could impact the relationship.
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How To Help Someone With Ptsd Sleep
Sleep problems and anxiety disorders often go hand in hand. When your mind is restless with worry, it can be hard to get to sleep at night. However, PTSD comes with the added complication of nightmares and sleep disturbances. That means when you do get to sleep, you may not get good rest. Nightmares may wake you up, or cause restless sleep, leaving you feeling tired the next day. Sleep disorders are common health problems in the United States, but its a serious issue.
Sleep problems can contribute to several mental and physical health problems, including poor concentration, depression, obesity, and heart disease. Getting your sleep under control can be an important step in addressing broader mental health issues.
If PTSD is the reason a loved one is struggling to sleep, a few things may help in addition to treating PTSD directly. Good habits that promote sleep are called good sleep hygiene. Several ways to improve sleep hygiene include the following:
Tip : Deal With Volatility And Anger
PTSD can lead to difficulties managing emotions and impulses. In your loved one, this may manifest as extreme irritability, moodiness, or explosions of rage.
People suffering from PTSD live in a constant state of physical and emotional stress. Since they usually have trouble sleeping, it means theyre constantly exhausted, on edge, and physically strung outincreasing the likelihood that theyll overreact to day-to-day stressors.
For many people with PTSD, anger can also be a cover for other feelings such as grief, helplessness, or guilt. Anger makes them feel powerful, instead of weak and vulnerable. Others try to suppress their anger until it erupts when you least expect it.
Watch for signs that your loved one is angry, such as clenching jaw or fists, talking louder, or getting agitated. Take steps to defuse the situation as soon as you see the initial warning signs.
Try to remain calm. During an emotional outburst, try your best to stay calm. This will communicate to your loved one that you are safe, and prevent the situation from escalating.
Give the person space. Avoid crowding or grabbing the person. This can make a traumatized person feel threatened.
Ask how you can help. For example: What can I do to help you right now? You can also suggest a time out or change of scenery.
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The Raleigh House Can Help Your Loved One Heal From Ptsd
At The Raleigh House, we know how hard it can be to live with PTSD. Our mental health treatment center offers an east to west approach to treatment that uses both evidence-based and experiential therapies. With activities like group therapy and rock climbing, we can help your loved one address their trauma and learn how to manage their triggers in a healthy way.
Your loved one has the potential to overcome their trauma, and they dont have to do it alone. Contact our admissions team today to discover details about the personalized support we can provide.
Please Dont Tell Us To Just Get Over It
I think its great if loved ones can to do their best to find that balance between allowing someone with PTSD to move through their symptoms, while also holding their hand to help them pick themselves back up. I can appreciate that its difficult to see someone you love suffer, but telling that person to get over it or shaming them for what theyre experiencing only makes the process harder for the person experiencing symptoms. Meeting them where they are, and saying things like, Ive got you, Let me help you breathe, or whatever resonates best for your loved one helps make those most challenging moments easier. Susannah Pitman
What To Say To Someone With Ptsd
- It doesn’t matter how long it takes, I am here for you.Feels like: I feel really supported, as if you’re not pressuring me or giving me deadlines.
- Instead of going to a big social event, let’s watch a movie at your house.”Feels like: Thank you, I really can’t handle being in a social situation right now, but still don’t want to be left alone.
- I am going to learn more about your condition, so I can try to understand.Feels like: Thank you, that really makes me feel like you care.
- I know you probably don’t want to come, but we’d love to see you.”Feels like: Im glad that you haven’t forgotten about me, thank you for still inviting me and making me feel like I don’t have to come up with an excuse for not coming.
- We all love you and think you’re amazing.”Feels like: Thank you, I needed to hear that.
- We can make plans to do something and if you feel uncomfortable, I will come straight home with you.”Feels like: Ok, I would like to try going somewhere. Knowing you’ve got my back if I get overwhelmed is really reassuring.
- I dont mind that you’re still in your pyjamas…here, let me do your dishes.”Feels like: I am having a really hard time looking after myself and housework is stressing me out, thank you for helping.
- I’m worried that you might harm yourself, so I’m just going to hang out at your place.”Feels like: I’m worried too, your company is appreciated.
Finally, Claire suggests that little actions can speak louder than words.
How To Recognize Ptsd
How to recognize PTSD without raising tensions is to look for avoidance symptoms, such as unreasonable guilt, fretfulness and depression. Observe if your loved one avoids the place, objects or events that pertain to the traumatic experience. Determine if a lack of enthusiasm for activities that were previously enjoyable is present. Also, be aware of hyperarousal symptoms. These can be outbursts of anger, sleep disturbances, tension or being easily startled.
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Understand & Remain Patient
Its difficult to understand what someone with PTSD is going through even when youre extremely close to them. You need to know that its OK if you cant fully relate to what your partner is going through at times, no matter how much you want to or how hard you try.
Still, patience and understanding are key elements in any successful relationship. This is true even when youre dating someone with PTSD from abuse or another cause. Let your partner know that youd like to be there for them, and that its important for you to understand them, but youre having trouble relating. Reassure them that you believe their feelings are valid and uniquely challenging.
If youre in an environment that triggers your partner, be ready with a Plan B that can pivot and change the energy of the situation. Tell them that youre fine with changing plans because the priority is ensuring theyre in a safe, trigger-free environment.
Additional Ptsd Support Resources
Along with treatment, consider encouraging your friend to join a local support group. There are many different kinds of support groups located in cities and towns across the country. Maybe attend with your friend, if they are comfortable with that.
Support groups for PTSD are a beneficial way to build a strong support network and interact with other people who also have this condition. It can feel good to have a safe space to share and listen among people who can empathize having PTSD.
There are support groups specifically for victims of childhood abuse, sexual trauma, and also for veterans. These groups are operated by private organizations, nonprofits and also governmental organizations.
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How To Help Someone With Post
Post-traumatic stress disorder sometimes occurs when a traumatic event is experienced. The illness is marked by uncontrollable thoughts, extreme anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks. PTSD sometimes causes short-term memory loss and can have long-term chronic psychological repercussions. Its imperative to seek treatment for PTSD as early as possible. Symptoms can become more severe over time, and for some people, PTSD can last for many years.
Things I Learned From Dating Someone With Ptsd
One lesson: Caring for yourself is essential.
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
Theres nothing that can make you feel as powerless as living with a partner with post-traumatic stress disorder .
For three years, I was in a relationship with a man who experienced PTSD symptoms daily. My ex, D., was a decorated combat veteran who served in Afghanistan three times. The toll it took on his soul was heartbreaking.
His flashbacks and dreams of the past drove him to be hypervigilant, fear strangers, and fend off sleep to avoid nightmares.
Being the partner of someone who has PTSD can be challenging and frustrating for many reasons. You want to take away their pain, but youre also dealing with your own guilt at needing to care for yourself, too.
You want to have all the answers, but you often have to come to grips with the reality that this is a condition that cant be loved out of someone.
That said, understanding the disorder can help make it easier for both you and your partner to communicate and set healthy boundaries.
I spent years trying to understand how PTSD affected my partner, and, ultimately, had to walk away from our relationship. Heres what I learned.
Talking To Someone With Ptsd
When talking to your loved one about PTSD, be clear and to the point. Stay positive, and dont forget to be a good listener. When your loved one speaks, repeat what you understand and ask questions when you need more information. Dont interrupt or argue, but instead voice your feelings clearly. Dont assume your loved one knows how you feel if you dont express it. PTSD is hard on everyone involved with the victim.
Help your loved one put feelings into words. Ask about specific feelings, and ask what you can do to help. Lastly, dont give advice unless your loved one requests it.
Be Patient And Dont Pressure Them
First and foremost, let them know youre here when theyre ready to share. Even briefly talking about their trauma can make their symptoms worse, which is why its important for you to be patient when communicating with them.
Remember that your loved one needs to feel comfortable before they share their feelings and experiences with you. Remind them theyre in control of when and what they share with you. This will empower them and give them peace of mind about opening up to you.
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