- PTSD’s effects on the individual can be significant, and everyone has a unique PTSD experience.
- It is important to communicate with your loved one by arranging a time to meet. Calling or texting can also be helpful.
- Being a good listener for your loved one will go highly appreciated.
- Understanding the disorder and what it entails can help support your loved one. Education will help you keep things in perspective.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
When my father was diagnosed with PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event in 2022, I assumed I had a general understanding of PTSD and what the mental disorder entails. But all my knowledge crumbled and instead, understanding the disorder became difficult. I found it especially challenging to support him, scared that I would say the wrong thing or not help enough.
It can be very hard to see a loved one you deeply care about experience PTSD. Effectively supporting them while understanding the disorder can be overwhelming and difficult. Their pain can be your pain, and naturally we want to do as much as possible to encourage a supportive and positive recovery.
Characterized by a psychological reaction to witnessing or experiencing a traumatic or shocking event, PTSD’s effects on the individual can be significant, and everyone has a unique PTSD experience. If you know someone with PTSD it goes without saying that being supportive is vital. Interpreting how to show compassion and care can be hard to navigate while being mindful of emotional boundaries. During my experience, I found these strategies useful.
I know how hard it is living away from your loved one with PTSD or having work and study commitments. So, communicate with them, and agree on a day and time when you are both available to spend some time together. It is important to check in with them; even texting, calling, or video calling them can be helpful. Communication with your loved one with PTSD should include positive affirmations and reassurance. This allows your loved one to feel more comfortable sharing with you – and that may be important for their recovery.
Sometimes individuals with PTSD may need to repeatedly discuss their traumatic event. It’s important to understand that this is part of the healing process. Being a good listener for your loved one will go highly appreciated. You don’t need to give advice, instead, listen to what they are saying and be attentive. Be aware that if they are discussing with you the traumatic event, it may be hard to hear. Practising some self-care is important after discussing stressful topics and is a positive way to ground yourself.
Understanding the disorder and what it entails can help support your loved one. Education will help you keep things in perspective. Education on the disorder will build a foundation of trust between yourself and your loved one, allowing for enhanced communication and insight into what they are going through. An insight into how PTSD works can even prepare you for possible symptoms this person may show and how to support them through their recovery. Knowledge can be powerful for supporting them.
I remember feeling awful that I couldn’t always physically be there with my father. Over time, I learnt that effectively communicating with him, listening to him, and educating myself more on PTSD aided in my ability to support him through his recovery journey. While supporting your loved one with PTSD, know that you are not helpless. You won’t always have the answers, in fact, you don’t need answers at all, and that is okay. I consistently found myself anxious or worried that I wasn’t doing enough, but later I found that even the smallest acts of support are helpful. Remember to be patient and remember that your loved one cannot simply erase their trauma, but they can reduce the impact it has on them.
By Mia Jade Wild.