Seeing your loved one suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very painful that often leaves you helpless. PTSD arises due to unfortunate incidents involving near and dear ones like sudden death, suicide, and estranged relationships.
A person suffering from PTSD may not followa normal lifestyle, and sometimesmay show abnormal behavior that often defies logic. Emotional highs and lows and frequent bouts of agonizing moments and frustration become regular affairs in the life of the sufferer.
Expert counselingis extremely important, but due support, love and help from the partner, family and friends go a long way in reducing the suffering. Your loved one’s suffering and emotional outbursts may hurt your relationship but one can come out of this stressful situation adopting certain supportive measures.
How you can help your loved one?
Though the steps are trying, but it is not that you will not achieve the desired result. It would not be wise either to expect overnight results. Your help and support may be required for months or few years.
- Hold on to your patience:
PTSD is a mentally related suffering that cannot be cured instantly with drugs and balms. Medication may be necessary, but you need to be very patient while dealing with the sufferer. Continuous unconditional support and care are needed for proper healing and any abrupt withdrawal of support can reverse the healing process.
- Get educated:
Learn about the causes and symptoms of PTSD thoroughly. A professional guidance will help you better. This will enable you assess your loved one’s mental condition and take suitable actions.
- Be a good listener:
Half the treatment of any mental suffering is done if one lends his ear. Your patience may be tested here as well. The sufferer may narrate the traumatic incidence and the after effects repeatedly to offload his/her mental stress. So if you are a good listener, chances are high that your loved one would come out of PTSD soon.
- Never pretend:
If you are listening to the sorrowful incidence of your loved one, be empathetic. This should be reflected in your reciprocation either through words or gesture. Listening for the sake of listening will not work as the sufferer would immediately sense that his/her words are not given due attention.
- Never show disbelief:
If your loved one or friend is experiencing hallucination which is quite likely in PTSD, do not ignore it considering absurd. Believe in what he/she is saying. This will help you to take proper remedial measures.
- Build trust and confidence:
More your friend or your loved one share his/her traumatic experience more you build trust and confidence. He/she will feel that a trustworthy friend is beside him/her with all care and support. This gradual build up of trust automatically sets the track to quick recovery.
- Ensure safety and security:
Often PTSD sets in due to unfortunate accidental deaths or suicide. The person suffers from a high level of insecurity. He/she would not feel safe staying in a room or step out on the road alone. Try to be with him/her as much as possible ensuring the required mental security. Holding hand, hugging, kissing and pacifying words removes the fear of insecurity of the sufferer.
- Avoid triggers:
You need to be very watchful of the triggers and carefully avoid them. Your loved one may feel scared of darkness. Other triggers can be a specific date, situation, certain smells, hospitals, crematoriums, arguments, emotional condition etc. It is not tough to detect the triggers. You can anticipate those and take timely action.
- Be watchful of the anger moments:
Emotional venting in the form of anger is quite likely in the person going through PTSD. In such moments, you should remain calm sending the message to your loved one that you are there for the support in all highs and lows. You can ask the person if he/she needs any special help or sort out an alternate route to calm down the situation.
- Take care of yourself:
Providing support to PTSD is not an easy task that would be done in few days. In these trying times, you need to ensure your complete wellbeing both physical and mental. Carry out your normal activities as usual. Pursue your hobbies. And obviously, remain connected with friends and well-wishers and seek help from them as and when required.
Going through PTSD is indeed horrifying but can be overcome through proper care and support. You need to learn the important ways to provide timely support to your loved one going through this phase.