Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) not only affects the person living with it but the people around them as well. PTSD manifests itself differently in different people based on their personalities and the type of trauma they experienced. For example, a war veteran will have different coping mechanisms than a victim of sex assault, but both may suffer similar symptoms. Here are some ways you can help a friend who is living with PTSD.
Take the pressure off
No matter how much you want to help your friend and see him or her get better, pressuring them into talking and getting help isn’t going to make them feel any better. They have to be the one to make the decision to get help and to start the conversation about how the trauma they experienced has affected them.
Supporting a friend with PTSD can be very draining and you never know how they may react or be feeling on any given day. Try not to take it personally if your friend gets upset easily or becomes defensive during your conversation. These are coping mechanisms and it doesn’t mean they’ve stopped loving you or don’t appreciate your support.
Guide them gently
Guide your friend gently back into the world with some peaceful activity, such as a walk. Understand that they will feel “off” for a while, so it’s best not to push them back into a regular routine right away. Even being there just to listen may be enough. Regardless, your presence reaffirms your support and love for them.
Care for yourself
You’re putting a lot of effort into helping your friend recover from a traumatic experience, but you need to be at your best to best help them. Take care of yourself while caring for them—eat well, exercise and continue to do activities you enjoy to keep your mind and body sharp. Caring for yourself can also include talking to a counsellor or someone else about your experiences helping your friend with their PTSD. We all need a listening ear from time to time.
You must be patient with yourself and your friend during this time, as recovering from a traumatic event is no easy feat. Support each other and tell your friend you love and care for them. Having another person on their side will help boost morale and make them feel worthy during hardship.
Feature image Wrote