Emotional and mental trauma can cause a dramatic shift in the way a person looks and interacts with the world around them. People with PTSD can see the world around them as a frightening and dangerous place, affecting their sense of security and ability to trust not only themselves, but those around them, even their closest friends and family.
If your friend or loved one is suffering from PTSD, your task is to rebuild their sense of security, which will help pave the way to recovery. This entails creating a safe and familiar environment, providing reassurance and dependable support, and moving forward at their speed.
More importantly, supporting someone with PTSD means finding ways to empower them, and not sheltering them too much even if you want to protect them. Smothering a person with PTSD only does more harm than good, as they need to rediscover how to function normally on their own. Your job is to help build their confidence, not baby them.
Here’s what you can do to empower your loved one with PTSD.
· Communicate your dedication to the relationship, letting your loved one know that you’re there for them whatever may happen.
· Restore a sense of familiarity by introducing routines. Structure and predictability will create a sense of security.
· Learn about the things and factors that may trigger your loved ones PTSD. These can include crowds, new places, new experiences, even certain sounds.
· Recognize when your loved one is having an episode, which will usually, but not always, come in the form of a panic attack.
· Make the home a safe place free of stress. It should be a place for rest and relaxation, but not zero activity. Your loved one can still try to find his or her old routine through chores and hobbies.
· Talk about the future and make plans as if nothing happened. Don’t let a traumatic event seem like the end of the world.
Helping someone recover from PTSD is not easy, there will be many ups and downs involved in the recovery process, but with patience, perseverance and love you can help your loved one.