This is shared ideas on how to live with someone with PTSD. I will add my commentary to each one but I do recommend reading the original article for a more complete perspective from some that lives with someone with PTSD instead of having it themselves.
#1 – Knowledge is power.
Absolutely true. If you support someone with PTSD or have it yourself, the more you learn, the better you are able to cope with what is happening. One of the things I am thankful for with having the label PTSD; I can look it up and learn more from people that are coping with the same thing I am.
#2 – Trauma changes us.
A life changing experience should change a person. However, when trauma occurs during most of childhood it will distort perceptions, mold habits, and create a skewed perspective on many of life’s growing experiences. Happy childhood memories are few and far between. Feeling powerful never happened. Something as simple as feeling rested, doesn’t happen. Yes, trauma changes us, it should.
#3 – PTSD hijacks our identity.
PTSD splintered my identity. It was how I coped with insanity I lived in everyday. Conflicting trauma is difficult for a child to process. I learned to emotionally ‘hide’ from everyone, including myself.
#4 – We are no longer grounded in our true selves.
I had no idea who or what my true self was. I hid it years before I could identify my true self. My counselor spent many hours helping me to define who I was and what I wanted out of life.
#5 – We cannot help how we behave.
Yes and no. Yes during a flashback or other intense emotional response I am instantly in another time and place reacting to horrors only I know about. I cannot stop these. As much as I would like to be rid of them, they are part of my living. Unfortunately, sometimes I am tempted to allow PTSD to excuse all my bad behavior. I can control how I behave most of the time. With knowledge and understanding of myself, I am gaining more and more control over myself. If I believe I have no control over myself, I am giving away my power and letting my abuser win.
#6 – We cannot be logical.
Sometimes. Yes I can be logical when I am not triggered. Sadly, logic gets trumped by emotional flooding on bad days. I am learning to wait out the flooding and I am fully aware that in time logical thinking will return. (Did I mention that triggers suck?)
#7 – We cannot just ‘get over it’.
No matter how much I want to be over it, it still smacks me up side the head on a regular basis. I am learning to dodge the emotional blows but it still has me by the throat sometimes.
#8 – We’re not in denial—we’re coping!
I was 15 years old when I started asking what was wrong with me. My parents, doctor and others that I asked denied there was anything wrong. I knew that I did not respond like other people. I didn’t know what to do about it until I was in counseling. I am so thankful to my counselor that taught me how to cope. I am doing so much better now.
#9 – We do not hate you.
Not knowing I am triggered and terrified of an unseen monster, a person might mistake my behavior as directed to whoever is in front of me. Lashing out in rage is sometimes an unfortunate reaction to the chaos raging inside. Sometimes it really isn’t about who is close by but what is inside of me.
#10 – Your presence matters.
Yes, I am very aware of those that are there and those that pull away from me when they find out my challenges. Sometimes just having someone else in the room with me or online or on the phone or email can make all the difference. I was blessed with a counselor that allowed me to write emails to him when I was struggling at my darkest hour in the middle of the night and he was blissfully sleeping. The emails helped A LOT.
These are my perspectives of the tips given in the article above. What would you add to this list?