How can I help?

As Christmas nears for some with PTSD symptoms worsen.  I am sorry to say that major holidays are often triggers for a person with ptsd.  I found a resource that I think is fairly good.  I haven’t read everything on every link but I read the page listed here and there are some great tips:

My comments in orange.

Tips for coping with PTSD in the family

  • Be patient. Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment for PTSD. Be patient with the pace of recovery. It’s a process that takes time and often involves setbacks. The important thing is to stay positive and keep at it. Healing is not a linear progression, zigzag at best and setbacks may be very discouraging.
  • Educate yourself about PTSD. The more you know about the symptoms, effects, and treatment options, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one, understand what he or she is going through, and keep things in perspective.  Lots of information is becoming available.  Check your resources for reliability and integrity.  Sometimes a person feels so desperate to get ‘better’ they may jump at something that sounds good on the surface but actually is not helpful.
  • Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Instead of trying to force it, just let them know you’re willing to listen when they’re ready. Remember that the person you love with PTSD also loves you.  They may not want to talk to you to protect you from their hell.
  • Take care of your emotional and physical health. As the saying goes, put on your own oxygen mask first. You won’t be any good to your loved one if you are burned out, sick, or exhausted. Self care is not selfish.  You can’t help someone else by destroying yourself.
  • Accept (and expect) mixed feelings. As you go through the emotional wringer, be prepared for a complicated mix of feelings—some of which you’ll never want to admit. Just remember, having negative feelings toward your family member doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Sometimes a person with PTSD is unreasonable, difficult, and just plain pissy.  That attitude may be directed at those closest to them.  It sucks to be on the receiving end of a butt load of negativity.  Care givers and loved ones may expect to feel frustrated, impatient, and cranky with the person with PTSD.  This may be an indication that family and friends need a temporary break.  If possible, kindly remind the person with PTSD that they can not treat you rudely and reassure them the break or vacation is temporary.  I felt devastated when my counselor went on a cruise with no way to contact him for 2 weeks, his reassurance that he would be back helped me to cope at the time.

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