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 work with each other.
- 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. Knowledge truly offers benefits to circumstance.
- 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 seem worse. Instead of trying to force it, just let them know you’re willing to listen when they’re ready. Encourage them to speak to a professional or peer support, and understand that there will be some things they feel the need to protect you from hearing.
- 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. Resources for respite, counselling, peer support, and other options are evolving regularly.
- Accept (and expect) mixed feelings. As you go through the emotional wringer, be prepared for a complicated mix of feelings—some of which you may not want to admit. Just remember, having negative feelings toward your family member doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Remind yourself and your family member that their injury is not a burden.