How To Help A Loved One With PTSD and C-PTSD
Watching a loved one struggling with PTSD,C-PTSD, and depression is confusing, sometimes scary and all around really hard to do. Given that the effects of trauma are unique to each person, it can be tricky to identify PTSD and C-PTSD; which often times, causes major problems within family life and with friends. And to make it even more difficult, the effects of these can come right after trauma, a few months after trauma to even years later rearing it’s ugly head in a very perplexing way.
If you are wondering about how you can understand and help, this post is for you! It all starts with awareness, noticing behaviors that don’t add up, things that your loved one is struggling with. Though the symptoms vary and are unique from person to person, there are potential signs you can be looking for.
How To Recognize The Signs of PTSD and C-PTSD
If a family member or loved one starts to have any of these signs, they may be dealing with PTSD or C-PTSD.
- Disruptive sleep issues – hard time falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up and not being able to fall back asleep or constantly waking up throughout the night.
- Frequent nightmares
- Sleep paralysis
- Dissociation – the person feels and acts completely disconnected, making choices you know is not what they want. They seem numb from all emotion.
- Anxiety – OCD can develop, problems relaxing or feeling a sense of calm.
- Fear/paranoia based – constantly looking over their shoulder, never feeling safe and experiencing intense feelings of fear even when there is no danger.
- Flashbacks – a person can be triggered and suddenly, emotionally, they are back in the moment of trauma experiencing it again as if for the first time.
- Anger outbursts – that seem for no reason and very uncharacteristic. They can often be out of control.
- Lack of self-esteem – sudden changes in behavior impacting their relationships, performance levels and coping mechanisms.
- Suicidal thoughts
If you notice any of these signs in a loved one or are still confused by their behavior, contact me, I can help. Here are some suggestions on ways you can support them while protecting your own mental health. Sharing is caring. Pin this
Tips For Helping Someone With PTSD ad C-PTSD
- Learn as much as you can. Google it, read, try to understand.
- Open the lines of communication with a supportive question like “how are you feeling right now?” and just listen. Let them talk. And listen. Hear them, without judgement.
- Try to understand them. Take off your shoes for a few minutes and put on theirs, look through their eyes.
- Figure out their triggers. Try to learn what sets them off and help them with it. Learning their triggers will help them avoid and come to terms with them. Many times people with PTSD and C-PTSD don’t even know they are doing things so a gentle conversation about it with them is helpful.
- Plan ahead. Now that you know the triggers, flashbacks, nightmares, or symptoms your loved one has, make a plan of how to deal with them when they happen.
- For anger outbursts, recognize them, don’t give in to them and suggest a time out.
- For sleeping problems, suggest sleep routines and help face the nightmares.
- For dissociation, learn some grounding exercises and focus on being present in the moment.
- Respect their space. Let them take the lead, but be aware. Support them in getting help, but make sure you realize they have to do be ready for the help. Show them love, lots of love.
- Take care of you too. Remember to take time to give yourself love. It is hard watching a loved one go through this, so make sure you have an outlet to stay healthy.
Learning to live with loved ones with PTSD and C-PTSD is entirely possible and I am glad you are taking the time to research how you can help. Please feel free to contact me for more information. Knowledge is power and together, we can create a safe world filled with love.
Malibu Mama Loves Xx