In honour of National PTSD Awareness Day on June 27th (in Aus), I thought I’d write a post around it.
PTSD… Post-traumatic stress disorder. Just so we’re clear.
Beyond Blue describe PTSD as something that develops in people who have been through a traumatic event (typically one that threatens their life or safety, or that of someone around them). As a result of this trauma, the person experiences feelings of horror, helplessness and intense fear – similar to the feelings they felt during the event.
There are four main difficulties for someone suffering PTSD:
- Flashbacks to the event
- Experiencing heightened awareness
- Avoiding triggers / reminders of the event
- Feeling numb
PTSD often comes along with other mental health problems at the same time, such as depression or anxiety. Anyone who experiences a traumatic event can possibly develop PTSD.
How can you help?
There is lots you can do if a friend or family member is suffering from PTSD.
- My first and biggest tip is this: patience.
PTSD is hard enough, and when someone is suffering from the symptoms, the best thing you can do is be calm and patient. Let them know that you’re there with them and aren’t going anywhere.
- Talk to them and ask them how you can help.
It can be daunting to be this upfront, but asking what they need and what you can do for them can help show the person that you care about them and opens up channels of communication. Common symptoms of PTSD are akin to anxiety and depresssion – suffers can often feel isolated/numb.
- Seek professional help.
Therapists/psychologists etc. aren’t just there to support the person suffering. If you’re close to someone who is going through any sort of mental health issue, talking to a professional about how you can best support them can be really useful for you as well.