Life is filled with ups and downs; everyone has suffered loss, regret, pain and fear. But for some who experience or are witness to trauma – from seeing first-hand the horrors of war and human suffering to experiencing abuse or danger – the memories are closely held often buried deep. Oftentimes the effects of these sorts of trauma lay dormant for years, even decades, until they become triggered into physical or emotional response, most commonly referred to as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is hard enough for those who suffer from PTSD; it can be just as hard for someone who is living with a loved one who has PTSD. If your loved one suffers from PTSD, know you are not alone. Here are some helpful tips to get you through the tough times.
Life is a Battlefield
Most people think that PTSD only affects those who have been traumatized by war. But in fact anyone who has experienced physical assault or abuse, emotional trauma, the loss of career, a natural disaster, an accident, the death of a loved one, violence, or any other traumatic event can develop PTSD. For them, life can be like a battlefield, never knowing when they will be in harm’s way or triggered by something that can take them back to their time of suffering. Meanwhile, for those who have someone dear to them who suffers from PTSD, life can be spent re-arranging schedules and choreographing scenarios to help their loved one avoid triggers. In itself, performing these tasks out of love and concern can be exhausting and, sometimes, counterproductive, even damaging, if events don’t go as planned.
Triggered to Action
For those whose loved ones have PTSD, a lifetime can pass without knowing the deep-seated pain or troubles their loved one has been harboring. Usually this changes when a trigger of some sort is presented, causing a reaction that comes from deep within the psyche. And once it is made known that your loved one has experienced trauma, it will be hard to avoid it from then on. The bright side is that there are strategies and tools you can use to help guide your loved one through the dark times. They include seeking dialogue, recommending therapy, and respecting the person’s legitimate concerns. Reassurance is important that you are there to help them along their journey to feeling safe in their own environment and within their own skin.
A Psychological Disorder
PTSD is not a sign or weakness; it is a psychological disorder that can present in many ways – night sweats and terrors, avoidance, rapid heartbeat and dilated eyes, shallow breathing and even chronic pain. As a matter of fact, PTSD is very much connected to our levels of pain. Unfortunately, this can lead to opioid and alcohol abuse, as well as depression, loss of appetite and insomnia. Guilt and shame can accompany the pain and anguish. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to not only seek psychiatric care, but also medical attention.
Your Role in Care
Unfortunately, many people who suffer from PTSD think they are not worthy of love; that they are defective, damaged or weak – often pushing loved ones away. They may self-medicate, act irrationally or erratically, or make references to harming or actually hurting themselves. Still others suffer in silence, keeping to themselves the levels of grief and pain. Perhaps they have no idea why they are acting as they do, as their trauma remains compartmentalized and locked away.
PTSD Support in Connecticut
If PTSD affects someone you know, get them help and be there for them any way possible. In Southbury, you can find expert, caring psychiatric care at Psy-Visions, where board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Mark Stracks treats clients with PTSD, as well as with complicated medical conditions, addiction issues, chronic pain presentations, developmental difficulties, and trauma. At Psy-Visions, our mission is to help you overcome whatever challenges are causing you to struggle. Take a step toward wellness by calling (203) 405-1745 today or request an appointment online and get your loved one, and possibly yourself, the help needed to live the happy, rich life you deserve.