PTSD and complex trauma, do not just affect the sufferer.
Family and friends and relationships are also affected and all concerned need to be educated about PTSD, in order to best support the sufferer, but also to take care of their own emotional wellbeing.
A book I highly recomend is;
'The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship', by Diane England Ph D. See Link here.
This book explains PTSD, the symptoms and explains how family and friends can assist the sufferer's healing journey and also understand their own health and emotional wellbeing is vital, for all concerned.
Families and children can be affected, and there are great coping strategies for this.
Advice For Friends And Family.
The first piece of advice I give everyone is to know PTSD is not a choice. The sufferer does not want PTSD.
PTSD is very real and is a horrible, distressing disorder, no-one chooses, or wants.
Partners, family and friends are affected by PTSD too, not just the sufferer.
Partners, family and friends need to be aware of their own emotional wellbeing and health as a priority too.
Learning as much as possible about PTSD and the sufferer’s symptoms, triggers and stressors, is very beneficial in helping them.
Being non judgemental and compassionate is needed. The PTSD sufferer will already be having a hard time with feeling negative emotions about themselves and often PTSD sufferers struggle with self compassion.
Patience is needed from everyone involved, as PTSD is a very challenging, relentless disorder to manage.
Anger and irritability, are symptoms of PTSD and there are reasons why, but this needs to be managed and PTSD is not an excuse for aggression or violence to others.
The symptoms experienced in PTSD, are not a reflection of how the sufferer feels about any other person.
Irritability is common with PTSD and is often about the PTSD brain becoming overwhelmed and not due to lack of patience etc.
The PTSD sufferer, may require time where they can be alone and again this is not a reflection of lack of love or care.
PTSD does not affect the persons intelligence, or capacity to have reasonable thinking.
It is good to be aware, when symptoms are severe - the PTSD brain is in ‘high danger alert mode’ and decision making can then be based upon the PTSD brains survival need for finding safety. An example of this is when my symptoms are severe and I become distressed - I have a leave a room – as I feel so unsafe and feel trapped. This is also part of the ‘fight/flight/freeze/fawn’ mode associated with PTSD.
Find positive activities to do together, such as exercise, which is beneficial for all and improves overall health.
Stress is something a PTSD sufferer needs to reduce in their life, in order to heal. This may mean not working, in order to commit fully to therapy, as therapy cannot be effective if there is too much stress in the PTSD sufferer’s life.
Financial implications, may arise from PTSD – costs of therapy, reduced income and learning how best to manage finances so they do not become a huge stressor for the PTSD sufferer and their family/partner.
Communication is vital in dealing with PTSD, so keep talking and working through things.