Today I am happy to post an article by guest blogger Ryan Rivera. He is the Founder and Publisher of the Calm Clinic, where he shares his experiences of having overcome panic attacks, severe anxiety, agoraphobia, social anxiety and many other ailments.
Today Ryan has overcome his emotional problems and is determined to help others who suffer as he once did.
One of the most important recovery tools for someone living with PTSD is social support. The more they know that they have real, true friends behind them, the better the outcome of their PTSD treatments. The problem is that PTSD can be hard to understand, and those in a relationship with someone living with PTSD often find that they are struggling with how to keep the relationship together.
When you’re the partner of someone with PTSD, there are a few changes you will need to make towards how you treat the relationship in order to keep it successful. The good news is that you still have the same partner you’ve always had – just with a few extra considerations while they’re on their way to recovery.
What to do When Your Partner has PTSD
- Research Everything
The first, and most important step, is to research everything you can about what it’s like to have and live with PTSD. The more you understand your partner’s experience, the better. One of the hardest things for your partner is seeing the confusion, helplessness, or frustration on your face. It makes them doubt themselves and feel as though they can’t share what they’re feeling. The more you know, the less you’ll feel helpless, which helps both you and your partner.
- Find a Stress Outlet
When your partner suffers from PTSD, they’re experiencing a great deal of stress on a regular basis. But as the partner of someone with PTSD, so are you. Finding a healthy outlet is important. Some use support groups, but if a support group isn’t available in your area, then a good friend or mentor can be helpful. It’s best if the mentor/friend understands PTSD as well, so that they don’t judge your partner because of it.
Writing a journal or blog can be a great outlet, as well as being a way to clarify your feelings. It can also be an excellent (and free!) way to vent feelings.
- Let Your Partner Talk About It
When your partner is suffering, they may need to share their thoughts. It’s really important you give them an open, healthy ear they can talk to, without judgment and without trying to fix them. You can give them a few thoughts if they ask for it, of course, especially if you start to understand PTSD more, but trying to challenge why they feel that way or try to tell them how to feel (or worse, how not to feel) isn’t going to work – if it did, then PTSD wouldn’t be a serious problem. Let yourself be their outlet, whenever they need to talk about it.
- Learn the Triggers
It’s also a good idea to learn what triggers your partner’s PTSD. The more you know about the triggers, the more they become your own triggers – as soon as you see or hear a trigger, you know that you have to take care of your partner. It’ll kick you into gear, helping your partner and helping you so that you never find yourself confused or lost when your partner needs you.
- Take Care of Yourself
Finally, you’ll sometimes find that what your partner is going through takes its toll on you as well. It’s natural to want to ignore your own needs in favor of taking care of your partner. You can’t fall into this trap.
Your mental health (stress, anxiety, etc.) is an important part of your relationship – and an important part of taking care of your partner. If you ignore your own needs just for your partner, you’ll often find that the stress and anxiety hurts your relationship even more.
Making the Relationship Work
PTSD definitely changes a relationship. But the change isn’t as overwhelming as it seems, provided you’re prepared for what it takes. Follow the above strategies, and don’t be afraid to seek out a therapist or counselor if you need additional stress or anxiety treatments.
For more great info, visit Ryan at www.calmclinic.com.