June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. The goal of PTSD Awareness Month is to help spread the word about the many treatment options available to the 12 million people living with PTSD in the US, the vast majority of those being veterans. While the number of those living with PTSD is extensive, many don't seek help.
As a Navy veteran and health and wellness coach, Michael D. Williams of Internal Expressions in Aldie, Virginia, specializes in supporting veterans, active-duty military, and their families. Michael can help you and your loved one manage the effects of PTSD using techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and stress management.
Supporting a loved one with PTSD requires patience, understanding, and empathy. In honor of PTSD Awareness Month, Michael offers his top tips to help you provide support:
Learn about the symptoms, triggers, and effects of PTSD. Understand that it is a real and valid condition resulting from traumatic experiences.
Suggest that your loved one seek professional assistance from a counselor or coach experienced in treating PTSD. Offer to accompany them to appointments if they desire.
Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where your loved one feels comfortable discussing their experiences and emotions. Let them know you are available to listen whenever they need to share or vent.
Pay close attention to what your loved one is saying and validate their feelings. Then, reflect their emotions back to them, showing that you understand and empathize with their struggles.
Be mindful of your loved one's triggers and respect their need for personal space or quiet time. Avoid activities or situations that may potentially retraumatize them unless they express a desire to confront those situations.
Help with day-to-day tasks when needed, such as cooking meals, running errands, or taking care of household chores. Small acts of kindness can make a significant difference.
Support your loved one in finding healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety. Encourage them to engage in healthy activities they enjoy, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time in nature.
Consistency and reliability provide a sense of stability and security. Show up for your loved one when you say you will, and be dependable in your support.
Supporting someone with PTSD can be emotionally challenging. Remember to prioritize your well-being by seeking support from friends, family, or support groups. Self-care activities can help you stay mentally and emotionally resilient.
Remember that every person's experience with PTSD is unique, so it's essential to adapt your support to meet their specific needs. Schedule an appointment with Michael at Internal Expressions in Aldie, VA, today to get you and your loved one started on a healing journey to physical and mental health.