Things You Shouldn’t Do To a Person With PTSD

Things You Shouldn’t Do (Or Say) To a Person With PTSD

If you don’t have PTSD then you won’t quite be able to grasp what it’s like when you do. It’s like having nightmares every night – and every day – for your whole life. It’s being scared on a daily basis. It’s never being able to forget something that happened to you, or even to someone else, and having to relive it through memories, dreams, flashbacks, and all kinds of triggers that you might not even realize are coming.

Because only PTSD sufferers can really know how it feels and what it’s like, and because they are the only ones who can really appreciate how much it can affect daily life, for friends and family or even simple acquaintances and colleagues, it can be hard to understand. This can lead to instances when people say or do something that causes more harm than good, even if the best of intentions were behind it.

If you know someone with PTSD and you’re worried that you might cause them pain by saying something wrong, read on; here are some of the things you shouldn’t do when someone has post traumatic stress disorder.

Say Only Military Veterans Have PTSD

There is a common misconception in the world that it is only those who have served in a combat zone and seen active duty in the military who suffer from PTSD. Although many veterans do have PTSD and do suffer daily, the condition is not limited only to these service members. PTSD can occur in anyone who has been through a traumatic event. A mental illness such as PTSD does not care whether you have been in a combat situation or whether you were in a car crash or had an assault carried out on you or anything else.

Therefore, if you find that someone you know has PTSD don’t belittle their condition and how they feel just because they weren’t in the military. Anyone can have the condition.

Tell Them To Get Over It

One of the very worst things you can say to anyone suffering from PTSD is ‘get over it.’ If PTSD patients could do this, they most certainly would; no one wants to have to go through the pain of PTSD if they don’t have to.

Think of it this way; if someone had a broken leg, you wouldn’t tell them you just ‘get over it.’ You wouldn’t tell them to forget the pain and keep walking. It’s the same with PTSD or any mental health illness. It cannot be forgotten; it has to be healed, and sometimes that takes a long time or even a lifetime.

Give An Example Of A Worse Situation

If someone is opening up to you about their PTSD and lets you know what happened to cause them to suffer from it, you shouldn’t tell them a story or anecdote about someone else who – in your view – had it ‘worse.’

Although you would have meant it in a kind way, as a way of explaining that it could have been worse, this is not the case. For the sufferer, nothing could have been worse. There are no levels of pain or trauma; some people react one way and others respond in other ways, but hearing a story of someone else’s pain is never going to make their pain any less. 

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