We are all given a brain. From the moment we are born, our brain starts to take note of the senses and feelings associated with our surroundings. It’s as if the mind is writing an instruction manual for reference as we grow older. For the general population, it is not out of the ordinary for a realization to occur that the instruction manual or mind has been writing for us isn’t always user-friendly. In other words, obstacles arise in life where we become challenged in our thought processes.
For an otherwise healthy individual that does not experience any symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), their instruction manual occasionally needs to move to an updated version. On the other hand, an individual suffering from PTSD with associated triggers and flashbacks need substantial revision to their brain’s instruction manual. For some people, perhaps merely a chapter, but for others, it may be several chapters, depending on the frequency and duration of unresolved trauma has occurred in their life.
If you are unfamiliar, PTSD is a complex anxiety disorder, resulting from the experience of a traumatic event. People commonly associate this disorder to those who have been in combat, but the reality is the types of traumatic experiences resulting in PTSD are diverse and wide-ranging. For example, PTSD can result from an array of life-threatening or unsafe situations such as a terrorist attack, natural disaster, physical or sexual assault, kidnapping, or car accident(https://www.med.upenn.edu).
Supporting your loved one suffering from the flashbacks associated with PTSD can be a challenging endeavor. Keep reading for five practical tips you can implement right away to help your loved one suffering from the flashbacks associated with PTSD:
Dedicate your patience to the process.
Supporting a loved one with PTSD flashbacks will test your patience no matter how much you think you already have.
Recognize the healing process is diverse in terms of the time it takes for someone to lessen PTSD flashbacks, some in as a few months to others taking much longer.
Encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
The patience you give your partner in combinaton with their lifestyle choices will be the driving force to restoring their wellbeing to healthier functioning capabilities. Helping your loved one find a trained therapist in your area who specializes in complex trauma can take inventory on a grander scale. There may be several chapters of their brain’s instruction manual that needs revising, or speaking in terms of neurology, rewired in their mind.
Do you best not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally
For example, if it is your significant other, you may find they avoid intimate contact during PTSD symptoms.
Individuals experiencing PTSD symptoms may seem depressed or disoriented at times. They may find tasks more challenging to complete than usual, leading to a higher level of frustration than you are used to them showing. Understand these are symptoms of PTSD that will subside over time. By doing your best not to take them personally, you lessen the burden of self-doubt that can come into effect for an individual having PTSD flashbacks.
Remind the individual experiencing PTSD flashbacks to minimize outside distractions and focus solely on their wellbeing until flashbacks subside.
Unresolved trauma takes a severe toll on the mental health and wellbeing on an individual. Help your loved nurture life back into their spirit by suggesting healthy and loving activities in their life. Suggestions may include getting proper sleep, eliminating toxic people or jobs, getting fresh air with time outdoors, and doing deep breathing exercises, such as yoga.
Ask your loved one to make a list of the triggers that initiate their flashbacks.
Educating yourself on their specific triggers can help your loved one work through flashbacks logically. Keep in mind the triggers for a PTSD flashback can vary significantly depending on the type of traumatic event experienced.