Jazwinski had served 15 months as a heavy wheel vehicle operator in Iraq. Now home, he had just completed a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder program and kept the folded U.S. flag he received from the military on the dashboard of his truck.
It can be hard to know how to help someone dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress disorder. Whether they are handling trauma associated with the loss of a loved one or the effects of war, it's important to be educated about ways to give them the support they need. Here are some tips to get you started, but we recommend getting further education from a class or the National Center for PTSD.
1. Look out for signs
Trauma can be triggered by locations, smells, anniversaries, etc. Learn what these triggers are for your loved one so you can be aware of situations that could affect them. Likewise, know what the signs that come from your loved one are. For example, does he clench his fists when he hears a certain sound?
Often, they just need you to genuinely listen to them. Don't discount what they say with phrases like, "It will be OK," give unsolicited advice or take over talking of your own experiences. Simply give them your undivided attention.
3. Rebuild a safe environment
There are many ways you can go about recreating a safe environment for your loved one. For example, structure routines, make and keep promises and express support.
4. Take care of yourself as well
Caring for your loved one may take a lot of effort, but if you are neglecting yourself you won't be able to give them the support they need. Make time for yourself, rely on other people you're close to and set boundaries for yourself.