Guest Post

20 Things Not to Say to Someone With PTSD

As someone that lives with PTSD, and after reading this article I knew I had to share it. I hope you will do the same. 20 Things Not to Say to Someone With PTSD Alexander Draghici, MS, LCPC By  February 2, 2021

Imagine you are the survivor of a horrible car crash. One day, while you’re walking down the street, you hear a car horn followed by a screeching noise. Before you get a chance to look around and figure out what happened, you feel a sudden rush of adrenaline. Fear paralyzes you from head to toe, and your mind fills up with images of the accident in which you were involved not long ago. It may look like you’re overreacting from the outside, but from the inside, everything feels so ‘real’ and overwhelming. And so, you sit there shaking and waiting for something horrible to happen.

speaking to someone with PTSD

For someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the world no longer looks like a place worth exploring but rather a minefield where every step presents a risk.

As you can probably imagine, being hypervigilant and ‘on edge’ most of the day is exhausting. In time, and without proper help, you will eventually shut down because you don’t feel like there’s someone who can truly understand what you’re going through.

 

But part of the reason people who’ve been through traumatic events resort to social isolation is that society often fails to provide what people living with PTSD genuinely need.

And it’s not out of ignorance or ill-intention, not always, but merely a lack of understanding of the difficulties associated with this condition. This manifests in the public services offered to them, the reactions of their loves to their condition, and even in the way those around them communicate with them.

So, here is a list of things you SHOULDN’T say to someone with PTSD:

1. “You’ll get over it”

Whether someone is dealing with depression, burnout, or PTSD, telling them to simply “Get over it” will trivialize the severity of their condition and make them feel like they’re not strong enough.

Imagine you are dealing with something so painful that it almost seems unsolvable. At the same time, you keep hearing that it’s nothing and you should get over it. At some point, you begin to feel like you are the problem; you are the one who doesn’t have what it takes to overcome your condition.

 

2. “You’re just a bit shocked; that’s all”

A traumatic event can send shockwaves for months (even years) after the initial impact.

It’s like throwing a rock into a pond. Even though the waves are not as ‘loud’ as the initial splash, they’re still strong enough to disturb the surface of the water.

But the worst part is that if you find yourself in a triggering situation, your mind will (emotionally) reenact the trauma, which can be shocking enough to make you avoid specific contexts or experience intense anxiety if you have nowhere to run.

Long story short, people with PTSD are not “just a bit shocked.”

3. “I’m no expert, but I think you should…”

Stop!

Nobody, regardless of the problems they are dealing with, wants to hear unsolicited advice.

In fact, there’s a good chance that someone who’s going through a rough patch might have already tried what you’re about to suggest.

For people with PTSD, an empathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on is significantly more valuable than any piece of ‘expert’ advice you might have picked off the Internet.

Just stop at “I’m no expert” because you’re definitely not. All you need to be is the person who can listen and understand.

4. “Maybe you need to do more and complain less”

Once again, we have a perfect example of an invalidating response resulting from a lack of empathy and understanding.

When you’re dealing with something as emotionally draining as PTSD, there’s little energy left for anything else. It’s not that you don’t want to do more; it’s just that every attempt to get past your traumatic experience feels like a herculean task.

Patience is a crucial factor during the recovery process, and just because someone is complaining doesn’t mean they don’t actively work on their problem.

5. “It’s not that bad”

Sometimes, people think that making a problem seem less severe will somehow take the burden off the sufferer’s shoulders, thus speeding recovery.

Although the intention is good, playing down the severity of the problem can backfire horribly. More specifically, you risk becoming yet another person who doesn’t understand the pain and difficulties associated with PTSD.

If you want to provide support to someone who’s been through a traumatic event, don’t evaluate the situation based on your criteria.

Listen, understand, and try to see the pain through his/her eyes.

6. “Others have it worse”

Comparing one sufferer to another can sometimes be useful as it sheds new light on the situation. The fact that life could have been far worse represents a glimmer of hope that paves the way for a better future.

But this perspective only works when the sufferer has already overcome helplessness and is making real steps towards recovery.

Otherwise, it’s just another trigger for shame and guilt.

7. “Stop making a big fuss about it”

This reply screams frustration right off the bat.

It’s the kind of thing that tends to slip out of your mouth when, for some reason, you’re feeling emotionally unavailable, or perhaps you’ve grown tired of hearing the same complaints over and over again.

If you don’t feel emotionally available, perhaps it would be wiser to take a step back for a moment instead of venting your frustration to someone who’s already in a dark place.

People with PTSD make a big fuss about it because the pain and anxiety can be truly unbearable at times.

8. “I have a friend who’s been through a similar situation, and he got over it”

Just like “Others have it worse,” telling someone with PTSD that they’ll get over it simply because you’ve seen others recovering from the same condition is a faulty comparison.

For starters, one person’s trauma is hardly comparable to another’s. People’s reaction to traumatic events varies depending on their personality, emotional resilience, coping mechanisms, and social support system.

9. “You’re completely irrational”

Given that the underlying emotions people with PTSD experience most of the time are fear and anticipatory anxiety, it’s no surprise that rational arguments prove entirely ineffective.

Additionally, telling people that they’re irrational will definitely not make them adopt a rational perspective. It will only deepen their sense of worthlessness and helplessness.

Often, a simple gesture of, “Help me understand why this situation is difficult for you” is far more helpful than saying, “Let’s look at your problem from a rational standpoint.”

10. “You have to face your fears”

Facing your fears or, as experts call it, exposure therapy is one of the most effective strategies in dealing with PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

Current evidence suggests that both intensive prolonged exposure and virtual-reality augmented exposure can help individuals overcome traumatic experiences.

But this process should only take place under the guidance and supervision of a licensed counselor or therapist.

For people with PTSD, facing their fears can be a huge endeavor requiring patience and careful planning.

11. “You must be really sensitive”

Given that people living with PTSD avoid contexts that could trigger them or behave ‘strangely’ when confronted with a situation that reminds them of their traumatic experience, it’s easy to label them as sensitive.

But this sensitivity isn’t a feature of their identity but a coping mechanism that shields them from further pain and suffering.

Remember that some of them are battle-hardened veterans who could do things that most of us wouldn’t even have the courage to try.

12. “Loosen up a bit; you’re too uptight”

Telling someone with PTSD to loosen up is like telling someone with depression to smile more often.

The reason why people who’ve been through traumatic events seem uptight is that they shield themselves from anything that might trigger that painful memory.

For them, loosening up means letting their guard down, something for which they might not feel ready yet.

13. “Are you a war veteran?”

Given that a significant proportion of people who struggle with PTSD are soldiers and war veterans, we can understand why this stereotype has taken root.

But PTSD can result from a wide range of traumatic events. From emotional and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and severe illness to car accidents, the death of a loved one, and natural disasters, any event that shakes you to the core can trigger the onset of PTSD.

The best thing you can do is ask before making any assumptions that could put the other person in an awkward position.

14. “Leave the past behind”

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for the human mind to leave the past behind, especially when the past holds something that has shaken the very core of your personality.

When something traumatic happens, the brain registers the event to prevent it from happening again. That’s why some memories will stick and remain with us forever.

In short, the past isn’t something that we should forget or put behind, but understand, accept and integrate into our experience.

15. “Focus on the Positive”

We know that humans possess a diverse spectrum of emotions, some being pleasant, others less so. But each emotional experience has a purpose and a valuable message that we need to hear.

If we choose to focus on “positive vibes only” (and encourage others to do the same), all we are doing is running away from ourselves.

Unpleasant emotions are part of who we are just as much as pleasant ones are.

16. “Let’s talk about something else”

Although being close to people who’ve experienced a tragedy may feel ‘heavy’ at times, it’s vital to create a space where they can unburden their soul.

As long as ‘the wound is still fresh,’ trying to change the subject to something less tragic in hopes of lifting their mood will only result in disappointment.

There’s a good chance you’ll make them feel like a burden.

17. “Why didn’t you say anything at that time?”

Trauma survivors rarely talk about what they’ve been through, especially immediately after the event. It is usually when people notice changes in their behavior that they begin to share their struggles.

On top of that, it’s challenging to be open about something as painful as sexual abuse or domestic violence. Especially when you know that people might not understand what you’re going through, and the authorities might not always have the power to provide proper assistance.

18. “Let’s do something fun”

When you’re having a hard time adjusting to everyday life, fun is the last thing on your mind.

Even if you try to do something to take your mind off the problems you face, there’s always that profound sense of imminent threat that’s keeping you from enjoying a fun activity.

Instead of suggesting something fun, try to create a safe space where they can experience a sense of comfort and calm.

19. “Didn’t this happen a long time ago?”

Asking this question is like saying, “You should have been over it by now.”

It’s definitely something you don’t want to say to someone who’s already having a hard time going about his/her daily life.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it takes 6 to 12 weeks of psychotherapy for someone with PTSD to achieve recovery. But keep in mind this is just a rough estimate.

20. “It will only get better and better from now on”

As an outside observer, it’s easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But when you’re dealing with something as debilitating as PTSD, all you can see are miles and miles of tunnel.

Being Helpful

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complicated condition with numerous emotional, psychological, and behavioral factors that affect one’s ability to perceive a better future.

So instead of desperately pointing towards the light, try helping those suffering from PTSD navigate through the tunnel until they find their own way out.

Alexander Draghici, MS, LCPC

Alexander Draghici is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and CBT practitioner. His work focuses mainly on strategies designed to help people manage and prevent two of the most common emotional problems – anxiety and de

SOURCE: https://www.e-counseling.com/ptsd/things-not-to-say-to-someone-with-ptsd/

 

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Writer’s Block? Depression, and Burnout? Check this out..

I’m so happy to introduce you to Chrys Fey and her latest book (It’s fabulous!)

Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover.

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The Truth About Reverse Mortgage…

 

The Truth About the Reverse Mortgage Hype

The Reverse Mortgage Business is a big confusing industry with more than its own share of pros and cons. Before making any financial decisions, especially one that involves your home please do diligent research and have an attorney review any contract before you sign.

If you are at least 62 years of age, you may be worried about the reduced income that usually comes with retirement. You may have heard that a reverse mortgage can help you but cutting through the reverse mortgage hype can be difficult. How do you really know what they are and what they can do? Here are the true answers to some top reverse mortgage questions to help you cut through the hype.

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I’m Going Underwater Today…

Today I’d like to introduce you to someone special, Tam Warner Minton. I met Tam in a blogging support group. I was immediately a fan of her one of a kind, stunning underwater photography. Her passion for our oceans and all sea life is infectious.

Be sure to check out her brand new book and her blog, you won’t be disappointed.

Meet Tam:

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Guest Post/ The Trump I Knew…

Thank you to Debra Wallace for sharing her memories of President-Elect Donald Trump with us. I think with the sadness, disappointment and real fear that some are feeling its important for us to remember that our politicians do start out as real people with real families and friends. Like the rest of us, they all have a story. Now that the election is over I am hoping we can move forward and all start looking for the good, the positive and any shimmer of light we can find.

Debra Wallace is an award-winning internationally-syndicated journalist, author, blogger, social services reporter, and entertainment writer. To learn more about Debra and her work: Wallace Media Services.

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The link between PTSD and Addiction

I was diagnosed with PTSD 17-years-ago. For the longest time I did a pretty good job of hiding my symptoms but they eventually affected my life negatively on a daily basis, sometimes for days at a time.

The breaking point came for me when I was in line at my bank and one of the guys that was involved with the murder of my brother was 4 people behind me in line.  He eventually ended up directly behind me and I blacked out. I don’t remember screaming at the top of my lungs, the police and paramedics coming and being transported to the hospital.

Through counseling I learned my anxiety, depression and OCD were directly related to past traumas not only the murder of my brother.

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Guest Post… 4 Ways Of Responsibly Getting Back Into Dating As A Mother Of Children

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Lady Thy Name Is Trouble…

Fellow Insecure Writer, Lori MacLaughlin is an author!

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With

Congratulations Lori and thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for my readers…

 

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids’ shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she’s not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

Auther Lori Mac

                         Lady, THY NAME IS TROUBLE

Author Lori Mac Book Cover

The Book

 Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos… and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless hunter.

 Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.

The Interview:

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on a dairy farm in northern Vermont, USA, and I’ve lived in Vermont all my life. I love the beauty of the state — its forests, mountains, and farmlands. I’ve always enjoyed the small-town feel, the moderate climate, and the distinct seasons, though at this point, winter and snow are not at the top of my favorites list. 

Did you grow up in a household that encouraged reading or writing?

Absolutely. My parents read to me all the time when I was young. They are great readers themselves. My mom loves mysteries and the old-time romances of Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring. My dad has read tons of westerns. I think he has every Louis L’Amour book ever written. My grandparents were readers, too. I distinctly remember visiting their houses as a kid and being impressed by their shelves upon shelves of books. Writing was encouraged, as well. My grandmother wrote columns for her hometown Fulton (NY) Patriot newspaper for years.

Do you have a designated writing space? A schedule?

Yes, I do have a writing space. I turned what used to be a small bedroom/office into a little library with my computer desk in one corner and bookshelves along the walls. It’s a cozy space with a window that looks out into the woods behind the house. The only disadvantage to this is that I sometimes get distracted by the various birds flitting through the trees and the antics of the squirrels and chipmunks. I used to have a writing schedule, but that has pretty much gone out the door over the past few months as I worked on getting my first novel published. After the blog tour this month and the A to Z Challenge in April, I hope to be able to spend more time writing and finishing up edits on Book 2.

What was the last book you read?

This World Bites (Loni Townsend.) It’s a funny story about zombies, vampires, and an unusual group of people led by Cera, a woman with elemental powers. The group travels from world to world, searching for a cure for Cera’s father. Their encounters with the local inhabitants, and the dark and deadpan humor made me laugh and grossed me out at the same time.

Share your journey to publication:

My journey to publication has spanned so many years — years spent writing, revising, and writing some more. My story grew and evolved as I did. As I matured as a person, my characters matured in depth, my story in scope. Words about life and love and loss ring so much truer once you’ve experienced those things for yourself.Years of intertwined day-to-day living and writing as a hobby culminated in the decision, about a year ago, to take a leap of faith into the world of self-publishing. I’ve spent the last year learning about author platforms, social media, ISBNs, book cover design and layout, and all the many facets of the trade. I can’t count the times I felt completely overwhelmed by all the things I had to learn. I’ve had my share of setbacks. But I never gave up. As of February 27, 2015, I am a published author. Woo hoo!

Do you have a book trailer?

I have two of them, actually. The first is about the overall story, but I realized afterward that it didn’t include the romantic elements integral to the story. Partly to remedy this, and partly for fun, I made another one that focused on the main character, Tara, and her internal struggles with love, loss, and new possibilities.

Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble

http://youtu.be/reB_0mfclhY

Tara (character study)

http://youtu.be/AFUhqSyuXvc

What are you writing now?

I’ve been working on the second book in the series, Trouble By Any Other Name, which is in the final editing stage. It’s about Tara’s struggle to discover who and what she really is and to destroy the evil Being that is trying to steal her magic and escape through her dreams. I hope to have it published by the end of the year.

What is your favorite music genre?

I enjoy pop rock the most, but I’ll listen to anything other than screaming headbanger stuff and rap. Rap will make me get up and leave the room.

Coffee, tea, wine or whiskey?

Milk for me, please. I’ll always be a dairy girl.

Thank you, Doreen  for hosting me!! 

The Book is Available:

 Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Name-Trouble-Lori-MacLaughlin-ebook/dp/B00TT8NERU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425178824&sr=1-1&keywords=lady+thy+name+is+trouble

 Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lady-thy-name-is-trouble

 Lori’s blog: http://lorilmaclaughlin.com

 

Meet Sean O’Brien:The Sports Writer that Wrote a Children’s Book…

Sean O’Brien writes about Philadelphia sports. I love Philadelphia sports. That is how I first met him, virtually. I was surprised when I found out he wrote a children’s book and even more surprised when I found out the topic of the book. Sean is one of the good guys. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I have.

Thanks to my friend Doreen for allowing me to write a guest blog post about my new illustrated children’s book Maddie: Teaching Tolerance with a Smile.

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Interview with Bonnie B. Latino…

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Bonnie B. Latino, Co-author, of Your Gift to Me

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