Dating someone with PTSD. Should you be concerned?
After military operations, the combatants often develop so-called post-traumatic syndrome. The essential feature of PTSD lies in its symptoms, which manifest themselves in 3-6 months after the end of the war. These symptoms include flashbacks – a state, when a person experiences the unpleasant memories beyond their will. Also there may be disruptive behavior due to the feeling of guilt. All this leads to regular alcohol and drugs consumption, and people getting into gangs or criminal organizations in subconscious attempt to recreate the picture of the war events. The ex-combatant can jump on the family members, friends and close people without a good reason and, more than that, being unaware of what he is doing. PTSD also includes physical symptoms, such as sleep disorder, headaches, heart attacks and sleepwalking.
As a rule, any war veteran faces the lack of understanding, judgments, difficulties in communication and professional identity in a peaceful life, economic problems, issues of education, creation or preservation of the family, etc.
When dating someone with PTSD you should remember that it greatly complicates your relationship. This person may behave in uncharacteristic and unpredictable way: often gets irritated or despondent over the small things, estrange oneself and so on.
So, what you should do if your partner has PTSD symptoms and doesn’t want to get psychological help?
Among other things, even the family members should see a psychologist, talk about the situation at home and try to influence their loved one using recommendations of psychologists, otherwise the family may fall apart, and your loved one becomes antisocial. Therefore, you should remember a few tips, which may help you deal with the problem:
– Do not act in a special way. Instead, create conditions in which your loved one could live completely normal and safe life again.
– Give him a time to get used to the normality and security.
– Do not make your close one speak, if he doesn’t want to. Perhaps he will never feel so comfortable to tell you about his combat experience. It is better to try alternative ways, such as talking to the witnesses of those events, or other methods of PTSD relief than just talking about it.
– At the same time, do not stop him if he begins to speak.
– Try not to pass judgments. For example, do not say: “Those things you had come through are terrible.”
– Try not to tell what he “should” do.
– Do not use the clichés or set expressions like “war is a real hell” or “now when you’re back, you can leave everything in the past”. Tell him that you are concerned and worried about him instead; that you love him and will be there if he needs something.
– Do not give advice to your ex-combatant without having listened to him attentively.
– Do not hurry. To reactivate your “acquaintance” and renew the comfort feeling between the two of you takes time.
Finally, remember the simple exercise that will help you and your family feel more confident during emotional stress: sit on a chair, feel your feet on the ground, hold your hips with your arms, feel your glutes on the chair and support in your back.
The second step – look around and focus on six objects of red, blue, brown or any color you like. And the third step – pay attention to your breathing. Breathe smoothly and quietly. It will help you feel the present time, being more sustainable and in touch with your body.