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Loving on Someone with PTSD

I grew up in a home where things were "different." By different, I mean that my dad was enlisted. He served his country. I moved around alot, and I had the chance to learn about different cultures and different people...but I also had a dad who exprienced the woes of war...and whenever he returned from war...he was...different.

He was loving. He was amazing. He was a hero...but he was also scarred. And I can remember whenevever he went "away" to war...or went somewhere in the world to be "on duty"...he came back home...changed...and different.

It has taken me years to understand those changes. And my dad did his best to shelter me from his experiences. To this day...even after his passing...he has not told me his war stories. But then...I went away to college....enrolled in psychology and then...some of those "changes" started to make sense. My dad didn't have to say a word to me about these changes. As his daughter, I just had to figure it out for myself. How can I love on him and how can he love me even after all these changes?

I grew up in a military family. A family that experienced the residuals of Desert Storm and Afganistan, Persian Gulf, Bosnia and Herzegonvia, Iraq, Lords Resistance Army, Saudia Arabia. My dad would come home from these wars after being away for a whole year, two years, 6 months. The time line was always different...

But we went through the residuals of whatever stories that were untold to me. His body told the story though. His brain...his behaviors. It changed him. And it changed us as a family.

He did the best he could. Just like anyone else experiencing trauma and still trying to navigate life while not hurting others along the way...he did his best. But he was scarred.

And our family was scarred. And no we did not have a family counseling center to help us "figure it out." (By the way, I think the government can give alot more with what they have to offer regarding mental health services to veterns - But that is another post for another day).

For today....I'll get to what I have learned about what its been like counseling, living, and learning how to love on someone with symptoms and signs of PTSD. I want to thank my dad ( rest him) who taught me so much about this before my head hit the books, my mom who lived this thang out with a household of folks who had PTSD for various reasons( shes the real MVP), and my brother, who is currently in the services and is also trying his best to navigate our current times while serving this country. This is in no way an exhaustive list. This is free advisement. And if you want special attention to your circurstances, I encourage you to seek a licensed mental health practitioner for assistance.

1. You have to be quiet sometimes.

This can go back to my previous post about chaos and having things be calm and keeping a stable environment. Sometimes noise is not helpful. Talking to much is not helpful. Listening and being observant can be one of the best gifts you can offer someone with any forms of anxiety. You can mirror to them what th