3 Things to Stop Saying to Someone Caring for a Veteran

3 Things to Stop Saying to Someone Caring for a Veteran

Couple hugging outdoors If you’re in the veteran community, like I am, you’re aware of the many stigmas surrounding the silent wounds of war. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a nasty side effect of war. It’s a very natural reaction to an extraordinarily unnatural event. Our brains were not created to handle this kind of crazy. Thank goodness for caregivers. A caregiver could be a spouse, a sibling, a parent, or someone else entirely. What makes a caregiver special is their innate ability to see PTSD symptoms as symptoms instead of writing the behaviors off as bad character. But, of course, the symptoms of PTSD can take a huge toll on the veteran and the caregiver. So when a caregiver reaches out for help, or to vent — do not say these things. 1. “He’s just lazy.” What a caregiver thinks when they hear this is simply, “You’re a jerk.” Maybe the caregiver called to complain about how tired she was because she’s done all the housework, the bills, worked 40 hours, and parented by herself; however, that does not mean that her husband’s highly depressive episode means he’s lazy. It means he’s found that staying in bed alone with his thoughts has kept him safe for the last few days. It means he’s so confused and his body is so tired from the rush of flashbacks that if he gets out of bed, he might collapse into a screaming fit of physical and emotional pain. Other statements that fall into this category would be things like: “He’s a bad father.” “He’s just mean.” “He’s just stupid.” Try instead, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this season in your life. He sounds like he’s having a really hard time. You may not feel like it, but you’re doing […]

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