incredible-marketing Arrow

Knowing someone who lives with a mental illness diagnosis is more common in today’s modern age than it is uncommon. In fact, it is considered uncommon to not know anyone who actively lives with or has lived with mental illness in their lifetime. Everyone has mental health to take care of in the exact same way that everyone has physical health to take care of. In the same way that people contract disorders and injuries to their physical health, people can develop disorders and injuries to their mental health as well. What differentiates the two is the very same thing which differentiates a flower from a weed: perspective. For mental health and mental illness, specifically, that perspective is largely shaped by stigma.

Stigma can be visualized like a hot branding iron of shame, leaving a mark on people which designates them as less than, unworthy, or different. People who live with a mental illness diagnosis are in more need of compassion, empathy, and understanding. When someone reveals to you they have been diagnosed with a mental illness like PTSD, your immediate response might be shaped by stigma. Stigma is interwoven into the many messages you receive in your life about mental health, telling you what is shameful and what is not. Living with PTSD is not shameful. Enduring the life events of trauma which cause someone to develop PTSD also is not shameful. Individuals who have survived trauma are brave, strong, and remarkably resilient. If a friend or family member has been diagnosed with PTSD, it means they have taken steps to seek professional help and put themselves on the path to healing.

As human beings, our innate response is to create comfort, safety, and solidarity for those we love who are in danger, which makes our tendency toward shame and stigma confusing. You might want to immediately say you understand what they are going through. Or, you might want to say you can’t possibly understand what they are going through. Relating to someone who has survived trauma doesn’t have to be one of those two polar answers. What you can relate to is the capacity for human suffering. You haven’t been through exactly what they have, but your ability to be empathetic and compassionate allows you to relate to the suffering life can cause. Try to avoid relating their experiences to experiences in your life as if they were the same. Emphasize your experiences cannot be the same and you know how isolating that truth can be. Offer your support by asking your loved one what it is they feel they need to be supported. Depending on where they are in their recovery, they may not know off hand. Ensure them you will be there as they figure it out.

The best way you can respond when someone tells you they have PTSD is how you respond behind the scenes. Take time to learn about PTSD, its many complexities, and what living in recovery from PTSD is like. The more you know, the more of service you can be to your loved one.

No matter where you come from or what you’ve gone through, the staff at The Guest House Ocala waits for you with open arms. Everyone’s story starts before treatment. Everyone’s story changes after. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues: 1-855-483-7800