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Sometimes, the best way to know what to say to someone who is struggling with PTSD and going to treatment is to know what not to say to someone who is struggling with PTSD and going to treatment. Mental health struggles are serious and often accompanied with guilt and shame for not being “normal” or better. Below, we’ll list some of the things you shouldn’t say and what you should say instead.

Don’t say: You don’t think you can get over this yourself?

Do say: You’re strong for seeking the help you need.

There is a common misconception that people with PTSD are “weak” because they can’t just “get over” or “move past” what has happened to them in their lives. People who have not been through trauma or perhaps don’t understand how serious trauma is, cannot relate to the deep impact trauma has on someone’s life. Moreover, trauma is subjective. What one person relates to as trauma may not be traumatizing to someone else. Remember that there is no room for opinion in someone else’s mental health struggles. What there is room for is encouragement, empathy, and compassion.

Don’t say: You don’t seem like you’re struggling.

Do say: I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through. I’m glad you’re getting help.

What should PTSD look like? We can easily ask ourselves what do we think PTSD should look like or how we envision it to look like. Then, we can expertly offer our opinion. Once we are asked what should PTSD look like, however, the scenario changes because the position of authority we do not have is put before us. We don’t know what PTSD should look like because PTSD looks different for everyone who experiences it. Truly, we can’t imagine what other people have been going through as a result of their trauma, no matter how their life looks from the outside.

Don’t say: Isn’t that expensive?

Do say: Let me know how I can support you.

Treatment can be costly. However, the cost of continuing to live in pain and agony is greater. Whatever sacrifices someone is making to heal their PTSD is necessary for their survival. Rather than criticize or judge their decision, offer your support in any way. While they are in treatment, send a card of encouragement or a small gift which lets them know you are cheering them on.

The Guest House Ocala offers residential treatment programs for trauma, addictions, and related mental illnesses. Everyone has a story. Start the change to your story today by calling for information on our concierge treatment programs: 1-855-483-7800