How to explain PTSD to friends?

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Alice97

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How to explain PTSD to friends?
« on: August 13, 2016, 10:20:51 PM »
I have a really good friend who knows my FOO is abusive. She also knows about my nightmares, but beyond that she doesn't really get how badly my FOO situation has affected me mentally. She has been very supportive and helpful in encouraging me to let go of my family because I can't fix them. I think I can finally say I have let them go and separated myself from them (for instance, I no longer try to be a peacemaker by jumping into arguments), which has been incredibly freeing. However, as you all will probably understand, I still struggle a lot with the symptoms of PTSD, especially nightmares, dissociation, dealing with triggers, and just a deep pain and emptiness from never feeling safe at home growing up (inner child). I don't expect any of that to go away any time soon, even after I move out. I'm trying to have an open, healthy relationship with this friend without being clingy or a burden, because I know the only way I will survive is if I have support from friends (or even just this one friend). I'm not sure how to explain to her that I'm not struggling so much with my family being abusive, even though it still hurts to be caught in the crossfire, but that now my pain is more caused by the symptoms of PTSD. I don't want to scare her off by using that label, but I would like to be able to help her better understand my symptoms. I don't want her to think I'm needy (even though honestly I am), but I also don't want her to think that I'm fine now that I've learned to let go of my family. Does that make sense to you guys? Any tips for explaining my current symptoms to her without scaring her off? I'm prepared for her possibly not understanding - I guess no one can really understand if they haven't been through it. But I would at least like her to know how serious my mental state is so that she can support me and help me not go off the deep end.

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Three Roses

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Re: How to explain PTSD to friends?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 05:48:57 AM »
I think this is a hard question to answer, because there are too many variables, like, how old is she, is she an understanding person, will she keep confidences...?


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Alice97

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Re: How to explain PTSD to friends?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2016, 11:40:24 AM »
She's around my age (19). She tries to be as understanding as she can. As far as keeping confidences, that's one of the reasons I haven't told her more yet, I'm not sure she would keep it from her parents, and I'm not sure her parents would keep it from mine. It's one of those situations where she is really close with her parents so they talk about a lot. She has been very good about not telling them stuff I've vented to her so far, but I don't know if she would tell them about my PTSD if she got really concerned about me.

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AncientSoul

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Re: How to explain PTSD to friends?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2016, 04:22:55 PM »
This is a very difficult question to answer, much less explain. I know, I have tried to reach out to long time friends and even family in regard to my own plight of CPTSD. So far, despite my education and empathy, I have not succeeded with them.  They choose to say, "Get over it", or deny  that anything I have explained exists. And these are educated people. One friend is even a Medical Doctor, but he also displays all the characteristics of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He even admits he was "born believing he is God."

People like us often feel we are not worth it. We blame ourselves. At least that is what has happened to me. Writing in this forum has offered a chance to release many feelings that are pent up inside. It is often one step forward and two steps back. But there is progress and some days there are two steps forward.

Choose friends who choose you. Learn to believe in  yourself and love yourself as best as you can. I work at that everyday and it does take time. I also made a promise to myself to try to surround myself with people who actually care. That means leaving behind people that do damage to my soul. With billions of people on this earth, I'm convinced that there are people to meet that will really care and be there no matter what.

I've found that its best to be prepared to move on. Many people we meet will simply not understand. So people like us need to realize that we will be okay and we are okay. That's my take on it.

As I said, I have tried to tell friends, it's all that I can do in that regard. But there is much to do in regard to yourself. Be patient, be open and don't run away from love.

AncientSoul


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Ren

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Re: How to explain PTSD to friends?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 02:28:43 AM »
Nice words Ancient Soul.   The problem seems to be a rather huge one for we survivors.

It seems to me that people really do fear anything to do with mental processes which is mainly ignorance and left over from the Victorian era. 

Alice 97 - Good for you in being cautious about your disclosure.  I didn't do that, thinking everyone would be kind.  They were not. :'(  Perhaps you can present some information from a book or the net to explain it better for her?

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Fen Starshimmer

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Re: How to explain PTSD to friends?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 06:35:29 PM »
Hi Alice97, This issue of how to deal with 'friends' is one I too grapple with. I have come to the conclusion that I must get to know people very well - not easy in my case. If I feel they are empathic and trustworthy I may divulge something small to test the water, see their reaction. On the whole, however, I have found the only people who really understand are kindred survivors. My T comes a close second. Therefore, I think you are wise in your cautious approach with your friend, trusting your instincts seems right here.

Ancient Soul - Beautiful advice:
"Choose friends who choose you. Learn to believe in  yourself and love yourself as best as you can."

Thank you  :thumbup:
 

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kxCobra

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Re: How to explain PTSD to friends?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 02:28:55 AM »
Hey Alice97!

I'm also 19 and am facing a similar struggle. My cPTSD is not terrible, but there are so many things I wish I could express about myself to my friends, but I can't because when I've tested the waters before they didn't really seem to get it, so I understand what you are going through.

My best advice would be to maybe not tell her anything that could get you into serious trouble, but when you're having serious problems, try reaching out to her for advice and see what happens. You don't have to label it anything, but be honest about what you're feeling. You deserve support in your life.