If your loved one has experienced a traumatic or painful event they can suffer from the side effects for a long time.
Traumatic events are usually a frightening or distressing experience that can leave the person feeling numb or disconnected.
As a carer, it’s natural to want to help your loved one feel better and to assist them through this difficult time. You can’t take their pain away but you can help them to accept what has happened by providing essential support and advice.
Here are some tips on how you can support your loved one:
• Tell them you are sorry about what has happened and make it clear that you want to help them get through it.
• Spend time with your loved one and keep them company.
• Your loved one may experience emotional outbursts, which is a common side effect of a traumatic experience. Don’t take their outbursts to heart because they usually don’t mean what they say or do.
• Offer practical support such as cooking dinner or going grocery shopping for them.
• Help them return to their normal routine (when they are ready).
• Talk about what happened and listen to them.
• Try not to get upset.
• Be patient and don’t pressure them to talk about the event if they are not ready.
• Help them to relax and have fun again.
• Help your loved one participate in physical activity, such as walking in the park. Exercise can help take their mind off the experience and help them to get a better night’s sleep.
• Find appropriate ways to help them laugh.
Here are some reactions to avoid when helping your loved one through a traumatic experience:
• Don’t ignore the event and don’t avoid talking about it.
• Don’t judge their feelings or thoughts.
• Don’t be impatient and expect them to get over the event quickly.
• Don’t insist they need professional help straight away – not everyone who has experienced a traumatic event needs professional treatment.
Give them time to deal with the trauma themselves but if you feel like things just aren’t getting better after a few days or weeks then consult a professional.
Your loved one may take a long time to recover from a traumatic event, but by supporting them and listening you can help them through the recovery process.