It takes patience: Supporting PTSD from the sidelines

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. — For some veterans, coming back home from active duty can be the hardest part.

“People have a lot of stuff that they go through, it’s just a different category,” said Ginger Guess.

Guess is both a military wife and a veteran herself, which has given her a unique perspective on PTSD.

“It seems like a lot of people when they hear PTSD, they think that automatically they should be concerned about their safety, or something like that,” said Guess.

But that’s not it, she said. It’s about trying to get through memories of the things they’ve seen. There are a lot of misconceptions about PTSD out there. And while the focus is on the veterans, as it should be, people can forget to think about what it’s like for those supporting them.

“It’s a delicate thing because you know you don’t want to say the wrong thing to push them further away, and you don’t want to say so little that they feel like what’s the point?” explained Guess.

When asked how friends and family members handle that, she said it takes patience.

“You can’t really pretend like you’re going to understand, because there’s no possible way to understand. As long as you’re just there, and a sounding board for whenever they need it,” said Guess.

She said you can’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. Some want to talk about it, some don’t. Remembering that and just being there for them can make all the difference.

“It’s a big thing to do that, and that takes patience. It takes a lot of patience,” Guess said.

If you or someone you know if suffering from PTSD, here are some links that might be helpful:

https://www.facebook.com/stillserving.veterans

https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

http://heroesonthewater.org/

https://www.facebook.com/BeArdedWARRIORs/?ref=nf

http://www.osdh.org/