4 Ways To Help Your Military Loved One (And Yourself) Deal With PTSD

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Heroes Need Saving Too: 4 Ways To Help A Loved One With PTSD

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, issues are not new. When I was in the Marines, people had such bad opinions towards us. We were called baby killers, and when we'd get off the plane coming home, we'd be greeted by protesters throwing things at us.

It was a time where we would hide the fact we were in the military, and, more importantly, hide any issues dealing with PTSD.

Now, there are parties, campaigns and even parades for the men and woman who serve our country, which they totally deserve. Something has brought back pride in being an American, and therapy for PTSD or any type of mental health isn't such a taboo. 

There are many new organizations that were created just to help the veterans. But we're still forgetting someone, and this time it isn't the veterans — it's the people waiting for them back at home.

RELATED: This Is How To Turn Your Trauma Into Something Meaningful

The spouses of those serving our country have to stay and keep things normal for the rest of the family, many times for a period over a year. They have to run the household as a single parent, taking the kids to their activities, paying the bills, resolving the conflicts, plus keeping faith that their loved one is safe and protected. All while knowing their loved one is in harm’s way.

It takes a toll on a person waiting for that year to finish, let alone wondering if their veteran is going to be the same when they come home.

In 2015, the government predicted that 20 percent of all returning veterans will develop PTSD and PTSD symptoms. Imagine being that loved one facing all the challenges of life, worrying their spouse, and now their veteran, will be one of those 20 percent. These are the other heroes on my mind. 

So what is the best thing you can do for your veteran that suffers from PTSD? Take care of yourself first. 

What I’ve found is that the veteran that comes back can be very aggressive and sometimes take over their spouse's life. Without having the confidence to say no, they will walk all over you and leave you a shell of a person. 

RELATED: What Is C-PTSD? How Symptoms Of Complex Trauma May Affect Even The Healthiest Relationships

This doesn't mean you get ready to fight them, but get stronger as a person with these four tips.

1. Learn the symptoms of PTSD.

There are many PTSD symptoms and not everyone is affected the same. Learn what the symptoms are so you can see that your veteran is not trying to "do" anything to you. They are just reacting to PTSD.

2. Discover your own needs.

Your veteran has been gone a long time, and you are used to doing things alone. It's time to discover what you may want help with.

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3. Be understanding, but not a punching bag.

Many veterans coming back seem to be more aggressive than you remember. Have your own voice that lets them know it's not acceptable to be mean, without giving the impression you're attacking them.

4. Find a support team. 

This one is the most important. Trying to deal with something like PTSD is not easy. Having a support system in place will help you when things start to get rough.

You are a hero! You've gone through your own war, now it's time to get your family back together again. 

RELATED: 9 Ways To Deal With Your PTSD When It Seems Totally Overwhelming

Roger House is a couples and marriage counselor, with a focus in post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, happiness, and marital issues.