Do you know someone with Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
It can be really hard to figure out the best way to help them, or the right thing to say.
We sat down with Claire, who lives with PTSD,
for her tips on what to say to someone with PTSD.
With the help of her doctor, psychologist, husband, family, friends and co-workers,
Claire says she’s come a long way to overcoming her PTSD.
“Without the support of all these people I probably wouldn’t be here today, so thank you
to everyone who was there for me. I really am lucky to have so much support,” she says.
Claire knows it can be hard being a support person, so she’s shared some things to say if
someone you know is experiencing PTSD, and how it makes her feel when people she knows
say these things to her.
What to say to someone with PTSD
- “It doesn't matter how long it takes, I am here for you.
Feels like: “I feel
really supported, as if you're not pressuring me or giving me deadlines.”
- “Instead of going to a big social event, let's watch a movie at your
Feels like: “Thank you, I really can't handle being in a social situation
right now, but still don't want to be left alone.”
- “I am going to learn more about your condition, so I can try to
Feels like: “Thank you, that really makes me feel like you care.”
- “I know you probably don't want to come, but we'd love to see you."
“I’m glad that you haven't forgotten about me, thank you for still inviting me and
making me feel like I don't have to come up with an excuse for not coming.”
- “We all love you and think you're amazing."
Feels like: “Thank you, I needed to
- “We can make plans to do something and if you feel uncomfortable, I will come
straight home with you."
Feels like: “Ok, I would like to try going somewhere.
Knowing you've got my back if I get overwhelmed is really reassuring.”
- “I don’t mind that you're still in your pyjamas...here, let me do your
Feels like: “I am having a really hard time looking after myself and
housework is stressing me out, thank you for helping.”
- “I'm worried that you might harm yourself, so I'm just going to hang out at your
Feels like: “I'm worried too, your company is appreciated.”
- “Please go to the doctor, I think they can help."
Feels like: “It’s always good
to get help from professionals, my GP could put me in touch with mental health
Finally, Claire suggests that little actions can speak louder than words.
Giving hugs, being present, listening without judgment, not trying to ‘fix’ someone but
sitting with them anyway, bringing food, and helping with housework are all great
actions that can help.
Claire cautions loved ones not to tell people they need to get back to normal or make an
assumption about how long recovery will take.
Remember, it’s not affecting you as much as it’s affecting them, but being a support
person isn’t always easy. Make sure you’ve got more than one person on the support team
and look after yourself, too.
If you’d like to learn more about PTSD, follow this
To share your story about your experience with mental distress story, email Like Minds, Like Mine.