It’s a pretty plain fact that when one member of a family has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other members of the family feel it in one way or another. This isn’t as terrible as it might sound to some. If one member of the family has a bad day at work, it’s going to affect other members of the family in some way. If one person wins the lottery, that is going to affect other members of the family–hopefully because he shares the wealth and not because he runs away with a supermodel. In any case, families are units. What happens to one person will affect the others. So when someone experiences trauma and develops PTSD, those who love her will feel some effects as well. This guest post by freelance writer Avery Phillips talks about some of the ways we can relieve the burden of that stress, and help the ones we love deal with trauma while also staying healthy ourselves.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.
Hello. Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? If you didn’t, it’s okay. I forgive you…this time. Just because there were all sorts of holidays and excitement and all that. But it’s true. I have not posted in several weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I started this here blog.
My husband is in the hospital. So that’s why I’ve been too busy to blog–or return emails, or do anything besides keep myself and my children alive. If you’re one of my guest bloggers, or anyone else who has been trying to get ahold of me, I apologize. I plan to return all emails by the end of the week. We’re also hoping my husband will be home by the end of the week, though that all depends on how he’s doing. In the meantime, I will be getting the blog slowly restarted, including re-launching my monthly “Parenting with Mental Illness” feature interviews. If you are a parent with a mental illness who would like to share your story on Betty’s Battleground, I’d be honored to feature you. Check out the guest post info page for more details and to find the links to the preliminary interviews. Since February is my birthday month, I’m thinking I’ll actually feature myself. But I thought it would be interesting to have YOU ask the questions for this. Interested? Guess I’ll find out. Leave a comment with your question or questions for me. I do reserve the right to skip anything, but unless it’s super creepy or requires me to disclose another person’s personal info, I probably won’t skip it.
Seasonal holidays involve many inherent rituals, but have you considered creating your own protective rituals? I had the opportunity to discuss rituals–both helpful and harmful ones–with psychologist Stanton Peele while researching an article I wrote about addiction for Vice. He describes the ways in which some rituals actually protect people from developing addictions–such as Jewish customs of drinking wine only during certain occasions. He finds that Jews who associate wine in that religious context often find it odd to think of alcohol as a “party drug.” This conversation made me think of the rituals we encounter during the holidays. Can trauma survivors intentionally create protective rituals as a means of coping with some of the extra stress associated with holidays?