Caregivers of soldiers with PTSD must practice “self care” to prevent burnout…

Caregivers of service members diagnosed with PTSD may occupy a different and greater care-giver role, upon their service member’s return from deployment. In many circumstances caregivers may be thriving in this new role, but they can prevent and reduce the experience of caregiver burnout by implementing strategies that support self-care

http://www.army.mil/article/96120/  Quote from this site…

“The VA has outlined some care-giving tips that can be useful for family members who are experiencing caregiver burnout. These tips rely strongly on participation, education, and social support.

One way to try to remember the VA’s tips is through the use of the acronym, “PEAS.”

Participate in your service member’s behavioral health treatment. Encourage him/her to seek treatment when needed. 

Educate yourself about PTSD, the medical facilities in which your service member receives treatment, and the routines of your service member.

Attend to warning signs of potential relapses or suicide risk.

Seek social support and engage in other positive self-care activities. It is okay to ask for help as a survivor of trauma and PTSD, according to Bob Delaney, author of Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress, and namesake at Delaney Consultants.”
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In my own experience as a PTSD centric family member and caregiver, we most often dismissed ourselves as needing help even when the symptoms of PTSD began to appear as part of our own behavior.   You know, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”  So we all joined in the fire storm big time making matters exponentially worse.  One crazy bunch of people acting out together provides little or no healing value whatsoever.  Caregivers need to stay healthy to provide strength and leadership in a dysfunctional family situation.  Otherwise the family unit will self destruct and not achieve the happier place we are all seeking together as a team. 

As family caregivers please be guided by the bigger picture of healing together as a team.  Practice taking care of yourselves as described in the above “PEAS” tutorial.  Remember the goal of unity and the desired outcome of achieving a happy, healthy, and loving family unit in life after war.

Steve Sparks
Author
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

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