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How To Respond To Best Friends Trauma

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My best friend recently had a cooking accident and suffered first, second, and third degree burns on one arm, her chest, ear and neck, and received very shotty medical treatment from first hospital she was sent to. She's as close to family as I get. She sent me an e-mail to let me know what happened (she lives 5 hours away), and it was very difficult to read. She's suffering flashbacks and I honestly can't think about it without drawing a blank on how to respond. Normally, we use sarcasm as a tool to cheer each other up and a lot of humour - but I'm having a hard time coming up with anything. I find myself wanting to protect her, even more than I already want to (she was recently diagnosed with being bipolar and is trying to find the right medications).

I find myself getting quite anxious before I can even type anything - the closest I've gotten to responding is relaying through a friend is to send my sympathies.

My PTSD has been bad for a while, and I honestly don't know how to not only cope with hearing that my "sister" is very injured but how to be supportive. I'm good in imidiate crisis situations - but with everything that's been going on lately I don't know what to do. Sending her a run of the mill get well isn't something that she needs from me, and I don't know if I can be the person she needs right now.

Any suggestions would be very helpful.

Most sincerely,

A. Lauren
Make sure she gets her ass into counseling ASAP no matter how little she thinks she needs it. Make that argument. Save her from ending up like this and shorten the after effects as much as possible. Get it out faster the better.

How to respond... Well, I totally suck when it comes to someone I am close to as how to respond, I still freeze and shut down and have with even people here I have grown used to when they go through more than I can think about day to day along with my own shit. It happens and don't beat yourself up. Long as she knows she is your friend and knows you just don't know what to say but are there and understand.

Think about it, there is not much someone uninvolved could have said to make us feel better, and you need to worry about you as this is going to make your stress levels rise. Don't forget you need to take care of you and do not over extend yourself.
I agree wholeheartedly, take care of yourself first, but at the same time, do make absolutely certain, even if it's only through another individual, that your friend knows you care and are thinking of her. Don't just assume she knows this. Silence is easily misconstrued as uncaring, especially when one is enduring a troubling time. I trust you don't wish to cause your friend anymore pain than she is already experiencing. At some point, you will want to reconnect with her and it will be far less complicated if you avoid causing any possible hurt or resentment now.
I e-mailed her - hopefully that'll be okay. I tried to keep the focus on her healing and how much I care about her. I'm going to keep a close eye on myself and practice some serious self-care over the next few days.

I have a lot of triggering stuff to work on for school, so I think this is the perfect time to make some vegan cupcakes! I got the cookbook the other week, and I haven't done anything in it - and baking tends to get my mind off of everything... except food.

I'm really concerned about her.

Thank you both for your encouraging words.


A. Lauren
You're very welcome. Congratulations on having the courage to email her, very well done. I believe in the long run you will be pleased with your decision, less misunderstanding all round. Vegan cupcakes? That sounds very interesting. One of my sons is vegan. Take good care.
So the cupcakes are awesome! I made pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream frosting and a cinnamon icing drizzled over top of everything - all vegan, and all not noticeably vegan - just tasty!

That would be the good news. I haven't heard back from my friend. However, I spoke with another friend who is in the same city as her and is able to visit. The conversation was extremely difficult. I was shaking uncontrollably the entire time, and the details just made it more difficult. My PTSD symptoms have gotten worse, and my pain conditions are flaring up as well. I'm finding this situation very difficult to deal with, and I've been finding myself staring into space for hours because with everything that's going on right now (see other post) I'm so drained I can't focus on anything.

Thank you again for your support and encouragement,

A. Lauren
Good for you for practicing self-care, esp in the face of such stress! I agree with everyone else, take the best care of yourself you can. As hard as it has been for you to even think about, you are able to post about it and that's good stuff. Take good care...
You have done what was necessary to assure your friend of your concern. Good on you! Well done for talking about it here. Given your friend's present pain and suffering, perhaps she hasn't the energy to respond back yet. However. Do concentrate on yourself now. You have done exceptionally well in spite of your own issues. Time to take good care of yourself now.

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