Relationship Long distance PTSD support

Kayak99

New Here
Hey all,
It’s my first time on any forum and I guess I could use some advice.

My girlfriend for over a year and friend for 4 years was diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma back in the spring. Since then I have been her supporter through the entire healing process so far. Due to the pandemic we have been basically in a long distance relationship this whole time. I.e meet ups when we can but they often are interrupted due to covid restrictions or university guidelines. This unpredictability lately can be triggering for her. She struggles with loneliness and the drop or reschedule of a plan is a lot for her.

We’ve made this work through FaceTime every night. Due to work and school we normally FaceTime in the late afternoon or nighttime when we are free. However, recently her symptoms have increased at night and the calls become longer and harder as she doesn’t want to be alone.

It’s so hard to watch the person you love struggle through a phone and not even able to give them a hug or hold their hand. I just get so tired, discouraged, sad, stressed, etc sometimes.
Any advice for how to continue support but not drain my energy and emotions? Any advice for easing the unpredictability of the times we are living in for her?

This girl means the world to me and I want to make sure I can continue to be there for her in the best way I can (and keep myself healthy as well).
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
The pandemic is hard even face to face. It’s stressful for people without PTSD, so it’s really doing a number on those who live with it. If she is symptomatic the important thing for you as a supporter to know is that *you* aren’t responsible for her mental health. We can’t help, we can’t fix, we aren’t therapists. All we can do is support, love, and offer what comfort we can. That’s hard to accept because we want to help and fix... Feeling responsible for another adult is draining as hell, especially when there is a mental health issue that you can do zero about.

It’s OK to not spend all night on the phone if you’re exhausted or if you need a break. You’re not letting her down if you take a night off for your own mental health. Make some plans f it helps you feel less guilty. “I’m sorry love, I have dinner plans tonight... I can only talk for a little bit. Can I text/call you later/tomorrow?” It doesn’t make you neglectful if you need a break. Symptomatic periods are exhausting, especially when you’re just along for the ride.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
Is she in therapy? Because it's possible to learn ways to deal better with things like
This unpredictability lately can be triggering for her.
And learning to do that is really HER job. It's not something she can do alone, but helping with that is more the job of a professional than a supporter. (Although supporters can help, with appropriate guidance.)
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Kayak99, it's great that your supporting your friend through this difficult time but you can't help her if it starts affecting your mental health. You also need to look after YOU! It may sound selfish but self care and self regulation are really important. She also needs to respect that you have responsibilities of your own. If it really starts draining you, then you need to back off a bit. Best wishes S3 😊.
 
Top