This article struck me as a wow moment because I could identify with the family member witnessing the flashback of a solider. This article is about how to set up a support group but also things not to do with some one with PTSD. http://homecomingvets.com/2013/04/02/series-a-veterans-point-of-view-on-ptsd-or-osi-part-3/#comment-14367
This is a previous post that goes with this article. The experience of my husband playing a joke. Read on:
If you know someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, don't play jokes on them.
Example: I went to the store and I was going to my van. My hands were full of groceries and I was trying to find my keys. I hear a tapping noise on the window behind me in the car next to me. I startled and my body went into the Fight or Flight Mode- my adrenaline was pumping. It was my husband parked next to me that thought it would be funny to meet me at the store.
Unless you have PTSD you don't get it. Something as simple as that can put a person with PTSD in a panic which terrorizes them. You can possible get hurt because we don't think we just react to defend ourselves from another attack. If I would have been a solider the person could have been killed because soldiers are trained to kill with their hands, if they need to.
On the way home while driving, I zoned out and stopped at what I thought was a four way stop. I stopped in the middle of a highway and the person that was at the stop sign was confused and so was I because I thought I was much further down the hwy than I was.
Before therapy I was always stuck on hyper-alert and fight or flight mode so that is why it terrified me so much. My guard was down and I felt safe in my environment. I will have a serious talk with my husband to reaffirm how he can't do that.
Victims or Survivors speak up to your family and friends and set your boundaries of what they can and cannot do, even if it seems silly to them. You have to let them know how it affects you. My husband said "but honey you looked right at me." I didn't see it was my husband's car because I was preoccupied with finding my keys.
Even Survivors can have a frightening day and have PTSD symptoms surface. Now I will take good care of myself by practicing deep breathing, hot bath, and go to bed early. Before therapy, I wouldn't of known what to do and I would have been thinking about it all night and possibly have a nightmare about it being my rapist.
So if that is you seek therapy it is worth it. The next day I was fine.