Have you noticed that you can’t see your own face without help from an object or person? It doesn’t matter how hard you try—your eyes can only see your face when it’s reflected on another surface like a mirror, camera, or even when someone else is describing it.
This is because our eyes are designed to see outwards (towards others) and not inwards (towards ourselves). Similarly, it’s difficult for us to notice changes in ourselves, even when it’s easier for us to note changes in others.
Our loved ones are the ones who notice when something is happening with us because they’re the ones who spend more time with us; they’re the eyes that we need to realize we are changing.
Reflection and Acceptance
When you survive a traumatic event, the way your brain works changes and can affect how you function in different situations of your life, at work, socially, and even with your family.
For example, when you’re celebrating something, you have to be conscious that your own traumas may limit or change your experience. Accepting these vulnerabilities and recognizing that we all need help from people close to us will allow you to celebrate by making the necessary adjustments in order to enjoy it without guilt.
In order for us to improve our mental health, we need to learn how to set healthy boundaries in our relationships. We need to learn to listen to our loved ones when they’re trying to help us, to talk about our own needs and what we can and can’t tolerate. Boundaries will give us the security needed to feel safe within a family group.
Due to our culture, it’s difficult to recognize and accept help. It’s important to normalize that we all need each other.
Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Assisting Others
If you’re a loved one of a survivor of a traumatic event, you’ll become the primary social support for that person. Here are some ways to help out:
- Listen to their concerns
- Reassure them that they’re talking to someone who cares about their well-being
- Validate their emotions
- Talk about and remember what triggers their fears
Looking for professional help is extremely important to have guidance on how to help your loved one. Flight attendants tell us to secure our own oxygen masks in case of an emergency before assisting others. Self-care is essential in order to care for others.
On many occasions, post-traumatic stress can be transferred indirectly, which means that people close to a survivor of a traumatic event suffer as well and are affected by the event. When you’re caring for someone who suffered a traumatic event or you’re trying to understand what they’re going through, you can start feeling similar symptoms.
If you or those you love have experienced trauma, please visit the VSRC Calendar page to find out about free events to help in the healing journey. If you haven’t reached out for help before, remember that it’s never too late to do so; you can always call 702-455-AIDE (2433) or send an email.