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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Message Board

New here and need some advice

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Old 01-05-2005, 07:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2
concerned21 HB User
New here and need some advice

Hi everyone. I found this board when doing some research on PTSD and thought you all could offer me some advice.

My boyfriend was recently in a car accident. Miraculously, he wasn't hurt physically but he describes the event as never having seen death so close. From his description of the events, it is amazing he's even alive let alone in one piece.

Anyway, this accident has also brought about a lot of financial problems in addition to the fact that he's also between jobs. Needless to say, all of this plus the trauma of the accident itself is really starting to affect him psychologically.

He seems to be showing symptoms of PTSD. He's become very distant, shows no emotion and has a lack of interest in things he used to love to do. And I'm not so sure he's sleeping well either.

I would like some advice on what I can do to help him. What can I say or do to help him cope with this and begin to get on with his life? His family has told him he should talk to a counselor but I'm not sure if he'll actually do it, especially since he has major financial problems now too. I'm guessing that what he needs most is time, the accident occurred just over 2 wks ago. But is there something that I can be doing to help him during his healing process?

Any advice from you all is greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-05-2005, 10:07 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 1,558
goldenwings HB User
Re: New here and need some advice

Hiya concerned21,

First may I say that you are just what your boyfriend needs right now. Your message is so full of compassion and love for him, that he has the foundation to build on. You sound so loving of him. You are doing exactly what is required for his healing process to begin - you are there for him.

I had a car crash 9 years ago. I was hurt physically, but in time that has healed. I have been left with some bits of problems, but in the main things are ok.

Emotionally and psychologically is a different matter. I was a front seat passenger in the car on the motorway/freeway. We were hit from behind and ploughed into the vehicle in front. It is a sensation that to be honest cannot be easily described. You feel that you are out of your body looking at what has just happened. You are very disorientated. It is so very frightening. Each time you think of it afterwards, the same feeling comes over you. Apparently one of my most frequent phrases used afterwards was "what if"?
meaning the obvious. I trained my mind in so many different ways to get back into a car and in the front seat. I will admit, I still sometimes find it difficult.

When and if it is possible for your boyfriend to speak to a counsellor, he will be asked to only talk as much as he feels he can. In the meantime, just you being there will be so good for him. If he wishes to talk, listen. Don't push him to say anything if he doesn't want to.

Never say "oh, yes I know" because that is the worst thing to say, because unless you have been in a car accident you can't know, and he may start to get angry with anyone who says something like that. I'm only trying to let get you prepared for some of his reactions. He is not angry with you personally, please remember that if you can whilst he is going through this.

What you said about him needing time is so very true. You also said about his financial status at the moment, his work situation too. Can you imagine all that on top of his accident? Wow, he needs to know you are there for him in as many ways as you can be. Try to speak to his family and let them know not to push things. They do need to be available to him when he needs them. I know parents and siblings do things for the best, but at this moment in time, your boyfriend perhaps needs to have his own space if he needs it and also if he needs it for them to be there for him.

I know it's difficult for you but you honestly cannot do it all on your own. The only other thing that I think is most important is that you yourself must take care not to become so upset and stressed that you make yourself ill. Don't try and take all of the caring on for yourself, it will be hard I know but let somebody else help you with this.

You are so loving and thoughtful and with you around your boyfriend will begin to heal mentally. Just give him time.

I am so sorry to have gone on and on. I wish I had had the chance to really talk about my crash when it happened. To keep it locked in is the worst thing to do.

Please let your boyfriend know that I send him best wishes and my hopes for his speedy recovery from this trauma. If you yourself want to talk further, I'm here for you.


Old 01-06-2005, 08:20 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2
concerned21 HB User
Re: New here and need some advice

Thanks for all your kind words goldenwings. Your experience sounds like it was very traumatic and I'm glad that you've been able to move on.

He does have a good support group with his family but I'm not so sure they know exactly what to say to him either, but at least they're there. In fact he's been staying with his cousin since the accident which I think has helped. It's been hard for me though because his cousin is many states away so I haven't even been able to see him since all this happened. I only just speak to him over the phone. And even with that, he's been distancing himself so he rarely even answers his phone and it takes days for him to return my calls. It just makes me worry about him that much more.

But I've tried to offer encouraging words at the very least. And I try not to say things that may make things worse, which is actually difficult since I've never been in that situation.

I guess I just have to hope that with time, he will start to feel better. Thanks again so much for your help.

Old 01-15-2005, 02:37 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: so cal
Posts: 5
taintedsoul HB User
Re: New here and need some advice

Here are a couple links for support as partners to someone suffering PTSD. They also provide information so you can understand the complexity and symptoms associated with different stages.

I hope you can find the help you need. I appears you are taking great concern and exploring what you can do. Thats great.
Just continue to be patient.

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