Going through a moment of distress can change a person, and always for the worst. A car accident or the loss of a family member leaves lasting emotional scars on the person, and often these scars are difficult to erase.
The road to recovering from a traumatic experience is a difficult one to tread. Emotional support is always needed for the person to get through it, and who better to provide the needed encouragement and motivation than a close friend.
If you have someone who is going through a difficult time dealing with the effects of a distressing event, it is always best to lend a helping hand and support your friend as he or she recovers from the ordeal.
Here are some ways that can help you to make that happen.
Give some space
Immediately after your friend has undergone a critical moment, the first thing you will have to do is to give space. Allow him or her to process the event on their own, but this is not to say encouraging isolation for the purpose of self-healing. In fact, the reason you are giving space is to provide the person a moment to breathe and settle down. This will prepare them for the longer and more difficult process of recovery. As you keep your distance, however, you will need to reassure your friend of the emotional support you are giving them. That way, they will realize that they are not alone in facing their demons.
Discourage self-destructive behavior
To begin with, stopping a friend from inflicting self-harm can be difficult. The first thing you have to realize is that most self-destructive behaviors are psychological in origin. Patients who have post-traumatic stress disorder inflict pain on themselves to come to terms with the events that caused it in the first place. In turn, resulting conditions which include eating disorders, trichotillomania, and social disassociation can further reinforce a feeling of powerlessness, creating a cycle that’s difficult to get out of. To break through this self-destructive cycle, you as a friend should be able to talk to the person directly and ask them how they feel. Keep an open mind during your conversations, and allow him or her to express what has been kept silent since the traumatic experience.
Join in the distractions
As your friend slowly recovers from the trauma, you need to observe their need to come out strong. The internal torment will gradually subside, and you will have to help your friend to move on completely by taking part in healthy and worthwhile activities together. Explore opportunities where your friend can become expressive in the way he or she is dealing with their melancholy. Indeed, going to the gym or taking an art class can be some of the best ways to bounce back from a traumatic experience. Joining your friend as he or she takes part in a new sport, hobby or calling can greatly motivate him or her to rise above the sadness, feeling not as lonely as they thought they were, and realizing that life must somehow go on.