Each of us has a different relationship with our families in regard to PTSD (or other issues pertaining to an anxiety/depression diagnosis).
I love my family and they have been supportive on many, many things. PTSD has not been high on the priority list, however.
I have come to understand that each of us (we as well as our family members or friends) is only able to wrap our head around such a diagnosis and what it all means in our own timeframe. This can not be sped up, as much as some of us would like, particularly in the earlier years of diagnosis and treatment when support would be greatly appreciated.
I currently find myself facing decisions that are not particularly easy. I had always hoped that my parents would acknowledge the PTSD. Be careful what you wish for, right? What I thought, and what is actually occurring, are two separate things.
A little back story: twelve years ago I told my parents about the sexual abuse, my diagnosis and treatment therapy. At this time, when I initially shared with them, I had been in denial for twenty-five years, and thought my failure to get past the experience of sexual abuse and assault for over five years in my childhood was a personal failure, or weakness of character.
As we sat around the table that evening when I first told them, the response was not at all what I expected. Frankly, I expected my father to storm out of the house and track down my uncle (who perpetrated the abuse) and beat the snot out of him. I was actually afraid of this happening and was holding his car keys in my pocket. Instead, both my parents told me they did not know, and knew that something was "up" with me, but could not put their finger on it. Now they could. There was not a whole lot of emotion displayed. And then the topic was changed.
Okay. So I started therapy. When I tried to discuss certain things that were occurring in therapy, trying to make sense of it all, my parents really did not want to be part of the discussion. At the time, I was very sad. I felt very alone, very stupid, very disillusioned and very weak. I can remember about a good three years into therapy when there was an evening seminar being offered free of charge for parents of children with PTSD to gain some information, understanding, insight, have questions answered, etc. I asked my parents if they would like to participate, and the ultimate answer was no. They felt they could not understand it-the PTSD, the abuse, what was occurring in therapy, etc. The idea that they were unwilling to try was devastating at the time. It is only in hindsight that I may be open to the idea that they were not ready to deal with my past experience and that PTSD was too looming a diagnosis to be digested. I believe they wanted to be helpful, they just were not clear on what that would look like (for them, or for me).
Fast forward twelve years. I have been in therapy, am medication compliant, understand self-care, and understand how my old belief systems can run a person into the ground. I faced some tough challenges along the way as I needed to forsake what I had built my life upon and take a risk that something else existed (namely health). I did not know what health looked like or felt like. All I knew what that I was sinking fast and taking the risk to begin all over again at twenty-seven was no small feat. It worked though. Thank gracious. It was the beginning of my road toward recovery.