8 Things NOT To Say To Someone With PTSD

Hello, My Beautiful Readers!

After being diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety post-terrorist attack, I have received many interesting questions/statements—most of them which result in an internal side-eye from me 😒


Unfortunately, due to mental health having such a negative stigma in our society, we frequently fail to learn appropriate ways to communicate with those who suffer those issues. Sooooo…instead of complaining about all of the times people ask me annoying questions, I want you guys to learn some triggering statements to those who suffer from PTSD:

1. “Are you traumatized?”

No sh*t SHERLOCK! I literally witnessed a horrific event, OF COURSE, I’m traumatized. When you ask this, it makes the survivor feel like an “other” and can possibly trigger unpleasant memories from the incident.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: Can you tell me about your experience, if you feel comfortable?

2. “How do you have PTSD; you weren’t in the war?”

While it is common for many returned war veterans to suffer from PTSD, the National Center for PTSD reports that 7-8% of the general population will experience PTSD in their lives. Instead of assuming that PTSD is only experienced by veterans, try researching more information about what civilians experience.

3. “You don’t need therapy—you just need to pray!”

BYE FELICIA!👋🏾 This is the most insulting comment that people spew my way. While I do have a strong personal relationship with the Big Guy Upstairs, PTSD physically impacts your brain. Medical professionals help re-establish a sense of physical safety and help to develop healthy coping mechanisms for continuing your life post-trauma.

4. “Don’t claim that you have PTSD—it’s not a FOREVER thing.”

While the length of time varies for those who suffer from PTSD, the last thing we want to hear is someone putting a timetable on our healing process. For me, I constantly beat myself up for not healing quickly enough, so when you draw attention to its “time period,” it can start to make me feel like I’m not healing as fast as I can.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: How are handling your symptoms? Are you starting to see progress in your healing journey?

5. “What are you tired from?”/”Why are you so tired, you haven’t done anything today?”

LOOK 👏🏽 UP 👏🏽 THE 👏🏽 DAMN 👏🏽 SYMPTOMS 👏🏽 OF 👏🏽 PTSD! This one sends me through the ROOF! One of the foremost symptoms is hyperarousal, making one feel jittery and unable to sleep. Also, people also struggle with debilitating nightmares, where they relive the event.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: I am so sorry you are having a hard time sleeping—that must be really hard on you.

6. “Is it THAT big of a deal?”

Hmmm…if someone tried to hunt you for murder for 15+ hours with AK-47’s and bombs, would it be that big of a deal to you? PROBABLY f*cking so.

SO TRY THIS INSTEAD: How has this event impacted you? What are some things that have changed in your life?

7. “Why can’t you just get over it already?”

Refer to “Statement 6″…and then fall down some steps…

8. “You’re always in a bad mood now—what’s wrong with you?

I know that people with PTSD can be perceived as moody, but again, please guys, read some of the symptoms that we experience. You will find irritability pretty high up there on the list as well! Accordingly, if someone’s mood has gone from high to low, they may just be experiencing a mood change due to stress or thoughts of the incident.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: I’ve noticed you’ve been a little more down lately…anything you want to talk about?

I know it can be scary trying to ask PC questions to those who have suffered trauma! However, it is really important that we try to remove the stigma around trauma–and these tips and tricks are the starting point to a productive and empathetic conversation. Plus, we won’t think you’re a total idiot when you walk away 😂😉