Reacting to a friend's PTSD outburst.

My wife has a friend that has PTSD that came to stay with us when my middle child was a newborn. She suffered a fair amount of abuse as a child and is very protective of others. She was asleep on an air mattress in our living room and I was at my desk in the same room finishing up some business on my computer. 
The baby started to cry and as I was getting up to go check in him she jumped out of bad in a pose like she was ready to attack and was saying no over and over and shushing me to be quiet. She motioned me to stay back. I knew she was proficient in Tae Kwon Do so I wasn't sure what to do. I needed to get to the baby because it wasn't a normal cry. 
Fortunately my wife woke up as well. She came down the hallway and said her friends name, paused and then said the baby is just crying nothing is wrong. Her friend seemed like she was sleep walking through this whole thing, like she wasn't completely awake. She just kind of smiled and had an expression like she realized nothing was wrong and laid back down to sleep. 
The next day we told her what happened and she didn't really remember it at first but I think a lot of it came back to her over some time. The three of us joke about the time she tried to "ninja" me in her sleep, but it was a very scary situation. I'm not sure what I would have done if my wife hadn't intervened.

What is the best way to handle somebody having an episode with PTSD without anyone getting hurt? now I know her triggers and how to avoid them but what should I have done? If anybody has advice I would greatly appreciate it.
  • 5 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Well, if one of her triggers is the baby crying, you probably can't avoid all of her triggers. Apparently, speaking to her calmly and reassuring her that everything is all right, is helpful, but then I'm not a professional. She made need to seek some help.
  • I think it was the type of cry that set her off because it happened almost 3 years ago without a repeat incident. He had gotten his foot stuck between the crib bars and didn't know how to move it. It was a simple matter to remedy with no injury  but he was little and it scared him.
  • hi @johnb thanks for posting. glad it all worked out on that night when the baby was crying. i suppose it would depend on the situation as to what you would do.  if she is in protective mode, and the baby is alright, then it would all work itself out i suppose. if she were to come at you, you would have to do your best to just restrain her until she could come out of it.

    knowing her triggers is a plus. is she in therapy for her ptsd?
  • Woah, that sounds scary indeed.  Poor woman, I can only imagine she must have gone tru in order to be in this kind of state now!  I hope she is going to theraphy, those people who suffer from this can be a bit dangerous at times, whatever you do never catch them by surprise.  My uncle  suffers from this since he came back from the way, sometimes he is pretty scary.  To the point I fear him and I tend to avoid him. 

    Sometimes he gets a bit over protective and aggressive.  You'd not like to know what he did when he thought my SO was making fun of me, my SO was just joking, but my uncle had an extreme reaction! I thank him for defending me, I was actually a bit upset at those jokes, but not THAAAT much.
  • @dominica It turns out she was being protective of me as well. I'm not sure if she is in therapy at this point. Loud and or scary sounds when she is asleep seems to be the trigger. There hasn't been an incident since that I'm aware of.
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