One of the saddest side effects of PTSD, I believe, is the inability to trust. It’s sad when trust is broken; rebuilding it can be a life-long venture and may require a great deal of patience and perseverance to achieve.
So often, veterans isolate themselves because they do not feel they can trust anyone. Many won’t go out in crowds, or even small groups of people because they no longer feel safe. Those who are willing to stretch their comfort zone and venture out into public places often work very hard to maximize their safety doing things like making sure they don’t sit with their backs to the door, or driving on back roads rather than highways. The worst part is that in doing all the things they do to keep themselves safe, they often miss out on things that would benefit them and make life more enjoyable if they could just engage themselves in the various activities required.
Sometimes, in order to rebuild trust, we have to take baby steps. It requires a lot of courage! It may be you will never learn to trust people enough to have the emotion support you need, but maybe it’s possible to adopt a cat or dog and begin by learning to trust that animal. I think animals can be great healers. Dogs, cats, horses, they love so completely and accept us as we are – that’s a key element in healing when you have PTSD. They provide the unconditional acceptance so crucial to healing.
However you rebuild trust, try to be willing to take some small steps toward getting better. Remember, growth never comes without change, and if you aren’t willing to take some risks, you’re probably not going to overcome the PTSD. Good luck!