02 Jul Independence Day Celebrations Trigger Veterans’ PTSD
July Fourth is a time of celebration for everyone. But before you decide to purchase the loudest firecracker to celebrate America’s independence, you should be aware of the impact it might have on Veterans.
Tina Stewart is a Veteran who has served six years as Army National Guard. In an interview, she said that she enjoys celebrating independence day with her family and friends. She also added that she feels proud to honor the American flag on this day.
However, when it comes to firecrackers, the celebrations can turn into a nightmare.
Tina recalls that how the sound of firecrackers triggers her PTSD.
She said, “I do suffer from PTSD and fireworks set that off. It reminds me of gunshots. And I can’t be around that kind of thing. Because when it comes out of nowhere, and it startles me, then it sets off that reaction.”
She also added that the sound of firecrackers could bring back the unresolved emotions, making her feel unsafe and wanting to hide.
Whenever she hears the sound of firecrackers, she relies on her service dog- Miss Abby.
In the interview, Tina also recalled that when she was first diagnosed with PTSD, asking for help and understanding her emotions were pretty tough. However, now she has realized that asking for help is not a sign of weakness and also goes to therapies.
According to Eric Litwiller, a member of the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, getting professional help can be quite helpful as it can help you understand your triggers and emotions behind the unresolved trauma.
Litwiller added that a lot of Veterans suffer during this time of the year. He states that he is not asking anyone to give up on firecrackers altogether. He simply aims to ask people to keep in mind the problems of the people without whom this day won’t be celebrated.