The Fourth of July is a celebration of America. Picnics, barbecuing with friends and family, homemade ice cream, and fireworks are all part of the traditional celebration. However, for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Fourth of July can be anything but fun. Around the country, more communities are becoming aware of the special needs these veterans have. The loud noise and flashes of the fireworks can be a trigger for some vets. Before you set off your fireworks this year, take a look at what some veterans wish you knew about PTSD and the Fourth of July. For the best holistic Charlotte, NC PTSD therapy, Legacy Freedom of Charlotte today.
Give a Little Warning
If you’re planning on setting off fireworks in your backyard this year, talk with your neighbors. Reaching out to your neighbor who is a vet and letting them know when you are planning to set off your display can help them prepare. Once you have given them a time, stick to it. Sudden, loud noises are often triggering events for combat veterans and giving them time to prepare for the noise or having the option to leave while you shoot off fireworks can help reduce the likelihood that they will be triggered or have a panic attack.
Choose a Different Way to Celebrate
When your guest list includes a veteran with PTSD you may need to modify your traditional approach to celebrating. Instead of setting off fireworks at your home, head out to a remote location and watch them from afar. Don’t forget to take along some snacks and be ready to tailgate while you wait for the show to begin. If that's still too close for comfort, you could choose to watch the presentation of the fireworks from Washington, D.C. on public television. Each year our National Mall fills with thousands of revelers and the National Symphony to pay tribute to America.
No one likes to leave a party early, but if your veteran friend decides to bow out before the fireworks go boom, be gracious. Remember that PTSD makes anxiety worse and calling attention to them leaving by teasing or giving them a hard time can have an impact on them. Instead, thank them for coming and for their service.
Establish a Safe Space
Should your veteran buddy decide to stay for the show, create a quiet space where he or she can escape if the fireworks get to be too much. The space should be somewhere away from the crowd and should be able to be closed off so that they are not disturbed. Before the celebration, ask if there is anything that helps them cope during an attack like water, blankets, or fidget toys.
Following these simple guidelines can help ensure that everyone gets to enjoy a safe, fun, and happy Fourth of July.
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If you struggle with PTSD, or you know someone who does, Legacy Freedom can help. Thousands of clients have discovered new ways to cope with their PTSD through our holistc treatment program. We know that talking about and working through your PTSD can be difficult. The compassionate and confidential mental health care you need and deserve is just a call or click away! Get started with Legacy Freedom's holistic Charlotte, NC PTSD therapy!