It’s that time of the year when we celebrate Independence Day. It’s a fun and boisterous time, filled with much cheer and celebration. Many families are visiting friends and loved ones during this time. Several people are planning on watching the fireworks and possibly hosting a little BBQ.
There are some though, who dread this time of year. If you know someone that suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) please be mindful that this time of year may not hold the same level of excitement or anticipation for them as it does for you. Fireworks (and other loud noises such as thunderclaps) can startle and disorient people suffering from PTSD. Don’t assume that just because you think fireworks are fun, that everyone else will enjoy them too. Use fireworks safely in a large open area, away from homes and apartment buildings. Don’t assume that other people know you are setting them off either. Give ample warning. Enjoy this celebration of freedom by also respecting those that have helped to ensure it.
If you are suffering from PTSD and are dreading the pending celebration contact your counselor or your support team. Reassure yourself that you are home, and that you are safe. Get some pictures of friends and family that you can access quickly. Every year I make the Platt College San Diego sound booth available to those that suffer from PTSD. If you think you will need it this year, let me know. Also, you can get a free lawn/window sign to let others know to be mindful during their celebration.
Living in Sunny San Diego we don’t get many thunderstorms. But occasionally, we do. If you or someone you know suffers from PTSD get into the habit of checking the weather reports. Your local VA hospital has programs for coping during thunderstorms as well. Some people have had success watching fireworks, or thunderstorm videos on Youtube with the volume turned down and each day they turn the volume up slightly in order to acclimate themselves.
The bottom line is, have fun, but anytime you are celebrating with fireworks please be aware of others.