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When You Set Off Fireworks, Please Think About Those With PTSD

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I understand the fun and enjoyment some people may have from setting off fireworks. There are many legal fireworks here, but also a never-ending supply of illegal fireworks lying in wait for the excited revelers to buy just across state lines. There you can purchase the big ones, with percussions that shake the houses in the neighborhood. For those who are buying them and bringing them back to their quiet neighborhood streets, it’s a dream come true.

Unfortunately for some of our combat veterans, it can also be a nightmare come true. For those vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a string of firecrackers can sound like automatic weapons fire, and the big explosions might sound like the IEDs that threatened so many of their lives.

Flashbacks are a horrible reliving of past traumatic events. When you are setting off these illegal fireworks, there may be someone hearing them who is struggling with their combat-related trauma. If you are unable to resist the urge to set off these huge explosions, then please consider driving out somewhere that is less populated.

Try talking to your neighbors who are setting off big fireworks, or write them an anonymous letter. Many people don’t know that they are harming some of our vets or even scaring our little children and pets.

People who struggle with PTSD, (whether it is combat-induced or other trauma related) will try to do what they can to take care of themselves throughout holiday weekends; I’m trekking off the boundary waters canoe area for four days. Unfortunately, my therapy dog needs to stay behind, but my husband will take good care of her.

Please be courteous when setting off your fireworks and firecrackers at your home. Be thoughtful not only of our veterans, but also the small children, elderly, pets and others who may struggle with illness and startle easily.

If you need support right now, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. Or send a text message to 838255.

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Unsplash photo via Adam Birkett

Originally published: October 12, 2017
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