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For some, 4th of July brings to mind the smell of burgers on the grill or the celebratory fireworks lighting up the night sky. But for some Veterans, typical Independence Day celebrations include reminders that trigger uneasiness and discomfort. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help make this 4th of July enjoyable for all — especially those who have served our country in the military.
For Veterans: Planning Ahead
You can let your family and friends know if something makes you feel uncomfortable. Recognizing your triggers ahead of time can help avoid bigger problems down the road. Common symptoms experienced around July 4th may include:
If you are hosting a 4th of July party or picnic, you can ask ahead of time if any Veterans you invite have difficulty around the holiday. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Consider safe alternatives to your typical Independence Day celebrations. For example, if a Veteran friend or family member is alarmed by the loud sound of fireworks, you can suggest that your group use sparklers instead.
For Mike, featured in the video below, and other Veterans who are sensitive to noise or bright lights, anxiety caused by loud noises and unexpected flashes of light during 4th of July celebrations can take a toll. Hear Mike describe these symptoms and effective coping skills.
During the battle of Fallujah, Mike, a Marine officer, was wounded. He was told he had PTSD, but he thought it would go away on its own. He experienced severe headaches, problems with anger, and light sensitivity. After a friend encouraged him to seek support from VA, Mike began treatment for PTSD and TBI and is on the road to recovery.
About the author: This article originally appeared on MakeTheConnection.net. Make the Connection is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives.
Vantage Point, VA’s official blog, has transitioned to VA News. For the latest in VA news and information, visit the new site at news.va.gov and update your bookmarks. Vantage Point is no longer being updated.