HometownMcLennan County


Veterans battle with PTSD during firework celebrations

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 14:57:27-04

WACO, TX — Fourth of July is a time for many to celebrate the United States of America's independence.

It's a time where cookouts are held, and of course fireworks are lit. That colorful, loud display in the sky that brings joy to many and worry to others.

Veterans with PTSD are constantly concerned around this time of year as fireworks can act as a trigger, taking them back to their days in combat.

"The anger comes out of you ya know the frustration," John Johnson said.

Johnson fought in the Vietnam war for two years. He eventually was diagnosed with PTSD and lives with the struggle each day. It can send them back to their survival time, always wondering if or when they would be shot.

"They become very apprehensive this time of year, I would say the fear is actually more common building up to independence day," said Larry B. Aramanda, the chief of domiciliary.

Aramanda says there are many veterans he works with that struggle with the Fourth of July and the fireworks that will be shot into the sky.

Although many veterans stay away from the festivities, sometimes the loud noises are still close enough to hear.

Johnson said he tries to make sure his episodes don't effect his family and friends, to help he talks to other veterans who is experiencing the same thing he is.

"It helps to help both of you to wind down to say, 'hey, you know we lived through it,'" Johnson said.

Aramanda even suggests visiting somewhere where a lot of other things are happening.

"Most places that you are, you're going to hear fireworks at least, another suggestion would be go to Walmart or H-E-B, one of the big stores where there will be other people not freaking out you may not hear fireworks there," Aramanda said.

If you live with or know someone dealing with PTSD, Aramanda suggests talking to them and trying to calm them down during an episode.

"A conversation brings you right back here to the here and now. and you can't be in both places at the same time," Aramanda said.

For any veteran dealing with PTSD you can call the veteran crisis hot line at 1-800-273-8255.

For more information on ways to deal with PTSD visit the Peace Health website.