The thing about trauma and PTSD is that it can come up unexpectedly and seemingly out of nowhere. I have a pretty significant amount of PTSD and all of that, but still, things frequently take me by surprise about what can be triggering or scary.
Last year on Independence Day, my family shot off fireworks (much to my displeasure). Don’t misunderstand me here, I LOVE fireworks. There is little in this world that’s guaranteed to make me emotional, but I can guarantee you, I will be crying the next time I go to Disney and see those Happily Ever After fireworks. Seriously, nothing is better than a good fireworks show.
I love fireworks. AS LONG AS I FEEL SAFE. Disney? Very safe. Anything less than that? …..I’m really going to struggle.
I’ve always had a healthy fear of backyard fireworks. And by healthy fear, I mean I’d beg my dad to do them, and then run inside crying begging him not to. Every single year, that is what went on when I was a kid.
Veterans are not the only ones affected
You might hear of someone struggling with fireworks in association with PTSD and automatically assume this person is a veteran or has some other association that way.
That is true, but it’s not just veterans who are affected. To go further here, not all veterans are affected like this either. My husband IS a veteran, and of the 2 of us…lets just say I’m the only one with an issue here.
As I mentioned, last year my family decided to set off just a few fireworks in our yard. (Keep in mind, our “yard” is 10 acres and it is legal where we live.)
I didn’t want them to, I was freaking out. My husband actually got mad at me because I was holding his hand so hard. I was already on edge and worried. Then, a (very minor) mishap happened and I lost my shit. I ran inside, full panic mode, panic attack, couldn’t breathe, the whole thing. It was bad.
I couldn’t understand why I had this reaction. After all, who am I to be triggered and paralyzed with fear by fireworks? I’m not a veteran, so this doesn’t even apply to me! I felt ashamed of myself and embarrassed and I just didn’t understand.
At therapy the next day, I told her about it and about all years previous when I had similar reactions. I told her how I felt stupid about it and that it was just another example of me being too much. She disagreed.
She then went to pull out a stack of books (which she loves doing) and going through them, reading things and showing me things that explained exactly why I have the reaction that I do, and how it actually makes perfect sense. I felt so much better and validated. Like it actually does make sense!
PTSD looks different on everyone. Things you think may be unrelated very well could be related. Whatever your triggers, whatever you’re going through, don’t immediately discredit it.
And if you struggle with tomorrow “for no reason” like I do?
It’s not for “no reason”.