The mind replays what the heart can't erase.
Thinking today of all of the suicide loss survivors who have lost their loved ones to firearms. For many, the sounds of explosions or fireworks bring back unwanted memories, some of which can cause a PTSD activation that can make holidays like the 4th of July very traumatic.
For anyone who suffers from PTSD related to gun violence, here are some tips for coping this holiday weekend, provided by psychiatrist John Lipkin, M.D., from peacehealth.com.Anticipating the noise can help you avoid being caught off guard. (If you’re uncomfortable talking with your neighbors about it, have a trusted friend or loved one check with them instead.) You might let others know you struggle with anxiety or PTSD and that fireworks can make it difficult for you. You can encourage them to celebrate the holiday as they wish, but just tell them it would help you to know when they expect to set off their fireworks. They might even decide to forego the fireworks out of kindness.
- five things you can see
- four things you can hear
- three things you can feel
- two things you can smell
- one good thing you are grateful for or can say about yourself.
Practice mindfully eating a piece of fruit, noticing how it looks, the texture of its skin, the fragrance of its aroma, the temperature, flavor, and how it feels as you taste it. See how long you can enjoy each bite until you swallow it. Notice how it feels when you swallow each bite and before you take another.
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology and the Veteran’s Administration National Center for PTSD has helped develop two effective, free apps for smartphones to help people cope with symptoms of anxiety, panic and PTSD. One app is called Virtual Hope Box (on Google and on Apple) and the other is PTSD Coach.
Professional trauma-focused therapy can help you to help cope with, reduce and sometimes eliminate these anxiety responses.