Tag Archive | anxiety

Fireworks and PTSD

We are heading into the week of 4th of July.  The holiday lands on a Thursday this year. The firework store billboards are now up, looming huge on the side of the road, and the fireworks-stands seem to pop up out of nowhere in the parking lot of strip malls. Business must be pretty good, because already many, many people are shooting off fireworks and firecrackers at all hours of the day and night.

I understand the fun and enjoyment some people may have from setting off fireworks. Although there are many legal fireworks for sale in the state where I live, there is a never-ending supply of both legal and illegal varieties lying in wait for the excited revelers to buy just across our state-line. There you can purchase the big ones, the percussion of which shakes the houses in the neighborhood.

We have become accustomed to many of our local county fairs shooting off a fireworks display at the end of the night before they close down for the day. But over the last few years, people are shooting them off at random times during the day, and the night. Sometimes at midnight or later, we will hear a loud percussive blast coming from somewhere in the neighborhood. Just one, loud blast that jolts you from sleep, and can cause great distress for animals, and young children.

Unfortunately for some of our combat veterans, the random fireworks/firecrackers going off can be extremely anxiety provoking and be triggering. For some vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, that string of firecrackers may sound like automatic weapons fire, and the big explosions may 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, chances are there is someone hearing them who are struggling with their combat-related trauma.  If you are unable to resist the urge to set-off those huge explosions, then please consider driving out somewhere that is less populated.

For many dogs, the sounds reverberating off the other houses can often make them disoriented and traumatized.  Their stress level becomes unbearable and some of our animals run away or get lost. There are numerous stories about the many dogs winding up in shelters, especially during the days right before and after the 4th of July.

If this is happening in your neighborhood, try talking to your neighbors who are setting off the big ones, or write them a letter. Often people don’t know that they may be causing harming to some of our vets, scaring our little children, or making our animals shake with fear.

In many neighborhoods where I live, the 4th of July has gone from, the ooh and ahh of fireworks displays at the local parks, to almost every house having their own sunup to sundown fireworks/firecrackers celebrations.

People who suffer from PTSD, (whether it is combat-induced or trauma-related) will try to do what they can to take care of themselves over the next week. Typically, I would escape to the secluded boundary waters canoe area for four days, coming back after the 4th. This year, I need to stay home and care for my dog who is becoming more and more agoraphobic the past few weeks with the increasing lighting of firecrackers at all hours of the day and night.

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, the elderly, pets, and others who may suffer from illness and startle easily.

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Time to Press the Reset Button

When I react from a place fraught with anxiety
and heavy-leaden exhaustion.
When anger, frustration, and thick frenetic energy courses through
my body and mind, leaving me breathing hard, and tight as
if I had just run a marathon, top speed through
the seven gates of hell.
When I can’t stand to think, read, engage, or ground.
When that becomes my existence, my life, my scraggly mood than
I know that I need to press my Reset Button.
My Reset Button reminds me that I’m able:
To experience and not think
To listen and not speak
To allow time to play and laugh with glee
To rest and not judge
To connect with the trees, water, fire, and land
To leave worry and self-doubt behind
To Just Be
I just pressed the Reset Button…I can breathe!

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

The Body Electric

I’m going to
Dance it off
Jump it off, sing
Shake out my hands, then my feet
Take a deep breath, maybe two
okay three
Exhale!
Incorporate the possibility that maybe
it’s just frenetic energy.
That it’s not the beast of anxiety
gnashing its teeth, trying to turn
a passing moment, a fleeting thought, a gust of wind
into the choke-hold of frozen fear and breathlessness.
Dance, walk, sing, breathe
A symbiotic relationship with a frenetic moment of the body electric.

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Daniel Wirtz on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my new book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.