Fireworks trigger frightening memories for vets with PTSD - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Fireworks trigger frightening memories for vets with PTSD

Trindi Collins, SGT, US Army Retired (Source: Trindi Collins) Trindi Collins, SGT, US Army Retired (Source: Trindi Collins)
Trindi Collins, SGT, US Army Retired (Source: Trindi Collins) Trindi Collins, SGT, US Army Retired (Source: Trindi Collins)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Thousands of East Texans look forward to the lights and sounds of this July 4, but the holiday meant to celebrate America can be traumatic for those who have served to protect her. Veteran Trindi Collins says she will never go to a fireworks show again.

“Two months after I got back from Afghanistan, I was home for New Year's Eve. Of course, [on] New Year’s Eve we have big fireworks. We have a lot of booms and I literally had a panic attack because it was just too much for me,” she said.

Trindi says her PTSD is so severe, it's changed her life.

“I started having the bad dreams. I don't like a lot of noise. I don't like crowds. I'm always, I have to sit when I go into some places. I have to sit where I can see a full range of everything,” said Trindi.

During her last tour in Afghanistan, the area where she was stationed was hit several times by mortars.

“We got hit with mortars on a regular basis. If a week went by without us getting mortared, it was unusual,” she said.

Now, Trindi says any loud bangs or pops trigger frightening memories.

“I don't want to be seen in public crying over fireworks…but I do. It's the tension that will get to me,” she said.

Of the roughly 2.5 million troops that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, research shows between 7 and 20 percent develop PTSD.

But, peer support specialist Michael Beck says the condition isn’t exclusive to combat veterans.

“Everybody of some sort who suffers a traumatic event goes through PTSD. A divorce, an abusive parent, sitting at a red light watching and seeing an accident where someone is killed,” he explained.

Beck says unexpected noises like fireworks have the potential to trigger someone's PTSD.

“If they're hypersensitive or hypervigilant and something catches them by surprise, they're going to go into defensive mode. Not aggressive mode, but defensive mode,” he said.

Some things you can do to be courteous of veterans this holiday weekend are let your neighbors know if you're going to light fireworks near your home, don't set off fireworks at unexpected times during the day, and minimize the number of fireworks you set off.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.
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