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Veteran’s Day: A Mix of Triggers and Honors

November 11, 2013

Welby O’Brien, Oregon writer
Love our vets blog

Veteran’s Day and other patriotic holidays can really catch us off guard. Ironically, the one day of the year set aside to honor our veterans often is one of the most difficult for many of them. Especially those with PTSD. And the sad thing is that most people do not get it. So how do those with Post-Traumatic Stress and their loved ones best survive this time of year?

Yesterday I was looking for Veteran’s Day cards at our huge local super store. Three complete aisles and four end displays of greeting cards, including rows and rows of Halloween cards (that in itself would be another blog another time). Could not find the Veteran’s Day cards.

So I asked an employee (who had worked there for 15 years). She had not even heard of Veteran’s Day! What? Excuse me???

Finally I found them. Just a few cards. Down at the bottom. It made me mad. And sad. So I bought a whole bunch (if you ever need one, call me.)

For the first time, I realized that I too am more susceptible to being triggered this week. Do not be surprised if our vets and those of us who love them seem more irritable than usual this time of year. Symptoms of PTSD may be much more hot-wired (sleep disturbances, anxiety, substance abuse, withdrawing, outbursts or emotions, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, etc.).

I am coming to realize that a lot more veterans have PTSD than are willing to admit. They often carry themselves well in parades and other patriotic events. And rightly so. They DO deserve all the honor and gratitude they receive! But inside many of those brave uniformed bodies are hidden the terrors of war. No one but the veteran really knows the horror they lived though. And relive over and over again.

So whether you are a veteran or a loved one, please be sure to surround yourself with good support during this time, stay aware of your own triggers, and take care of YOU.

And if you do decide to celebrate, here are two links to some great Veteran’s Day and military discounts. It is good to know that some people DO get it! :)

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Michal Ann McArthur November 12, 2013

A good article, Welby. My good friends lost their only son in Iraq, and I think of him every Veteran’s Day. The cost of war is much higher than we can ever measure with statistics about “dead and wounded.”

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