Not All They're Cracked Up To Be; One Veterans 4th Of July Nightmare

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- The booming sound and flashes that light the sky is something most people look forward to on the fourth of July, but for Timothy Anson it brings out his worst memories.

“I cringe and break out in bad sweat,” said war veteran Timothy Anson.

Beginning Thursday morning at 8 a.m., people in Lincoln can purchase fireworks from stands and legally shoot them off.

Anson was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has dealt with it regularly. Though, when the fourth comes around, Anson said memories he’d like to forget arise.

“When people shoot fireworks after dark…I dive under my bed,” said Anson. “I don’t get sleep whatsoever.”

Anson said his PTSD follows him three to four months after July 4th.

Mental Health practitioner, LauraLee Clinchard said PTSD is the “activating event that makes the memory come and hijacks the thinking and goes into the old and emotional fight or flight response.”

“It’s like reliving all bad experiences since you’re born until current…all rushing at once,” said Anson.

To cope, Anson has a routine: to shut all windows, turn on the air conditioning, and turn on the Television as loud as it can.

Clinchard recommends that when times like this arise, it’s best for each person to do what’s best for themselves.

“Let that person take care of themselves the way they need to do,” said Clinchard.

Other recommendations are breathing exercises so those with PTSD can try to de-stress.

Anson said in past years, people would light up fireworks from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m.

Clinchard adds that neighbors should limit how late they shoot fireworks since it can cause someone to experience extreme trauma.