Holidays can be very difficult for some veterans. It’s nice to think of the holidays as being a time of peaceful music, beautiful lights and friendly smiles, but it is often anything but that. Sometimes it can be hard to find anything to be happy about and peace on earth may seem like a pipe dream. The holidays may mean extra people in the home when the relatives come, or traveling to the homes of others and then trying to fit in and not let the noise and stress make you crazy.
Please understand that PTSD often causes excessive noise and activity. When this goes on around a veteran it can heighten anxiety and lead to blow ups and temper flares. By recognizing the problem, you can work with it. Try to keep the pace easy and the atmosphere peaceful. Soft, gentle holiday music can promote a calm, soothing environment. If family and friends will be arriving, try to plan to have a quiet room where the veteran can go to unwind. If travel is necessary, look for ways to provide comfort to the vet: seat him or her by the door on the plane, if possible, or bring along a book or magazine of interest.
Above all, understand that this is a stressful time for veterans for a variety of reasons, and try to be forgiving. After all, isn’t that what the season is all about?