Dealing with Trauma Anniversaries

Valentine’s Day was just this past week, and while this day was filled with love and romance for many, it was filled with heartache and suffering for others. Valentine’s Day, just like any holiday or anniversary, can be a hard thing to go through, especially if you have PTSD.

 

Anniversaries are usually seen as a positive thing, something you look forward to and plan for. You celebrate the anniversary of your relationship or wedding, and even birthdays. But some anniversaries aren’t quite so cheery. It can be difficult when you lose a loved one, break off a serious relationship, or experience any sort of traumatic event, and PTSD can be the result of these things. The event itself can be hard enough, but when the anniversary date for it rolls around, you might find yourself experiencing the struggle all over again.

 

Oftentimes, the anniversary of the traumatic event can cause your PTSD to really flare up. Depression, guilt, and shame might begin to set in as you think about the event. Triggers that you thought you had overcome now take hold of you once again, and you begin to experience flashbacks and panic attacks.

 

If it’s been long enough since the traumatic event, you’ll begin to notice these anniversary patterns and you might start avoiding certain places, people, and any other triggers related to the event. Before the anniversary even arrives, you might feel nervous and on edge as you dread the upcoming day.

 

Anniversaries of traumatic events are definitely no fun so it might help to be prepared for when the day comes. The right way to approach the trauma-related anniversary truly depends on the person and what the trauma is. For some, they feel closure and relief by doing something in honor of the event. This could be visiting the grave of someone they lost, donating or volunteering to help disaster relief, or simply taking a few moments of silence.

 

For others, like rape victims, for example, the best thing to do is avoid thinking about the event and try to completely distract themselves. This is where planning ahead is really important. Maybe plan for a fun day with family or friends, spend the day out in town, go to a movie, or do anything that you know will keep your mind busy.

 

If you’re unsure of how to handle the upcoming dreaded day, then talk to your therapist. They are trained to know how to handle these situations, and, being your therapist, they should know what way of coping should work best for you. Your therapist is there to help you in any way that they can.

 

The anniversary date of your traumatic event might feel like it lasts forever, but that day will soon pass too. Sometimes though, the feelings that arise from the anniversary can last up to a few weeks, and that’s okay. Take all the time you need to process and cope with the event, and know that it does get better from here on out. Healing from PTSD is possible.

 

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The New Jersey Fire Massacre – How Holiday Stress Can Easily Get Out Of Hand

The holidays can be a stressful time of the year – you have finances, gift-buying, traveling, and family relationships to worry about. There’s a lot going on, and it can be difficult to get through. But you don’t expect people to fly off the handle and go on a killing spree.

Unfortunately, that seemed to be the case for the Caneiro Family, in New Jersey. Paul and Keith Caneiro were close brothers. They kept a close relationship, worked together, and even lived close by to each other. Being only 11 miles apart they could rely on each other for anything. But just two days before Thanksgiving, Paul murdered Keith and his entire family, then set the whole house on fire to cover it up. If that weren’t bad enough, he then went and set his own house on fire with his family in it to try to show that someone else had targeted and was out to get the Caneiro family.

This tragic event will leave survivors and bystanders struggling with PTSD, and you might ask yourself why someone would do something like this. But when we step back and look at the bigger picture, it reveals a struggle that’s much deeper than what we can see. The Caneiro brothers worked together, which leads us to believe that the reason behind this horrendous crime could have been related to financial stress and blame towards Keith. It was also right before the holidays, adding even more stress to the situation. Paul was unable to express or control his emotions and struggles, and ultimately, it got the best of him.

While a massacre like this is rare, struggling with day to day life isn’t, and there can be consequences when we don’t face what’s in front of us. As the holidays get closer, know that you’re not the only one having problems. It’s a difficult time of the year, but you’re not alone in it. While most people don’t actually desire to kill their loved ones, they can still get frustrated or irritated, and acting on those feelings can always make matters worse. So before you say something you’re going to regret, take a deep breath, recognize what you’re struggling with, and try to openly communicate it.

If you do lash out and snap at a loved one, don’t try to make up excuses or pretend it didn’t happen. When Paul tried to cover up what he had done, he made things so much worse by catching fire to everything around him, hurting even more people in the process, and earning him life in prison. Don’t let this happen to you. If you do or say something you didn’t mean, apologize and make sure you don’t do it again.

While it may seem like there is no end in sight for stressful situations, how you deal with them can make a huge difference. Don’t let the stress get the best of you during this holiday season. Acknowledge what you think and feel, and practice open communication. It’ll make all the difference.