Holiday season brings flashbacks for veterans with PTSD

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but for some of the men and women who’ve served our country the holiday season triggers memories that are hard to forget.

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”This time of the year. To me it’s been 12 years since that time and I still remember that especially during this time of the year because it triggers that,” Rivera said.

Rivera, who is now the outreach director at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors in Killeen, spent two Christmas holidays deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, every year, he remembers how his life could have changed in an instant.

“The day I was supposed to comeback our convoy was hit with an IED,” he said.

The holiday season setting off flashbacks to Rivera’s time in the Army.

“Always does. It triggers that moment, the situation that happened. I’m constantly thinking about those there now because I know what it feels to be there,” he said.

Going to the store or a big family dinner could also trigger many emotions.

“The veteran that has PTSD is really unable to deal with crowds. Most of the places that you go right now; you’re going to find a lot of people there, so their anxiety, the crowds tend to trigger their anxiety,” lead clinician and Army veteran Ana Moseley said.

So, how can you help?

“Have a conversation with the solider at a time when there is not a lot of crowds, at a time when there is not something going to be distracting and upsetting,” Moseley said.

A sentiment that Rivera agrees with.

“Help is available. Don’t be ashamed, there is nothing wrong with seeing help. Do not let the stigma stop you from not seeking help,” he added.

Information on how to get help is available on this page.