OKLAHOMA CITY (KFSM) — While Christmas is normally a time of merriment and joy, for those with PTSD, the holiday season can be one of the hardest. However, an Oklahoma City organization is trying to help.
Honoring America’s Warriors hosted their second annual Christmas party for Veterans, which drew more than 100 men and women on Saturday night (Dec. 10).
The party allowed veterans to support one another during Christmastime, when bright lights and boisterous crowds can trigger traumatic flashbacks.
“A lot of us probably at one point in time spent a combat deployment during Christmas in a foreign country, whether it be Iraq, Afghanistan or other nations around the world,” said Army veteran Jesse Watkins. “We have a lot of animosity. When we come around each other, that subsides.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs advises family members of PTSD sufferers to give their loved ones space instead of adding stressful holiday activities. They also advise being understanding if they don’t want to talk.
Veterans told News on 9 that the Honoring America’s Warriors Christmas party is different than most parties because the people who are there understand and relate to the struggles.
“It’s difficult for other people on the outside to really understand what we’ve done, where we’ve been,” said Army veteran West Long.
Relating to others is partly why the party meant so much to the veterans. They were also able to attend a Christmas party with their families, taking a break from everyday stresses.
“It’s really hard to speak to people, but speaking to a veteran who has been through it, knows what you’re going through, that knows how hard sometimes the holiday seasons can be, it really means a lot,” said Watkins.