Oshkosh woman: ‘Fireworks can be traumatic for people with PTSD’

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 6:14 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News has heard from a lot of you over the past couple weeks, wondering why people have been lighting off fireworks earlier, more often and louder than in the past.

There can be many reasons why. Some chalk it up to boredom from quarantine and many cities canceling their fireworks shows and other activities.

An Oshkosh woman said she isn’t against fireworks but said it’s happening too soon.

“I used to absolutely love fireworks. Now for me in my head it’s, I hear gunshots,” Nicole Dejanovich said.

July 4th has never been the same for Dejanovich since March of 2015.

“One night I was just going home in a cab from a friend’s bachelorette party, and we just got caught and bullets came through the door,” Dejanovich said.

Dejanovich said she was shot by gang violence crossfire in Chicago.

"I got hit in my right arm and grazed across my stomach," said Dejanovich.

Since then, a random loud bang like a firework can trigger her.

Dejanovich said she's been hearing a lot more of those bangs as July 4th approaches.

“It’s just... we don’t know when it’s coming,” said Dejanovich. “So like on July 4th I can be like, all right, from this time to this time I know there’s going to be fireworks and I can prepare myself to self-sooth.”

On a day people usually pop fireworks, Dejanovich uses coping skills she learned.

“I get noise-canceling headphones,” said Dejanovich. “I have my air-conditioner on at night to dilute noise, watch TV. You know, I usually have like my dog next to me, like anything you can do to comfort yourself.”

She’s hoping her story can help people understand why the random fireworks leading up to Independence Day is a problem for her or anyone diagnosed with PTSD.

“I just want to get the message out to the community to have some compassion,” said Dejanovich. “I know you want to have fun, but please just hold off ‘til the Fourth itself.”

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