LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Fourth of July weekend is here, and some people can get triggered easily, including gun violence survivors.
8 News Now spoke with a woman who is a 1 October survivor to talk about the trauma she still experiences during this holiday.
Loud noises. Bright lights and fireworks can bring back negative thoughts in people like Alejandra Maya.
“The lights look pretty, but just hearing the noise I believe that’s what affects us the most. We get tense, we get anxious, and my heart races,” Maya said.
She also expressed that she lives with a constant replay of the tragedy.
“You hear an explosion, and even if I don’t want to, I associate it,” Maya added. She also shared that she doesn’t celebrate the 4th of July.
“I would rather be in my house, cover my ears, and put headphones on,” she said.
Maya also added that she wouldn’t even be on camera today if it weren’t for mental health experts like Pedro Navarro at Fuente de Vida Mental Health Services.
“When they know that something like 4th of July is going to happen and they are going to hear a lot of fireworks, I’ve been preparing my clients so they can have a safety plan,” Navarro said.
Other organizations in Las Vegas are also coping mechanisms.
The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center recommends practicing self-care, reflecting on personal triggers, talking it out, and minimizing the noise.
As for Maya, she has a message for those who witnessed what happened.
“For those that went through what I did, stay in your home, hug your dog, hug a stuffed animal do what you have to do,” she added.
Maya took at least three years to come to terms with what happened. She also said she hopes that with her story other gun violence survivors will seek the help they need.