One common symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the repeated checking of locks
on doors and windows and a feeling of being “insecure”.  Take a vet out of his or her
military setting and the
paranoia can become so obsessive, it’s nearly impossible for them
to function.

How can you “protect your perimeter” in the civilian world?  It’s fairly simple.  Using some
low tech, easy fixes and a few high tech gadgets, your vet can feel secure without your
neighbors worrying about the surveillance system and land mines in your front yard.

Window Treatments

In talking to different vet wives, one of two things tends to the problem with windows.  Vets
are either obsessively checking locks or always spotting something outside that they need
to “check out”.  If your vet is a lock checker, keep sheer curtains over your windows!  He’ll
be able to see through the curtain that the window is secured and save your draperies
from being torn off the walls in a state of full paranoia.  If your vet is a “hunter” always
seeing something out of the corner of his eye, invest in shades that fully block out light.  
When you’re having a difficult time, simply lower the shade behind your curtain.  Most
times, your vet won’t notice and you can all have some more peace of mind.  For the best
of both worlds, do both!

Outdoor Lighting

Consider installing a motion sensor light near your front door.  This will usually help
alleviate the “things that go bump in the night” paranoia.  If the light isn’t on, no one is
within “the perimeter”.  Note that small animals and strong winds can trip these lights so try
to keep the light in an area where your vet won’t see the light all the time but can look out
and check and know that it’s there.

Window Locks

Most of our window locks are satisfactory but might be old and difficult to operate.  If you’re
having a hard time with your window locks, they CAN be replaced.  A trip to your local
hardware store can yield piece of mind for both of you!

Door Locks

The main problem with securing “the perimeter” is that people who are not normal key
holders will inevitably need to access your home causing a paranoia of “did they copy the
key?”  Advancements in technology can be surprisingly inexpensive and very efficient in
securing “the perimeter” both during and after your “guests” departure.  Many key
companies have released locksets that are key code programmable.  Each person who is a
“key holder” can have his or her own easy to remember 4 digit code allowing them access
to your home.  So, let’s say a contractor is coming to install cabinets.  In advance, you can
program a code that is the last 4 digits of his phone number.  When the installation is
finished, you remove his code and it will no longer work.  There is a master key for
unlocking in case the electronics fail, just in case.  This technology allows for a sound mind
and a refreshing approach to securing your home.

This article was written by our own Heather Hummert, the wife of an OIF Veteran & Purple
Heart Recipient.  If you would like to contact Heather directly, you can e-mail her at
Heather -at- or

If you would like to help us build this site and reach out to other Veterans, their spouses,
and children, please e-mail us at Info -at- or

Don't miss these other articles about Real-Life Coping Skills for those of us living in a
"PTSD World":

Day-to-Day Skills for PTSD Households

Searching for "Normal" - Ideas to Make Life Easier

Dealing with "Nina" (Better Known as Your Nosy Neighbor)

Dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in the Workplace

Coping Skills for the PTSD Spouse

Helping Children Understand PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

How to Handle the Weeds of PTSD

Protecting Your Perimeter
aka Dealing with Paranoia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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