Today is Independence Day here in America. People celebrate with parades, barbecues, and fireworks. For me, fireworks are the worst. With every explosion, my mind begins to fear what is about to happen and how it may effect my mobility. My body starts to hurt more throughout as I jump and tremble.
Cerebral Palsy always makes this time of year difficult for me. The sudden, loud noises can startle me. The startle reflex usually disappears in babies between 3-6 months old. However, this reflex never went away for me. Retention of this reflex is often seen in people with Cerebral Palsy. Loud noises aren’t the greatest for people with CP.
A holiday that involves lots of loud sounds is not enjoyable for me. I am always anxious around the 4th of July. If I don’t want to see fireworks, please don’t take it personally. I love the beautiful colors, but the loud sounds bother me. I’d much rather stay home and listen to music or watch TV to muffle the sounds. For the past couple of years, I haven’t attended my town’s fireworks display.
People with PTSD can also find today hard. PTSD is commonly experienced among veterans and trauma victims. When you are directly or indirectly exposed to a situation that could endanger your life, you may develop PTSD. In response to the event, your mind and body become hypervigilant. This is a survival mechanism that we all have. However, most people do not have life experiences that trigger the disorder.
Have fun on the 4th of July, and enjoy fireworks, barbecues, and parades. For some of us, this holiday proves challenging, though. Be mindful when setting off your own fireworks in the backyard. Please don’t assume that we don’t want to accompany you to a firework display because we don’t want to have fun. We may find fireworks overwhelming. After all, for some people, fireworks aren’t fun.
Edwards CW, Al Khalili Y. Moro Reflex. [Updated 2021 Jul 31]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542173/
Yeager, Ken. “Why Unexpected Fireworks Can Be Upsetting.” Ohio State Medical Center, The Ohio State University, 2 July 2020, https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/why-unexpected-fireworks-can-be-upsetting.