Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fireworks and Startle Reflex: Coping at the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July has never been my favorite holiday.  Honestly, it's probably among my least favorite, for one reason:  fireworks.  Startle reflex and fireworks just are not a good mix (for more on what Startle Reflex is, check out the post I wrote last July.)  It not only makes being around fireworks hard, but watching certain movies at home (can't enjoy suspense or anything with a lot of unexpected noise), all movies in theaters), thunderstorms, and any type of live show usually involve me with my fingers in my ears just to get through it.

It's been nearly a decade since I've voluntarily submitted myself to a fireworks display.  Here's photo proof of me, 9 years ago, enjoying the moments before the show started.


Not too hard to smile and be happy when all is quiet, but when those fireworks start, it's like cruel and unusual punishment.  Years before this photo was taken, when I was around 18, I was on a camping trip with friends over the Fourth.  These friends got to witness my Startle Reflex firsthand.  One did her best to help, stating, "It's just noise.  When you see the light, expect the sound."

Well, if I could do that, everything would just be fabulous, wouldn't it?  

I'm disabled and proud, but I really wouldn't mind giving up m Startle Reflex once a year.  It's tough to deal my brain and body constantly react as if they're under threat of immediate deadly harm, when my rationale knows better.

I'd never really given much thought about there being something I could do about the noise until I saw this post yesterday: 5 Ways People With Sensory Sensitivity Celebrate the Fourth of July.  They suggested earphones (check out the link, especially if you've got a little one with CP between 2 and 10 dealing with Startle Reflex.)  I'll have to look into getting a grown up pair, maybe for next year, since this one is a bit close at hand already.

I'll no doubt hear them tonight, though I'll be home in bed, and I'll cope, but it made me wonder...

Do you have any other suggestions for dealing with the unpleasant combination of fireworks and Startle Reflex?  Especially if you have CP yourself and have found something that works, I really want to hear from you.  Leave a comment below.

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