It’s Not Just Veterans Who Struggle With Fireworks, So Be Kind to Your Neighbors
Fireworks are a common trigger for many veterans with PTSD. Fireworks mimic the bright lights and noises associated with combat explosions, making veterans relive tough times. It’s important to remember this and be considerate of veterans in your community on Independence Day.
It’s also important to remember that veterans aren’t the only ones impacted by 4th of July celebrations. Kids, adults, and even pets can panic when fireworks illuminate the sky. Before you stock up on bottle rockets, consider how your festivities may impact these 5 members of your community.
1) Neurodivergent folks
Loud noises and flashing lights can be physically painful for some neurodivergent neighbors, such as those with autism or sensory processing disorder (SPD). That’s why some restaurants and malls offer sensory-friendly times with dimmed lights and no music. Too much noise can result in sensory overload, which may trigger anything from a headache or muscle pain to a full-fledged meltdown.
As someone with ADHD, I’m also considered neurodivergent. I love the way fireworks look but can’t handle the noise. In fact, I’ve had a 3-day migraine from the nonstop fireworks in my neighborhood this week. I’ve also woken up several times in the middle of the night, gasping for air as my heart beat frantically after a loud firework landed in my yard. Last time this happened, I couldn’t fall back asleep because my anxiety was so high from the unexpected 2 a.m. explosion.
2) Neighbors with anxiety
A loud, unexpected boom can trigger an anxiety attack for some people, as I mentioned earlier. People with anxiety may also worry that fireworks will cause a fire, damage their home or vehicle, or injure someone they love. These are all valid fears, as fireworks cause approximately 20,000 fires each year and injure thousands of people. Sadly, a friend I spoke with today about firework stress said a tragic firework accident claimed the life of someone she loved.