How Many Fourths Are There?

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, or my mother-in-law’s, or my mom’s, or my friends, then you might have heard some bangs in the last few days as people start getting ready for their own personal Fourth of July celebrations here in the U.S. But really, how many Fourths can there be?

Fireworks are beautiful ways to celebrate for many, but they can also be serious PTSD triggers. Photo by Design Ecologist via

I ask this because the constant boom booms can be very problematic for individuals struggling with PTSD from military experience. Yet unfortunately, this all too often is not considered by the people celebrating the very freedom those individuals served to protect.

And when this was pointed out on one comment thread I follow, the response all too often was, “well they shouldn’t live somewhere that is populated or noisy if that is an issue.” Yet, if the person behind us entering a store is on crutches, do we say they should have gone to a store with an automatic door instead of simply holding the door for them? The goal should always be greater integration in community settings with any injury or disease, including mental illness, yet the lack of consideration for that fact when individuals struggle with things like PTSD demonstrates how stigma fuels a different view for mental illness than it does physical illness.

Because however many Fourths there are, we need to stop wondering why those with PTSD live where they do and start thinking about how we can be more considerate of those who might be battling individual demons.


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