July 4th, more colloquially referred to as Independence Day, has been part of the compendium of American holidays since 1941. However, the tradition of celebrating the day dates back to the late 1700s. On July 2nd, 1776, the members of Congress officially voted to separate the 13 colonies that would become the continental US from Britain. Two days later, on July 4th,representatives from each of the 13 colonies accepted and adopted the Declaration of Independence, and the tradition was born.
The celebration has come a long way from the days of the birth of our great nation. During the summer of 1776, many colonists held mock funerals for England’s king to symbolize the death of the monarch’s stranglehold on the United States of America. Traditionally celebrations would include musical celebrations, parades, large public bonfires, military displays of the firing of guns and cannons to signal America’s triumph in battle, as well as a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Following the years after the American Revolution, citizens continued to celebrate their independence on the Fourth of July. The political importance of the holiday has receded into the background over the past 200 years. Still it has remained a day of patriotic celebration. The day comes with civic activities around most American towns and cities, backyard barbeques, parties, and fireworks.
However, this holiday isn’t smooth sailing for everyone. The raucous crowds forced social gatherings, and fireworks can trigger fear, flashbacks, startling responses, and anxiety in those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These uncontrollable celebration elements can trigger intrusive memories for veterans of recent and former wars. And sadly, PTSD does not always minimize over time. It is a condition with a tendency to have its symptoms intensify over more prolonged periods after being removed from the environment that caused the trauma.
How to Recognize that you Might Have PTSD
As we move through the 2020s, a goal has been to remove the stigma from mental health. Also, if you are a veteran who has returned from a combat situation and worries about the adverse effects on your mental health, you are not alone. Events that can cause PTSD can include combat stress, situational trauma, or life-threatening situations you may have encountered while serving your country.
As with all mental health conditions, there is no singular way to recognize you are suffering from the effects of trauma because there is no one way to experience it. The Mayo Clinic outlines some symptoms as:
- Persistent and undesired flashback memories
- Recurrent and disruptive nightmares of the events
- Pathological avoidance of groups and events that you’d previously enjoyed
- Detachment from people and activities that used to bring you joy
- Emotional numbness
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation
You may be experiencing some of these or an entirely different collection of symptoms; if you or your loved ones have noticed a shift if your personality since your return from combat, it might indicate that you are experiencing PTSD.
Ways of Getting Through the July 4th if you’re Suffering
If you are just starting to recognize the pervasive ways your trauma has infiltrated your life, but you haven’t been able to seek help, you may also be experiencing anxiety about how to get through July 4th.
- Identify symptoms of distress
Pay attention to how you’re feeling. If you are at a party, an event you likely always enjoyed, check in with yourself regularly. Are you feeling any panic? Do the crowds feel like they’re pushing in on you? Do you feel like there is a lack of air or space for you to exist?
If this is you in social situations, this can be incredibly common for people with PTSD. The desire to be around loved ones while simultaneously wanting to escape social situations can be a very alienating experience. Remove yourself from situations where you can feel yourself becoming uncomfortable. The earlier you can identify it, the easier you can manage it before it gets out of control.
And remember, no two people are going to have the same triggers. For some people, the explosive fireworks will bring them back to a negative experience or recurrent fears they had overseas. For others, it might be the tight spaces created by having a lot of bodies in small spaces that make them feel out of control.
- Tell Someone
One of the worst things we do when we are in mental distress is to decide to knuckle under and suffer alone. You don’t have to, and you really shouldn’t. You have people who love you and want you to thrive. Your mental health is not a burden on them. Here at Spirit Peak Organics, we understand the horrors of being in a combat situation; we’ve seen our loved ones go through it, and our company is partly owned by a former veteran, so some of us have lived through it. It makes us uniquely qualified to say that if you notice yourself being triggered, tell someone – a parent, a spouse, a best friend. Let them help you navigate through until you can find your center.
- Remember that You are Not Alone!
Mental health can be isolating. Your brain starts to lie to you, and it can be hard to know where to go for help, especially if you are beginning to feel like a burden on your loved ones. It’s important to know that up to 10% of people will suffer from trauma at some point in their lives. The human mind was not designed to internalize and experience harrowing and stressful situations seen during the war, and asking for help is a sign of strength.
If you think you have been impacted by trauma, please know that there are resources for you to access. If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
The American Military has also set up resources via the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, menu selection 1. Alternatively, you can send a text message to 838255 or reach out to the Confidential Veterans Chat online.
Reclaiming Your Joy
Mental health can rob you of your life in little bits and pieces over time. There are people here at Spirit Peaks that have seen it happen first-hand. We want to help provide resources to allow you to reclaim your life and joy so you can enjoy time with family and friends and during events like Independence Day.
So, on this Fourth of July, Spirit Peak Organics is here to help you start regaining control of your life. While no medical evidence suggests that CBD can cure or even treat PTSD, it can be used in your daily life to help start building that feeling of equilibrium we all crave daily. The Spirit Peak Organics Softgel Everyday could be a good product, and with a monthly subscription, you can save up to 20% for a product that could potentially start your mental health journey. If you aren’t sure that’s the right product for you, we have lavender-scented bath CBD-infused bath bombs for self-care.