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Fireworks and the startle factor with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Thursday 5 July 2012
Those 4th of July fireworks are great and all, but the BOOM they make isn't fun when you're easily startled, especially when being startled can cause myriad nasty symptoms.
We have dysfunction in the stress-response system, which is made up 2 areas of the brain (the hypothalamus and pituitary) and glands that sit on top of your kidneys (the adrenals.) It's called the HPA axis, and it controls how your body deals with stress on the physiological level. The dysfunction means that we don't handle it well at all. In fact, those little bursts of adrenaline from being startled can lead to pain shooting through your body, dizziness, headache, nausea, disorientation, panic, and, soon thereafter, crushing fatigue.
On top of that, our central nervous systems are believed to be hypersensitive to stimuli (called central sensitization), meaning it's easier for us to be startled.
So that beautiful fireworks display can be an ordeal for us that leaves us feeling horrible for days afterward. It doesn't help that you often have to deal with crowds and horrendous traffic to go watch them.
Private fireworks are an even bigger problem for me than the big displays. When the neighbor's kids shoot off fire crackers at random times for the 2 weeks around the 4th, it's like I'm being assaulted in my own home.
I find that increasing certain calming supplements (theanine) and adding others in (DHEA, inositol) helps me through this time of year, as do deep-breathing exercises. I'm also more likely to keep my windows closed in the evening, and use the air conditioning more, to help deaden the sound. Some nights, I'll move to the opposite end of the house as well.
As for the big shows, a couple of times we've gone up on a mountain, away from the crowds, to watch them at a distance. It's a much better experience for me.
Does the BOOM of fireworks bother you? Have you found anything that helps? Leave your comments here!
The above, with comments, originally appeared here.
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