Saturday, 5 January 2019

How do you feel about fireworks?

Happy 2019! 

Fireworks over Alexandra Palace - this is what fireworks meant to me for years

I appear to have taken a break from blogging, not because I wanted to but because I couldn’t find the words. I wonder if writers’ block is just a fancy way of saying, “I lost all of my words.” That’s what happened to me, I lost nearly every single one of them for quite a lot of the time for over a year. There were of course a million thoughts in my head, going at a million miles an hour but they were all caught in a massive tangle of scribble. There was no way of logically stringing them out into sentences. 

That’s how I feel about fireworks. However it might be more accurate to describe the millions of trapped unspoken thoughts as a blaze in a firework factory. The easiest response to explain is the sensory overload. They are pretty, there’s no doubt about that, but they are so noisy and triggering for my hypersensitive sense of smell. I can feel the crackle of fireworks radiating from the nerves of my spinal cord. 

My poor rescue collie is petrified of fireworks and hides in the darkest corner under my desk, shaking. Where once fireworks for me was the mega packed shuffle as one slow moving mass of people, crawling up to the top of the world at Alexandra Palace, I now lay under the desk with him. I feel the fireworks through his fear, each jump and start from every boom and bang. I feel frustration and annoyance on his behalf. I could seriously get quite grumpy and moany as my intolerance rises, but this isn’t what I find hardest.

The way I truly feel when I hear fireworks is something much more complex. I experience them differently from my autistic perspective, I emphasise with my dog and try to comfort him but I also have the unpredictable and devastating impact of complex PTSD to contend with.

It’s hard not to be transported back to my silent empty side room off a packed and bustling labour ward on 5th November 2009. The new mother of a baby angel  quietly weeping while the aftershocks of a traumatic labour and emergency surgery wracked my body. Never had I been so alone with my thoughts. And once the Pandora’s box of emotional and physical flashback triggers has been opened, there is no knowing or expressing how I feel.

Pandora 1896 painting by John William Waterhouse

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