The American Dread

This time last year, I was about to go on my not-FMLA. I had pre-written a blog post about how to protest with chronic illness for the Fourth of July, and – as that is a rather date-specific post – I went ahead and posted that.

But, while I certainly went to protests as best I was able to last year, I didn’t actually spend my Fourth of July at any protest. I was too emotionally frazzled by my own situation to do much of anything that day in 2018. We can just see the fireworks from the rooftop of our building. So, after a day spent frozen in fear, I finally went upstairs and watched those, at least. It wasn’t a perfect view, but it had the advantage of requiring zero spoons to get to. And, most importantly, it didn’t require getting anywhere early enough that I’d risk actually needing to use a restroom in a crowded area. Port-a-potties are not spoonie friendly. ‘Nuff said. Last Fourth of July was the absolute opposite of an “event” holiday for us.

But – as with just about any holiday in a big city – the Fourth of July could be an “event” if we want it to be. If my Partner and I ever want a close-up view of fireworks with a bathroom that won’t give me nightmares for days afterward, all we would need to do would be to shell out three times the normal amount of money for dinner at a chain restaurant near fireworks ground zero. Restaurants recognize the value of a front-row seat with AC and real bathrooms – and they charge accordingly! As with everything in America, even the free and “open to all” events are a little more “open to all” if we are willing to fork over the money to make them accessible for my chronic illness.

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Where’s Whoopsie #13: I am the 1 in 5

Happy Fourth of July from one of the 1 in 5. Which 1 in 5? Well, probably not the one you are immediately thinking. Yes, I am one of the 1 in 5 Americans who experience mental illness in a given year. I’m also one of the almost 1 in 3 Americans living with multiple chronic conditions (and one of the 30 million of us living with five or more diagnoses!). However, I’m talking today about being one of the 1 in 5 Americans who have gone to a protest since 2016.

Our country was founded on ideas of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those are being denied to too many of our countrymen, including members of my own family. I believe it is patriotic to hold our leaders accountable for being the country we claim to be. My advocacy has taken place in intimate courtrooms and on huge street corners. Because I am, however, also one of those other 1 in 5s and one 1 in 3s, protesting isn’t always the most straightforward thing. Thus, this Fourth of July, I thought I’d post about how I have pulled off attending protests with ADHD, C-PTSD, social anxiety, depression, migraines, dysautonomia, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, IBS and just the general B.S. that – while they aren’t evil incarnate like the Republican leaders willingly setting Americans up for injury or death by dismantling our social safety net – even the well-intentioned Progressives who arrange protests are still often so very clueless about how to make protests inclusive for differently abled Americans.

Thus, I present Lavender’s Fourth of July Guide to Protesting as a Spoonie

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Pets Suffer From PTSD, Too

It is almost July 4th, a day that lives in infamy for pets across America, and animal shelters and animal control agencies are gearing up to handle the holiday’s substantially higher rates of lost pets as a result. Be safe, pet owners, and make sure your doors and gates are securely locked before you leave for the festivities! Also, please give your cats and dogs a little extra TLC today!

Fireworks shouldn’t cause more than short-term anxiety and fear for most pets, but pets can also suffer from more severe mental health issues, including PTSD. Service dogs returning from tours of duty in Afghanistan show signs of combat-related PTSD, and domestic pets show “civilian” PTSD after natural disasters, abuse or abandonment. I first learned about pet PTSD when we adopted our own kitty. She had been severely abused and then abandoned before we got her.

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