Fireworks are deeply rooted in the celebration of the July Fourth holiday in the United States.
Here are some of our favorite tips and strategies for coping with fireworks during the upcoming holiday:
- Here’s a good article on how to manage PTSD on the Fourth of July.
- Here’s some helpful information in this article about seizure risks and prevention if fireworks are present.
- This is one of our favorite articles from Brainline.org on handling the holidays in general. Number thirteen in the tip list specifically discusses fireworks.
- Here’s a really thorough article on how to deal with fireworks if you have post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
- Click here to view an short video that we have featured on this blog. This video has helpful advice and information directly from a brain injury survivor on how she copes with fireworks.
- For those with sensory issues, this excellent article from Brainline.org can help.
- For those who have suffered a recent trauma and/or loss of a loved one, fireworks can be difficult to be around. Here’s a short article on tips to create a plan and manage anxiety and PTSD.
Before, on and just after the July 4th holiday, fireworks pose challenges for many of us with brain injuries; for many, the comfort of home around this time is best. With feedback from our beloved BESTies and volunteers, Our BEST Space and the Superhero Shoppe will be closed from July 1st-July 8th. We’ll resume our BEST Space activities on July 10th. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing tips, strategies and other tools to help navigate this time of year. Please note, that support group coaches and our administration contact information will be available to you. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Many thanks, BESTies!
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is honored and delighted to welcome our newest BEST blog contributor.
Please welcome Rod Rawls, creator, writer, blogger and moderator of A Changing World: How One TBI Survivor and One Family Caregiver is Trying To Keep Up .
Rod was kind enough to allow BEST to share his blog articles and personal essays on the BEST blog and he will be contributing original article and essay exclusives.
Rod sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a motorcycle accident several years ago. In his writing, he documents his journey forward after brain injury and offers tips and strategies for fellow survivors and caregivers.
Rod is passionate about helping and supporting others.
Below is a recent blog post from Rod’s blog.
(This article was reprinted with the author’s permission).
Brain Injury: When Once-Shared Memories are No Longer Shared…
One of the things many brain injury survivors have to become accustomed to is when friends and family reminisce with them about things they have absolutely no memory of. I’ve learned that it creates quite a mix of feelings – from both sides. One of my frequent experiences since my injury is drawing a complete blank when someone has a nostalgic moment about a shared experience and then seeing the disappointment rise when that person perceives the complete lack of recognition in my face.
The greatest level of emotional impact from my missing memories has been with my girlfriend. When memories that should last a lifetime have suddenly disappeared from your reality but not your partner’s, it can be hard for both of you. As one example, we did a cross country motorcycle ride together to the annual Sturgis rally in North Dakota. For her, it’s like it was last week… her memories fresh and alive about happy moments and memorable experiences. For me, it’s like I saw part of a trailer for that movie once. I have bits and pieces of memories from the trip, with just a few specific memories such as riding through a long canyon next to a river, walking on a street full of motorcycles and people, and a late-night ride in the rain on what seemed to be a forgotten road. She often shares her memories from the event, and always makes a brilliant effort to suppress her disappointment each time she finds a new memory that is very special to her which I no longer share.
It saddens me that I don’t remember, and it frustrates me greatly that these things don’t just come back to me when I try to find them. In a somewhat weak attempt to make light of my disability, I will sometimes ask her who that guy is standing next to her in the many pictures of us she has on display from before the injury. But there’s the key word, one that I almost never use – and that isn’t easy to write in this post about me… disability.
How could I be disabled? I’m ok, just some memory issues, right? Well, and the fact that I don’t read as well as I used to. And, I now struggle with basic mathematics. Oh, and, that between the aphasia and a comparatively minor physical speech impairment, my verbal communication can be challenging. Yes, the list could continue, but the point is that recognizing that I have a disability is something I still find very difficult. And here’s where I recognize behavior that occurs way too much in daily conversations – when a single word derails my train of thought completely, and I suddenly find I’ve jumped to a diverging track. Let’s get back to the topic at hand…
The point of this post is simply to recognize this aspect of our new reality, because there’s not much we can do to change it anyway except to wait and see what comes back through time. The best we can do in those moments is to address what happens when it occurs – both how we handle the thoughts and feelings it creates inside us, as well as how we respond to those who may be unintentionally hurt when these broken connections manifest.
The unfortunate reality is that most of my pre-injury memories fall into categories of broken, fuzzy or non-existent. My first outward response is always dependent on the specific interpersonal relationship and the level of familiarity present with the person I’m talking to. For business associates and more casual acquaintances, I just inform (or remind) them of my brain injury and let them know that I can’t recall the time or event they are describing. With friends and family I try to take a different approach, a “help me remember” approach… asking them for details and context to see if we can find and uncover a memory buried but not completely lost. Sometimes we can find bits that we can piece together and sometimes it’s either buried too deep or just lost. Regardless of the end result, the act of discussing the details is the nearest we can come to sharing the memory, and this creates a shared moment that helps to keep connections strong and reduce the potential negative impacts of our broken memories on those we care about.
What are superheroes made of?
Now, what if we had the opportunity to answer that question and explore the answers through art?
How would that look like?
Here are some examples:
The photograph above of the lion is the symbol of being brave. Brave is a superhero word, most definitely!
This painting above has vibrant colors. We could consider it bold (bold, just like a superhero).
Why are we talking about superhero characteristics?
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is thrilled and honored to share that we have that very opportunity coming this fall.
BEST is going to be participating in a community art installation at the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM). Work displayed in Tacoma Art Museum’s TAM Local: Community Art Space for the Superhero show from October 16, 2019 to December 26, 2019.
We will have an opening reception Thursday, October 17, 2019 in the TAM Community Art Space.
To learn more about the community art installation program and the museum, please click here.
We are calling all BEST artists throughout Washington State to share your art with us!
Here’s everything you need to know:
WHO: The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) in partnership with the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM).
WHAT: A community art show at the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM). Work displayed in Tacoma Art Museum’s TAM Local: Community Art Space for the Superhero show from October 16, 2019 to December 26, 2019.
We will have an opening reception Thursday, October 17, 2019 from 5 pm to 7:30 pm in the Community Art Space at TAM.
BEST is seeking art from BEST Artists to share in the following forms: paintings, drawings, mixed-media collage, photography, 3D art, or sculpture.
WHEN: October 16, 2019 through December 26, 2019.
WHERE: Tacoma Art Museum (TAM), 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington.
WHY: What are the characteristics of a superhero? What it is about these traits that make superheroes special? The local artists of the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) explore these questions through their art, along with their personal stories of the journey forward after traumatic brain injury. We cordially invite you to join us to celebrate finding our own superpowers, individual empowerment and the ability to thrive through art and artistic expression.
Okay, BEST Artists, let’s see your creativity!
HOW: Here are the steps to get started:
Step 1: Look at the Need to Know section below first to review this project. Requirements met? Great! Move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Think about superheroes. What are the traits of a superhero that stand out to you?
Step 3: Decide how you would answer that question through your art (see words and examples above for a little inspiration).
Step 4: Create your art (or if you have a piece of art that is ready that you’d like to share, feel free to share that with BEST).
Step 5: Tell us about your art. Email Kim Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know what kind of art you’d like to share for the show. Kim will assist you in answering your questions and providing additional information.
We can’t wait to hear about your work!
Need to Know:
BEST Artists, here’s what you need to know to participate!
1. Participating BEST Artists must be affiliated with the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) in one (or more) of the following ways:
a. support group participant
b. support group facilitator
d. board member
e. Our BEST Space participant
f. BEST team member
g. Second Life (PEER Center/BEST) participant
h. BEST primary community partner/supporter/contributor
2. BEST artists must be a brain injury survivor, caregiver of a brain injury survivor or closely work with brain injury survivors in a support capacity.
3. Participating BEST artists must be a Washington State resident.
4. BEST artists will submit artwork to BEST via personal delivery to Our BEST Space in University Place, Washington, or by mail to the BEST mailing address on or before the submission deadline of Thursday, September 12, 2019, 3 pm.
5. BEST artists will provide an artist’s statement and specific details of the artistic medium and materials to BEST along with a photo of their work which may be used for promotional purposes.
6. BEST Artists must agree to have their work(s) displayed for the duration of the show which is October 16, 2019 to December 26, 2019.
7. BEST Artists will understand that BEST reserves the right to not accept an art submission for any reason.
8. BEST Artists understand that they are responsible for framing and having artwork display ready for any submitted artwork as appropriate and within the guidelines outlined by the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) that will be included in the instructions when you contact BEST.
9. For artists outside of the Greater Puget Sound area that wish to submit their work by mail, art must be prepared appropriately for mailing and sent to BEST at the following mailing address: Brain Energy Support Team 3800A Bridgeport Way W. #393 University Place, WA 98466.
10. Need assistance in submitting your work to BEST? Have any questions or concerns about getting your art ready? Please reach out to BEST (Kim Thompson at email@example.com) no later than July 1, 2019 for assistance. We are happy to help you!
11. If artists have 3D works (mixed media collage, sculpture, large works), artists must contact BEST with art project information (size, materials, weight and other pertinent details) at least FOUR WEEKS prior to the art submission deadline of Thursday, August 1, 2019 5 pm. To note, due to space limitations and other guidelines established by TAM, these pieces of artwork must be approved by BEST and TAM in partnership first before submission to the show.
12. After the show, artists are welcome to display their works at Our BEST Space in University Place, Washington, for a time duration that they choose. If the artist would like their work returned to them right after the show, they will need to specify this preference to BEST any time after December 27, 2019. If artists wish to have their work returned, it will be available for pick-up after December 27, 2019 during BEST Space hours of operation or BEST will return works by mail to the artist if requested and the cost is reasonable and sustainable (large and/or heavy works, sculptures or other 3D art will not be eligible for return mail).
Hours Change: Before, on and just after the July 4th holiday, fireworks pose challenges for many of us with brain injuries; for many, the comfort of home around this time is best. With feedback from our beloved BESTies and volunteers, Our BEST Space and the Superhero Shoppe will be closed from July 1st-July 8th. We’ll resume our BEST Space activities on July 10th. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing tips, strategies and other tools to help navigate this time of year. Please note, that support group coaches and our administration contact information will be available to you. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Many thanks, BESTies!
Sunday, August 18, 2019 – 6th Annual BEST HeadStrong Picnic and Kayak Day
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 pm
Location: Dash Point State Park • S2-Beach Parking Picnic Shelter
5700 SW Dash Point Rd • Federal Way, WA 98023
Potluck Picnic • Friends • Games • Beaches
Accessible Kayaking led by Outdoors for All
RSVP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org