Happy New Year
Happy Merry Happy merry happy miserable………..
Tis’ the season of unreasonable expectations, feelings of loss, grieving for those that are no longer around, wishing Heavenly loved ones could be here and recognizing that the tears on my face are not tears of joy but instead deep feelings of sadness seeping out at the corners of my eyes. One blogger described it as the curse of looking happy.
Dani describes her frustration of other people expecting her to be happy on the inside because she is smiling on the outside.
Part of emotional abuse is teaching a person that what they must show on the outside has nothing to do with how they feel on the inside. This emotional disconnect from my own emotions was one of the biggest hurdles to over come. I noticed today, I still tend to lie about how I actually feel. I was taught at a very young age that any emotion accept ‘perfectly pleasant’ was unacceptable. I learned to bury my own emotions so deep I could no longer recognize what I felt. I was clueless about my emotions. Reconnecting is an uncomfortable process. I am aware that the happy holiday season makes owning less happy feelings difficult and for some people impossible. Last night we had a lovely evening with family celebrating Christmas earlier to avoid conflicts on Christmas day. The tree was beautiful and I realized my mother-in-law would have loved it. She died many years ago. Last night I really missed her. I would have enjoyed seeing her reaction to this lovely tree. Amongst all the happy I felt sad for a few minutes. I learned in counseling the importance of feeling what I feel. I also remember the Christmas that I didn’t celebrate. No tree. No singing. No cookies. No baking. I was angry at Heavenly Father and not feeling like celebrating Jesus at all. I needed to feel what I felt. I believed with all my heart that Heavenly Father understood and appreciated my honesty. He then lovingly over the next year helped me with opportunities to work through what I felt. I am back to loving Christmas. I enjoy the time and appreciate how difficult this time of year can be for myself and others. If you are not feeling merry for Christmas I hope that someone is close by that can give you a hug and accept how you feel.
When reading through a list of Post-Traumatic Stress indicators I got to reflecting on how many can be aggravated by the holidays. Therefore, instead of making a Christmas list for Santa, I thought it would be far more attention-grabbing to create a list of PTSD Christmas triggers.
1. Easily startled – I couldn’t possibly cover all of these but a few could occur with all the bells tingling, unfriendly Santas, and way tooooo many loud people.
2. Easily upset – for Tony a short trip to any shopping center quickly attains this mark.
3. Feeling tense or anxious – do I really need to explain this one, really? $$$ worries, memories of unpleasant holidays during combat, too much outside stimulation that no one can control.
4. Problems maintaining attention or concentrating – advertisers only need you to remain focused for thirty seconds… long enough to give them your credit card.
5. Feeling disorganized – WHO DOESN’T at this time of year?
6. Nightmares – and these may not be about combat. Think of the songs we hear that aren’t all that cheery like, Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, any chipmunk song, and if I hear The Twelve Days of Christmas even once I will go bonkers!
7. Experience sudden mood swings – Are you kidding; listen to a sad song, watch a funny commercial, open your bundle of bills… most of us are somewhat emotional challenged during this time of year and PTSD only makes it more FUN!
8. Hard time dealing with stressful situations – everything is stressful and the only remedy is visit Mother Nature often, stay home and read a good book, or take a Rip Van Winkle nap until January 15th.
9. Feeling tired, stomachaches, headaches, aches, aches, and more aches… – have you ever put up a 16 foot Christmas tree, put together some special present that takes an engineering degree to properly assemble, try to learn how to use your new piece of technology… my stomach is already beginning to cringe just writing this section.
Now that you are thoroughly depressed, here’s the good news. The Holiday Season can be a beautiful, inspiring time of year, yet only if we intentional focus our attention on what is important and worthwhile in our lives. Things like family, friends, good health, personal freedoms, loving relationships and adoring four legged companions. Many times if we focus on helping another being some of our worries and aches disappear for a bit and we experience the true meaning and joy of the coming days. So let us welcome back our Ho, Hos, and get rid of the CRAP. Happy, Happy, Happy Holidays to everyone.