Background on The Holiday Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis
About a month ago, I discussed The Flashback/Images/Nightmare Aspect of Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. You can find that post here. Today, I will discuss The Holiday Aspect of Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis.
The Holiday Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis
Holiday time can be tough in general. Let alone, if the holiday time is when you experienced a series of events that led to PTSD/trauma. When the holidays come around, it can feel like you are reliving these events. This is because the energy from them are still residing in our bodies.
The holiday season of 2012 is when a great majority of the trauma that my kids and I experienced in the last six years took place. It started a little before Thanksgiving, and reached its peak right after New Year’s Day. Almost daily, emotionally draining activities and sabotage were done to myself and the kids in order for me to put him out, so that he wouldn’t have to be the “bad guy” who left us.
The peak was a fake-suicide stunt with my ex-husband starting up the car with the garage door down, and the engine running. It was a last attempt to pull me back in emotionally, and to get me back to being the person that was a doormat/enabler, with low self-worth.
God had already begun to work a miracle in my life six months prior to this event, and so this “doormat” person was not there anymore. It was God’s grace that I went downstairs to check the garage, or this fake suicide stunt could have killed all of us. The kids were sleeping upstairs at the time.
Ever since then, the holiday time has been painful, and a time that I struggle. It has gotten better in some areas, and worse in others.
The first holiday season (2013) after my ex-husband left, was very difficult because I wasn’t able to tolerate any Christmas music or movies. A friend of mine dropped me off at the grocery store, and she waited outside for me. I had to pick up a few items. I remember Christmas music playing on the radio, and literally feeling trapped. The reaction to the music surprised me. Before I knew it, I was caught up in the “Overwhelmed Aspect”. An explanation of that aspect can be found here.
I quickly found the items that I needed, and got out of the store as fast as I could. This continued being my normal for the first year. A few weeks after that, the church that I was attending for Divorce Care offered a session for dealing with grief during the holidays. I gladly signed up for the class. We discussed all the practical unexpected things that could happen during the holidays, and how to handle them.
I can listen to more Christmas music now than before. I can also watch Holiday movies, with breaks in between for some of them. It is almost like the smell outside and the feel in the air knows it’s November, and then the trauma aspect kicks in for me. Down below, I have listed some things to help you ease through the holiday aspect of living with trauma during this season.
Self-Help for Making it Through The Holiday Aspect
Take advantage of the community that God has given you. Talk to friends on the phone. Have a girls’ or guys’ movie night. A month ago, me and my friends got together to watch a home movie in front of the fireplace. It was a wonderful time of eating, fellowship, and laughs. When you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you need something to help lift your emotions.
Therapy. This therapy could involve going to see your therapist, writing in your journal, poetry, painting, or cooking. There are several activities that allow us to be creative and are therapeutic at the same time.
Movement. Give your body the gift of movement. When you exercise, the blood and oxygen starts flowing, and the natural feel-good hormones rise to the surface. I like going for a walk, even if it’s cold, just to make my adrenal glands happy, and feel refreshed at the same time. I also like dancing to 70s’ and 80s’ music and walking the stairs for a certain amount of time to get my heart pumping.
Doses of Music, Movies, Etc. Try to allow yourself to watch or listen to music, movies, etc. a little at a time in order to build up resilience. Everyone is different. I found that when I tried to ban everything, it only made the trauma worse, so I introduced a little bit at a time. I am still in the process of giving myself little doses here and there.
Self-Care. Practice self-care by trying to get enough sleep, rest, and food as possible. Taking your vitamins and drinking herbal tea can be relaxing. It might be a time to take get bloodwork done to see if your vitamin D is low, since we are in the winter months, and there is less sunshine.
Prayer. Ask others for prayer, and lift yourself up in prayer as well. Listening to uplifting Christian music can be comforting and minister to your soul.
Send some comments to let me know what you use to get through the holiday aspect of trauma.
Prayers for you and your family as you march through this season!