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How's Your Xmas Cheer? PTSD and Christmas

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by camry, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. camry

    camry New Member

    How does xmas time affect others? Does it make you feel better or worse?

    Xmas isn't a good time for me. And each year it gets harder to get the xmas spirit. When I had a youngen in the house, I would take that extra effort to find it. This year my daughter is an adult spending most of her time with friends, so there seems little point. I even resorted to walking up & down xmas aisles in shops to get the "spirit". However, the only thought that kept coming to mind was "I'll be the one putting it all up, then I will be the one stuck with pulling it all down & cleaning up afterwards". No doubt it will be too hot for hubby, and I can never be bothered with their moods at having to help me... so I do it myself.

    <sighs>.... I have to do it now, because as I was writing this I got informed by the family that xmas is going to be here because I am closest to the beach. They must have been reading my mind & known it would really impress me. I wonder if its too late to move!

    And to think I was having enough problems getting motivated to write out greeting cards to my clients this year. Though at least I get an income off them... family just makes my headaches into migraines.
  2. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Yer, I know what your saying. I have found it quite difficult to get into Christmas, or any celebrations actually, over the past years, and it doesn't get any better as the years go on. I am going to the wifes family this year, and they are all very family orientated, which means I will have constant people in my face / in my grid square to deal with, even if I don't want to talk on a particular occasion. The worst thing is, is that my wifes Aunty is sick and dieing of cancer in the same location Christmas is. They are doubting she will even make it to Christmas.

    I have already told Kerrie-Ann that I don't do funerals, so will not be attending that. I'm going to have sadness surrounding me for Christmas... oh, this is going to be a challenging Christmas for my PTSD. If the dieing Aunty wasn't happening, then I would handle it better, but my mind is already processing it all now, and just seeing how upset Kerrie-Ann is everytime she talks with her mum on the phone about it. We will be at her mums in about 2 weeks time, so my brain is in overtime... definately overtime.

    I'll be thinking off you Camry during this holidays, as where both going to be in the shit...
  3. Kay Dee

    Kay Dee New Member

    Kay Dee

    Anthony and Camry

    I am an expert at being a grinch at Christmas time. I hate the part of sitting around talking about how wonderful the tree looks. And oh, the kids are having so much fun. And such good food too. Everyone puts on the "happy face" Christmas Eve and everyone is lovey-dovey. And my head feels like it is ready to explode.

    You know what makes me feel good? When I get home I turn on my radio real soft as I'm falling asleep, and listen to Christmas music. PEACE AND QUIET.

    I can't wait till Christmas is over. I'm not a decorator. I can't get into a Christmas spirit --- especially when it is "expected of you" because that is what you are supposed to do at Christmas time. Nothing pisses me off more than being "expected" to put on a smiley face when I don't feel that way.

    All I can say is I'm glad I'm not the only one!!! Thanks friends!

    Kay
  4. camry

    camry New Member

    So sorry to hear about Kerie-Ann's aunt. One of my best friends died of breast cancer a few years ago ... it can really drain your soul.

    But I feel so much better hearing someone else say they dont do funerals. I often get called cold because I dont. When I didnt attend my father & brothers funeral I copped huge backlash off family. It's not because of PSTD that I dont attend, I have just never come to terms with funerals. I prefer to remember their life rather than become absorbed in their death. I also hate hearing about how I wont achieve closure if I dont go too. Knowing they are no longer with me is closure enuff.

    I know my druggie sister is going to cause havoc again this year. She always does. Last year she stole my beautiful border collie dog on Xmas day which was very heartbreaking, I couldnt even get it back with the cops or the courts (after 4mnths of fighting it! It seems that a dog registered in your name & even microchipped, isnt classed as yours unless you have the receipt from the purchase of it! Then possession is 9/10th of the law!!!)

    So I would much prefer to just run & hide this year at Xmas.

    I'm not normally a drinker either, but this year I will have a bottle of Cougar ready for dutch courage!

    While time heals the way in which you can handle everyday life, it never quite heals on how you deal with stressful situations. It's like a part of your brain has turned into crystal & get continues to shatter.

    So my thoughts will be with you too, and knowing what it feels like.

    And my condolences to Kerri-Ann too for having to go thru such a trying time.
  5. camry

    camry New Member

    How right you are Kay! It pisses me off being "expected" to anything. Which is why I wish I wasnt such a sucker at times!
  6. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Geez.... we should all get together one year at Christmas, and have a Christmas sucks party... we'd probably actually enjoy it more, as we all know what each other is already thinking about the whole expectation thing...

    Thanks Camry... Kerrie-Ann has read it... she is pretty sad about it all at the moment, and not very talkative about it, as it upsets her pretty quickly. It looks as though her aunt may not even make it a couple of days from reports. See what happens.

    Yer, totally agree, that I prefer to remember those I know when departed, the way they where, and not the way they are dead. My brothers was the last one I attended when I was only 17, and now 33, so that is some years. I didn't attend either of my nana's when they passed over the last couple of years, or anyone else that has died. I just don't do them anymore. I know that attending my brothers had a rather large impact on me in this area, but I know that PTSD does also, in that I have no empathy or emotion to others around me who are grieving, as I would just stand there and say nothing, or not want to support them, as I can't support myself during such a time, hence I ensure all emotions are turned off.

    Being emotionless at those times, I don't think is a good thing to have around for those grieving the lose... as you say Camry, people just think your cold and heartless.

    Kay, you crack me up. Kerrie-Ann has just read your post, and said "the grinch... thats you sweetheart"! Doh... been nailed again. Everyone else I know with PTSD all say the same thing... they just can't wait for it to be over, and have peace time again... quiet and without anybody in your face.
  7. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    You'll know if things are going to shit for me, as come whatever day/s it is, I will probably be on here venting, so I don't punch or abuse someone, lose my temper and so forth. I will have the notebook on standby, connected and ready to go... :)
  8. helio415

    helio415 New Member

    me personaly have always been depressive durring the holidays. i just always feel empty like im missing something. then people just try to get me happy with songs that just irritate me.
  9. 2notbedefeated

    2notbedefeated New Member

    Ugh, Holidays, both Christmas and Thanksgiving are extremely hard for me. It lost its magic for me along time ago.

    If it wasn't for my kids (9 yrs and 10yrs), I don't think I'd even bother. My therapist says I need to think about the kids and focus on making it special for them. I don't want to be self-absorb and selfish, but it is so very hard to put up this front. I feel I have ruined my kids ito some extent because I was so "me focused" suffering with depression, anorexia, self-injuring, and other tuff.

    I want to try and do better.

    I'll be honest here, a part of me hates it right now! I put on that smile and "try to laugh and be cheery" while inside I feel very cold and empty. I'm making the effforts, it would be selfish of me to deprive them of a good Christmas, but it's sooooo d*m hard! I'm torn, because I don't want to ruin the kids of good family times, and happy memories to look back on when they get older, but things are so crazy in our home sometimes it just makes it sooo hard.

    I just want to throw up hands, throw in the towel, or whatever and just stop fighting this uphill battle.

    I want my kids to have a healthy home, but it's just not there yet. It hurts badly deep inside me. I feel because of my PTSD "episodes and craziness" I have hurt these kids. I feel like it is all my fault. I sometimes feel both my husband and children deserve a better mother than me. I've made and continue to make such bad choices and mistakes. I'm trying not to be defeated with this PTSD trauma and chaos in my life and families life. Ugh...

    Today has dragged on and on and I am so ready to be over this day. Today (12-17) is the anniversary date of my Mom's death. So, so sad.

    My Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November and 5 weeks later she died on Dec. 17 - that's today that I'm writing this post. I did fly down to be with her in the hospital to see her passing. However, now, I too wonder what the point is to go and see someone fading away in the hospital. I was there when she died. I hated going into the hosital and seeing her so pale and sick. She didn't look like the mother I knew. It was horrible and for years I could not get the picture of how see looked on that hospital bed out of my head. Still can't sometimes. It was her death that brought up all the painful traumas and emotional, dysfunctional patterns and experiences in my life. My siblings were there and that was bittersweet. It really was a really horrible time.

    On Thanksgiving Day I got the news that my Dad had lung cancer and he died that following January. I did not go to his funeral, because I didn't want to remember him the way I did my mother. However, I did talk to my Dad before he was unable to talk, and said that I wanted to remember as he looked alive and healthy and that I didn't want to go to see him die. He was okay with that. (As a sidenote, my dad fought in the vietnam war and spent time in the Korean war).

    I don't know how my sister & her husband made it through. My dad didnt' go into the hospital he died in my sister's home and had hospice care. I couldn't handle that kind of stress and I don't know how in the world she handled that.

    This day has dragggged on - like watching a movie in slow motion.

    These are my thought about the holidays.
  10. Kunoichi

    Kunoichi New Member

    I actually really enjoy christmas because i get to see my family...but at the same time, they know what i'm going through so I don't have to "act" around them. I feel blessed for that.

    I hate dealing with the people at the store i work tho....man some of them (sorry most of them ARE elderly) are really testy! lol makes me wanna do a smack down in the store lol
  11. Irton Pike

    Irton Pike New Member

    i usually love christmas, although last year was bad. I have to set a plan of stuff to do. For a start, this year my GP has signed me off sick following an explertive filled outburst at work, in which my ex boss started making some very unpleasant allegations and i responded witrh a full on carcrash swear fest. Still, 3 weeks off work. My first ever sick note from my GP. REading up on CBT. In therapy with psychiatric nurse. Cool. 3 weeks of freedom to put my mind together. One of the ways will be to take my whippet out for a full circuit of kinderscout in derbyshire. Another thing is i am taking the mrs to see the sirte of my car crash. I have not been there since but i wat to see it. Make a plan. Do things to look after yourselves guys. MAke some days your special treat bays.
  12. Luthien

    Luthien New Member

    It's a toss up for me. My traumas happened in Dec and Jan, so winter months are very hard for me. Also, as a child we didn't celebrate Christmas, Jehovah's witness family, but now my mother isn't practicing the religion anymore and she gets right into Christmas for my little sister. Part of me is terrified of how I will feel, and that I wont be able to act the part of being happy and carefree during this holiday, but the other part is experiencing Christmases like a child, all excited and happy because it is new. Also, it is pretty hard not to get in the spirit when I am with my little sister...I love that kid more than anything, and her excitment is infectious. :)

    I can definitely say that I have been anticipating this Christmas for about 2 months just for the turkey. MMMMMM I only have to wait a week now. :D
  13. sallysellsseashells

    sallysellsseashells New Member

    I just want to do something to make someone happy... and can't think what to do.

    I want to spend christmas with God, but not have to die to do so.

    I can't stand the thought that I am in a Unit with 4 empty rooms right now, and there are homeless people out there in the real world at christmas time, while the people who normally live here are overseas on hollidays, or mooching off their parents for free rent and food in nearby towns!

    I want to give their rooms up for the Hollidays! But it isn't up to me!
  14. Cindy

    Cindy New Member

    Conflicting memories on the holidays

    As I have said in my journal, Holidays are the worst part of the year. I use to love the holidays and was known in the family as the Christmas Queen. Then the PTSD emerged and that was that. For many years now I accept that they suck and just try to get through any way I can. For a while I tried to create new and different holidays by travelling to the beaches of Maine and staying in a hotel with a jacuzzi. I enjoyed that some what but I would rather do it alone then drag my Mom with me. The past few years have just been awful. I put off everything until the end and then its crunch time. Part of it is overcoming the challenges of flashbacks and nightmares from Mid November on every year.

    I totally agree with that EMPTY feeling. It all just seems so fake on the outside. But such is the game we play for others, NOT ourselves. If we did not have people to play it up for I wonder what would be different?

    Cindy
  15. Leda

    Leda Well-Known Member

    Two years ago I just wanted to die. I was in so much pain that I had to have morphine reguraly. Luckily it got better.

    Last year both my parents had recently passed away - and the holidays was full of grief.

    This year - Most of December we have spent at the hospital with my grandchild. - but now he is at home - and getting better every day. He will be with his grandma this Cristmas.

    I so look forward to Cristmas dinner and spending time with my family this year.
  16. Dylan

    Dylan New Member

    I have lost the Christmas spirit and haven't been able to find it for the last few years. It's too bad because, growing up, that was the only time I could just about guarantee things would be good. The whole year could be filled with scathing contempt, unpredictable violence and rage but, that one day, I could pretty much count on it being good.

    Although that's how I grew up, maybe it's no longer reasonable to expect so much from a single day, or even a (holiday) season.

    When I'm depressed and hypervigilant, it's hard not to be self-absorbed and preoccupied with fixing that. I'm back on some homeopathic stuff that reduces hypervigilance, so, now that I'm able to think of something other than the consuming struggle of the hyperarousal, what I need is to think of others a bit and how I can give to others. I think that might help with getting into the Spirit of Christmas.

    -Dylan
  17. BassistKara

    BassistKara New Member

    I absolutely hate Christmas. It's a major trigger for me, as one of my traumas happened on Christmas day, and the offender of that particular trauma is my "mothers" boyfriend, who's going to be at my nan's place for lunch! Coupled with the fact he's an alcoholic, and alcohol is another trigger, especially when it's older men who've been drinking. Along with that my alcoholic uncle will also be there.

    It's just so fake and all that put a smile on your dile christmas spirit crap really enrages me. I can't believe people actually believe that other people give a crap about them, when they haven't seen or given a crap about them for the past year. Which re-inforces my unhelpful thinking of people not genuinely caring, but they just do it to get something out of you then leave.

    Yep, i'm a total scrooge, but I think I have a good reason to be!
    Mina likes this.
  18. sallysellsseashells

    sallysellsseashells New Member

    There are qualities in each of us that are in other human beings, therefore there are other people in the world who care. Thanks!
  19. Mina

    Mina VIP Member Premium Member

    Ohhh, I'm with you, BassistKara. What bothers me most about the holidays is the hypocrisy - as you said, the fake part. Put on a happy face and pretend to be pleased to see people you don't talk to all year long (for a reason)...act like you enjoy making small talk with folks you don't give a fig about...give to charity when you don't even consider it the rest of the year...mail out cards and pictures to relatives you don't like, just because you're related to them...UGH. I just don't do it.

    I've noticed that this year, I am getting very few Christmas cards. And that's actually rather nice! With one exception, those I'm getting are people I actually like and at least sort of stay in touch with.

    T and I discussed Christmas. We have both noticed that the "Christmas spirit" just doesn't seem pervasive this year. Nobody either of us knows seems really "into" Christmas, even the people who traditionally are.

    I'm having a tough time with it because the dogbite happened 10 days before Christmas last year. Christmas was awful. This year, I'm just not doing much, and not expecting much of myself. The most fun I've had so far was shopping for, wrapping, and shipping a box of stuff to a girlfriend stationed in Iraq. That made me feel good.

    I've written more about Christmas in my blog, so as not to dominate this thread with a super-long post. :smile:
  20. pandora

    pandora VIP Member

    Christmas is the hardest part of the year for memories...usually. Since my EMDR...I have actually felt some calm and peace about these situations. It feels weird. I actually feel like a little bit of the weight I have been carrying on my shoulders is lessening and i am looking forward to the future......the christmas music is not bothering me as much and I find a calmness sitting with my tree on...a weird but good feeling.
  21. wattle

    wattle Well-Known Member

    I've been feeling excessively flat and empty about Christmas, was the same last year and the year before that. The kids and their partners will all be here for Christmas, as they are every year, I should be happy about that, at least they still want to come home, but then it would be so much easier if they didn't. I don't know.
    I used to get right into the whole deal when the kids were younger, singing carols, making arty,crafty stuff, baking etc...just nothing at the moment though.
    Part of my trouble is Christmas when I was a kid wasn't great, kids usually amused themselves while adults sat around gambling at cards and drinking.....I alsways made a big deal with my own kids because of that, now I'm feeling, they're grown up, why bother.
  22. kers

    kers VIP Member

    I understand that feeling, wattle.

    I am trying to take the advice of others here and keep it simple. I do what feels right. I saw a holiday movie with a friend, and looked at tacky Christmas lights, which was fun. I'm wrapping presents, which I do enjoy. I'm doing a lot of stuff alone--instead of trying to have fun family time (which is an oxymoron!) So far this is going better than years past.
  23. midi

    midi New Member

    I hope everybody here has a relaxing and restful holiday. Remember, if things get stressful, it's ok, breathe! Maybe keep a list of coping methods in your pocket when you go to places you know you'll be uncomfortable.

    I've got one Xmas party (already done) and a dinner to go to. Very laid back, no pressure, and only a couple people to think about gifts for. It'll be the first year I didn't overwhelm myself with a giant gift list and so on...
  24. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc VIP Member

    Salley, and the rest of you guys! We all have holidays issues to deal with and have turned into grinchs because of it.

    Salley hit the nail on the head when she made one simple statement about this holiday season. She said she wanted to make someone else smile and be happy.

    Well, excuse my language, but isn't that WHAT THE HELL IT IS ALL ABOUT? ? ?

    We sit around all pissy and in bad moods and then wonder why we don't like the holiday season.

    So get off your asses and go do something nice for someone else. Someone who is alone and has no family--good or bad---to spend time with.

    My mother has an elderly friend who has limited sight and absolutely no family anywhere. I picked her up and took her for a ride to see what she could of the holiday lights around town. Then I brought her home to visit with mom and see our tree. The 2 ladies talked and laughed and really enjoyed themselves.

    THAT MY FRIENDS is what this season is about. Doing nice for others. Sitting around and feeling sorry for ourselves is, IMHO, a very selfish act on our part.

    I cost me nothing but a little time and some gas to make another human being happy.

    So Salley, there is a suggestion for you.
  25. catjudo

    catjudo VIP Member Premium Member

    Wow, Grama-Herc, did you intend for that to sound so mean and nasty or am I possibly misinterpreting?

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