I think I've kept busy with doing things for others to make their holiday nice in some way, and that has helped take the focus off of giving myself time to ruminate about how it should be different.....Thanks... @Invisible Firethat is great. I am happy for you. :)
So happy for and proud of you for choosing self-care and setting boundaries over conforming to societal norms and expectations that aren’t healthy for you.Not sure if this is the right attitude and will talk it over with my therapist later but I have decided to quit trying to force things over the holidays. I find them triggering. To many memories. They are days to get through and nothing more. And I do get through them. Nightmares and high anxiety for a few days but I can tell my system is calming down. Its a learning process. But, I give up on trying to have them be something they are not. The moments I know I can enjoy, I will, the moments I know are triggering, I will do my best to focus on self care and not fighting against myself. Hope everyone is doing well. I know many do not like the word acceptance but that is what I think i need here. Acceptance of my PTSD and the triggering holiday season.
conforming to societal norms and expectations that aren’t healthy for you.
Can you flip the holiday concept from externally produced holiday, to a personally designed holiday which you have total control over? If you aren't Christian, maybe your holiday doesn't include church related things or even Church music. If you are, you can take the themes of Christmas, the meaning of Christmas and do your own thing. You are not at the mercy of the holidays unless you allow it to happen. If helping others during the holiday with meals or helping out at a nursing home with bingo fulfills the spirit of the holiday, that is a tradition you can add. If you like to sing, singing outside a nursing home for shut ins can be a tradition. If you don't like to cook on holidays, make your most favorite take out meal and favorite movie the tradition.....In other words, change what holiday means to you......because it's your holiday, too.....Set boundaries with people telling you what you'll need to do to get in the holiday spirit.....or how you should behave. I have had to significantly alter how I want my holiday to be.....the traditions I want to set for myself, the people I want to be around-a holiday is suppost to be enjoyable. If it isn't, it isn't a holiday. So try making new holiday traditions that will make you happy.New here. I have c-PTSD.
I've had holiday terrors since childhood when the worst abuse/torture occurred. For over 50 years, the holidays have been an absolute nightmare. It used to start in October, but now, it's only for short periods in November and December. I get so triggered that I can only achieve being in survival mode. I can't socialize, send greetings, anything Christmas-y. I try to do little things like make paper snowflakes, maybe listen to "The Messiah", but most years I can't even do that. Everything that's about the holidays triggers me, and it's so inescapable. I desperately want to move to a deserted island if I could. It's literally trying to get through each day til it's over.
Then afterwards I'm SO relieved that I survived another holiday season, but that's coupled with the aftermath of once again not getting a Christmas like everybody else gets. To the world it's all about love and togetherness. To me, it's emotional and spiritual torture (the main abuser was my uncle, a priest). It's not the physical torture anymore, now it's emotional torture. My abusive family stole Christmas from me, and it really hurts. Just another example of the deprivation which defines my life.
I'm starting to get back to normal now, after New Years. I have to start doing things, but it's so hard to recover from it.
Sorry to be so whiney, but I had to get it out. Few people can understand how devastating PTSD can be. Thanks.