Christmas is not my favourite time of year, in fact I kind of dread it. Aside from the well deserved break from the craziness that is school, it’s a time of year when I wish I could just quickly skip over it and start the new year fresh.
I used to love the holidays, but the past few years have brought about some negative memories that I now associate with the holidays. Particularly the last two Christmases were especially emotional and hard to get through, it triggers my PTSD and anxiety similar to how I experience the same symptoms in the fall. Instead on some level I am forced to avoid certain activities like shopping at busy malls to avoid triggering panic attacks.
It’s also hard to shop around this time because while certain people aren’t in my life anymore, they still often cross my mind especially when I come across something I think they would have liked or that I likely wouldn’t have bought them to celebrate the holidays. It’s brings about emotional turmoil that makes it hard to deal with in a busy and ‘cheery’ place.
On some level it’s hard not to feel angry at times. Even though I have gotten through the initial trauma of painful events it’s hard to admit that outlook on life forever changed. I guess part of me does feel angry at the particular people who have seemingly been “fortunate” enough to have avoided trauma. More specifically the people selfish or greedy enough to tell someone to just get over the depression or anxiety I experience, or that it’s my fault that I suffer at times. Then on the other level there’s the anger I put on myself for feeling that it’s wrong I can’t enjoy something so many people do because of events I experienced.
My point is, the holidays are not an enjoyable time for everyone and at a time when it’s highly commercialized and materialized many people become marginalized and left out whether due to lack of financial means, social isolation whether intentionally or unintentionally, or disease/disability. I suggest this holiday season people step back and reflect upon our relationships, start by asking how people are doing and how you can support people who may need it.
Until I can fully override my previous experiences and replace them with new positive experiences to remove the associations of the past it’s hard to enjoy the ‘most magical time of the year’, but I will make the effort to try to enjoy this festive time this year.