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Posts Tagged ‘holiday blues’

As I have shared several times before, October through December are typically very rough months for me. Some of this is the result of the ritual abuse I suffered as a child. I suspect that this is also a difficult time because there are so many holidays, which when I was a child signified being separated from those who were supportive (teachers and friends), leaving me 24/7 with my crazy family and their friends.

Regardless of the reason, October is generally a very difficult time of year. I pretty much stay triggered, alternating between feeling anxious and feeling very depressed. I am happy to report that I did much better this October than I have in previous years. Hooray!

I am not saying that I was able to avoid being triggered. Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that these last couple of weeks have involved one trigger after another. The big difference is that I have not stayed triggered. I have been successful in pulling myself out of the nosedives repeatedly. The good news is that I have had many “good” days. The bad news is that I feel like a Weeble-Wobble that keeps getting knocked down and then getting back up … up and down … up and down … until I start to feel dizzy.

In some ways, handling the triggers in a healthier way is just as tiring as staying “stuck” in the triggers. There is a certain amount of “comfort” in knowing that I am in a bad place and will stay there for a while. Even though I don’t enjoy it, I know what to expect. These days, I cannot tell you from hour to hour what state I will be in. That is exhausting, but I still wouldn’t trade it. As I pull myself out of the swirling currents over and over again, I gain confidence in knowing that I am not going to drown.

I was pleasantly surprised not to have to deal with any Halloween-related (ritual abuse) triggers this year. For as long as I can remember, being out after dark has been triggering. Couple that with seeing black hooded figures, and I typically have a very bad headache every Halloween. That did not happen this year (to my utter amazement), so I guess I am making progress in that area.

How did all of you deal with Halloween this year? Was it as triggering as ever? Or did you notice some progress in healing? (Or both?)

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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I hate this time of year. Once Halloween rolls around, a funk settles upon me, and that funk will not lift until after the New Year. I call it my holiday funk. As much as I try to fight it, this is simply one of my realities. I would like to think that it will eventually change, but it doesn’t look like this is going to be the year that it does.

My father passed away at this time of year, which doesn’t help. He was the sane parent. Even though he wasn’t a great parent, he was better than my mother/abuser. He is the one who at least made my mother stop abusing me when I was six. (He failed to stop numerous others from abusing me, but at least he stopped her.) She abused me again after he died.

But I really don’t think that the anniversary of my father’s passing is what kicks off this funk. I think it is all of the terrible memories that center around the holidays. School was my lifeline, where I had friends and teachers who cared about me. I was actually safe there. The holidays meant that school would be closed, so I was stuck spending my time around my abusers.

I have specific memories of being abused around the Christmas tree. I have no memories at all of celebrating Christmas with either of my parents through age 23. I remember spending Christmas Eves at my grandparents’ house starting when I was around seven or so. However, I know we had a Christmas tree at home and opened some of our presents there, but those memories have been wiped clean.

I am fighting not to succumb to the depression, but I sense it looming about me. I need to find a way to process the grief without giving into it and letting it run my life for the next couple of months. I really do not want to resign myself to feeling miserable for the rest of the year.

And yet, it is all starting – the insomnia … the reluctance to go to bed at night … waking in the middle of the night and being unable to sleep again … wanting to stay extra busy so my mind is not idle … deep pain whenever I am not distracting myself. It just plain stinks.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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