It’s Boxing Day and I don’t know about you, but I am Exhausted. Another Christmas Day has come and gone. For me the day was a busy and overall a good day. It was the first year that my 7am alarm was what woke my family up! I was surprised, but then again my youngest is now 10 years old so perhaps the 4 am – creeping – into – my -room -to -see -if -I -am -awake -and -can -we -open -presents moments have come to an end. Sigh. Anyways my day started with our little family opening our gifts, followed by prepping for Christmas supper, a nap, feeding my horse and then supper with my fiancé’s sister and family. It sounds pretty nice doesn’t it? It was, but then why did I end the day quietly crying in the dark in the quiet of my living room?
Recovery from abuse sucks and it’s suckiness can creep up on you at the most inopportune times. For me it was late on Christmas Day night. I find when holidays come memories of the past creep into my mind. This year they were not as powerful as they had been in the past. I did not have any full blown flashbacks or panic attacks. They were more like an annoying tap on my shoulder saying, “hey do you remember me?” My response was, “yes I remember, but you will not have a hold on me today” and I just kept swatting them away. I was pretty proud of myself, yet still I ended up in tears.
PTSD is not an easy road. You are constantly on high alert. Adrenaline is pumping through your body as your whole being prepares to fight or flee. Your heart is always racing, as are your thoughts and it is bloody exhausting. You are constantly on the lookout for danger. I need to remember that all of that was happening to me underneath the Christmas supper prepping and present opening. I often forget that in my recovery. I carry forward like I do not have PTSD and think that I should be able to function like I don’t have any disabilities, but I do have them. They are often unseen to the outside world but they are there. So really, is it any surprise that before my guests had left I had collapsed on my couch and was later crying in the dark? I think not. My nervous system had a lot to process yesterday; extra people in my house which would result in my whole being subconsciously assessing whether I was safe. I also had those annoying memories tapping me on the shoulder. I will be honest I was also trying really hard not to let anyone know I was going through all of this. So yes I do understand why in the end I ended up in tears.
I love my family, both extended and non extended. They are a huge part of my life and I would not change having these gatherings. I am glad I was able to see everyone yesterday. Upon reflection I just have to be mindful of my disabilities and perhaps be more open with my family as to what I am going through. Save myself from collapsing at the end of the night. Communication with loved ones is key as you recover from abuse and battle PTSD. You need a good support system to make it through the good and bad times. At the end of the night, as I cried, I was grateful for two people in my support system; my fiancé and my oldest daughter. My daughter heard me crying and came into the living room to see if I was ok. At that point I could not put it into words so we just sat together and then my fiancé joined us. They both held my hands and we chatted about everything and nothing all in one. It was a blessed moment. My fiancé reminded me that in this family we always have each others backs and that I am loved. I will get through this battle and my friends so will you.
Peace and Blessings to all of you during this Holiday Season.