Christmas Anxiety

To say that this Christmas season has been easy for me would be a lie, it hasn’t been. It is not because I don’t like Christmas either, because I love the Christmas season. I love celebrating the birth of Christ, all the lights, the carols and time with family and friends. It is a lovely time of year. So why has it not been easy for me? Anxiety.

Anxiety is a disorder that cripples many. I am one of them. I was diagnosed with PTSD back in 2011 and with PTSD comes anxiety. A lot of the time I am able to cope with it. I know all the breathing exercises to calm myself. I know how to do positive self talk. In fact I am a person who often helps others with their anxiety so you would think I have this all cased wouldn’t you? Well I don’t. I have shed tears in my vehicle after shopping in a mall. I have suffered a full out anxiety attack while decorating our Christmas tree and I have had moments where I just crawl under the blankets and seek silence. To be blunt it sucks.

I know why I am suffering. Christmas was always a time when my ex husband was more abusive. He would yell more and would make sure I knew what a chore it was to shop for me. Everyone else’s gifts would be planned out weeks in advance whereas mine would be last minute. He would make sure I knew that he was only buying me something because it would look bad in front of everyone else if he did not. He crushed my self worth every Christmas. I understand that those memories go deep so of course when December rolls around I am not surprised if I am triggered and on edge.

What am I doing to cope? Well I am happy to say I was remarried this last fall to a wonderful man who loves me deeply. He has been my rock during this anxiety ridden time. He holds me when I cry or when my whole being is shaking with anxiety. We talk about what I am feeling or sometimes we just sit in silence. I also pray. I am a strong Christian believer so I have had many “chats” with God praying for peace and strength and I am also looking for the positives in every day, even if it is a small thing like going out for a walk on our farm in the snow and sunshine.

If you are also struggling this Christmas my thoughts are with you. Please know that you are not alone. I too am taking it all one moment at a time. Breathe and take care of you. Merry Christmas.

 

Janet

 

Advertisements

Holidays, PTSD & …….tears?

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.

imagesicpz66n3

  Peace and Blessings to all of you during this Holiday Season.

 

Janet

 

untitled                                             national-domestic-violence-hotline-big

 

Holidays with an abuser

As we enter this Easter holiday I am filled with mixed emotions. I love seeing my children’s excitement over the Easter bunny and I value my religious beliefs around this weekend, but my thoughts also drift to another aspect of the holidays that many of us have or are enduring;

Abusers

Holidays with my ex were always a time I dreaded. That and my birthday. My favourite holiday is Christmas. My ex knew this and deliberately went out of his way weeks ahead of the season to make sure I was miserable. Every year he would reduce me to tears, bawling actually, and just wishing the season would be done. My Birthday was the same. In both I was made to feel guilty for wanting to celebrate cause how could anything I like be important? I also feel he wanted that light in my eyes, that excitement, to be eternally snuffed out. He could not see me be happy.

broken  Christmas  decoration.

For many there is an increase in physical abuse during the holidays. Statistically December has the highest number of calss to 911 for Domestic Violence. Some blame it on alchohol but I simply believe abusers don’t want their victims to feel joy, to get attention, to be loved and honoured. They can’t feel those happy feelings themselves so there is no way anyone around them should. Some also say its the pressure of holidays, especially Christmas, that get to abusers, but I don’t really believe that. We all feel some pressure at Christmas but we don’t all go home and beat up our spouse.

Whatever it is that triggers abusers over holidays or birthdays it is a horrible time for their victims.

In my first year, postseperation I became really cranky at every holiday and my birthday. I could not figure out why. After some thought I realised I was still waiting for the axe to fall from my ex.  When that didn’t happen I had no idea how to cope. It has now been four years without him and I can say as each year passes each holiday becomes easier to enjoy. Slowly life is proving to me that it is ok to be happy on my Birthday and its ok to celebrate Christmas.  He won’t be jumping out of nowhere trying to destroy my celebrations.

Wherever you are at in your journey this holiday weekend please know I am thinking of you. I know holidays are not easy. Do what you need to do to get through it. Love yourself, be safe, try and let yourself feel the joy and know you are not alone. There are many of us who are having mixed feelings during this holiday weekend.

Be Safe

If you need extra support during this Holiday Season there are a number of Hotlines and Shelters Available. Please follow this link to find support near you http://www.hotpeachpages.net/

About Janet B

I am a Domestic Violence Survivor, who battles PTSD. I share what I know to help others on their journey and to help educate society. I also Supervise a Mentoring Program at Verbal Abuse Journals (http://verbalabusejournals.com/). This program matches Survivors who have been out of the abusive relationship for a few years, and are now Mentors,  with Survivors who are either still in an abusive relationship or have just left. A mentoring relationship is set up via email where the Mentor offers guidance and support to the Survivor for as long as they need. Please feel free to sign up for this free service at  http://ow.ly/LSii8

Verbal Abuse Journals facebook https://www.facebook.com/VerbalAbuseJournals

My facebook page: Freedom Within: My Journey through Domestic Violence and PTSD https://facebook.com/fw.dvptsd

twitter: https://www.twitter.com/within_freedom

LinkedIn Profile: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/janetbrownleedvptsd“>

Pinterest: Freedom Within

image