Being Present not just getting presents

Here we are back at Christmas. This is probably one of the harder times of year for people. It is also the time of year that people think there is no problem at all. And for some that is a completely honest statement. But for others it is something to think while the world falls apart around them.

This is not an easy time for me. I find myself more depressed, more easily stressed out, and suffer unexplainable crying jags. In other words I am profoundly not having a jolly time. For me the reason is trauma triggers. A lot of not good stuff happened for me this time of year as a child. As a result I struggle with this time of year.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally love Christmas music. I love the stations that play holiday music for a solid month. I love the stories that are shared of holiday experiences. And I very much love making people smile with gifts or acts of kindness. I am not a humbug sort of person. I even have a shelf of sappy Christmas movies that I watch. But sometimes the past and the triggers that come up are often more than I can handle.

This is really hard for some of my children. I know that some of my adult children want to fix it and make it better. That somehow there must be something that they can do that will make this easier for me. There really does not seem to be anything that they can do that can fix it. I have explained to them that it is really me and that I am the only one who can change how I react and respond to the holidays.

I have made a few goals for getting through the holidays. Goal one is to just relax and stay present. Don’t worry about anything that is not relative to this moment. I have a schedule of things that happen and when they happen. Things like bill paying and so forth. Goal two is to just enjoy my family. Enjoy the moments that I am with them. Make cookies with my children. Play games with them and just enjoy being with them. Goal three is to enjoy what comes my way. Whether that is something fun having to do with family and friends, snow days, or just being in a quiet moment. All the goals are really about being in the present moment and not continuing to allow the past to ruin this time of year.

It is also important for me to allow myself to grieve if that is what I need to do and not block hard feelings from coming. Being present means I can allow them to come but I don’t have to hold on to them. I can acknowledge them and let them go. Way too often I hold on to those thoughts and let them take up valuable space in my mind. When what I need to do is to acknowledge and let them go.

This holiday season I will sing, dance, and make merry. And I will engage in self-care and tenderness to myself. I will remember to take deep calming breaths and be courageous.

Just Keep Breathing

Christmas is not an easy time for me. I try hard to make it a good time. In the past I have struggled to not spend all my time wishing it was Jan.2. This year I have tried very hard to keep that feeling at bay. I have all my shopping done. Thank you Amazon. I have made inroads into the cookie baking. I am enjoying the Christmas music. I have so far not had a meltdown.

It all started a long time ago when I was 5. And now many years later I have finally figured out what the problem is. Other than the trauma that started it all. I have been trying to have the perfect Christmas. The one I wanted all my life.

When I was 12 i had a large piece of cardboard. I decorated it to look like a fireplace. I put it up in my room. I then turned a children’s outside bench into my couch and put a trunk in front of it to make a coffee table. I wanted a small version of Christmas that was all mine.¬† Something that I had control of. Feelings of lack of control is something I always battle. This was my Christmas.

Now I have many people in my home. My children all want to be a part of the Christmas decorating committee. It is wonderful to see them taking part in the decorating. But I have stopped doing things that I love because I am afraid that I will lose that little bit of control in life that I somehow think I have. I no longer decorate cookies. I once did a series of Fairytale cookies. Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Rapunzel, Goldilocks, the works. I decorated them with icing and very little tools. It was a blast. Now there are so many people wanting to help that I stopped.

I have stopped a lot of things that I should never  have stopped. This year I think I will try to do more things that I love. And enjoy the Christmas season. And if that means watching my favorite movies until it drives my family crazy than so be it. This year I have decided to reclaim a lot of things about myself that I have let go of.

This year I will not let the panic attacks eat my soul (now on day number three of the epic Christmas panic attack), I will enjoy my family, and I will find some peace. And I will finally learn that every Christmas is the perfect Christmas.