As I drive down the road, the flashing Christmas lights make me feel nauseous. Inside my typical suburban home stands a four foot fake tree. Its top is slightly shorter than the TV. I bought the tree in a fit of energy. I felt festive, but only for a bit. That was a month ago. The sad Charlie-Brown tree has no decorations and a strand of lights burnt out. No presents lay under the tree. I feel like a scourge this Christmas.
The question at work is always, “So what’re you doing during the break?” I force a smile and pretend like oh yeah, just going to visit family, no big deal. I try to pretend I’m one of them.
The truth is I have no idea what my husband and I are doing for the holidays. I dread the idea of being in proximity to her. I thought my PTSD was in check until a few days ago. On the drive to a social event with co-workers I had a PTSD incident. I could only clearly see what was right in front of me. Upcoming flashlights looked blurry. My mind did not want to stay present. I slid into my seat five minutes before the wedding began. I could hear the blood pumping in my ears. I did not want to stay present. During the reception, I had to try extremely hard to be present.
After an evening of hell, I slept for hours. Today, I forced myself to brush my teeth, get dressed, and go to a meditation class. I returned a few hours ago. I feel calm, yet quietly sad. I’m ready for this week to pass. In a few more years, perhaps auntie will be right and I’ll learn to make my own holidays.
How is everyone coping with the holidays?