Grieving During the Holidays

The holidays tend to be very rough for a lot of people. I am one of those people. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I remember growing up my stepfather would do gag gifts or wrap my gift in a box within a box within a box–you get the picture. Christmas was less about the stuff and more about the fun we had giving and making each other laugh.

This all changed for me my senior year in high school. Senior year traumatized me. It stole the joy out of the holidays for me. My stepfather died in a horrific motorcycle accident after living in the hospital for six months with a traumatic brain injury. After that, I didn’t look at the holidays the same way.

Death changes people. For me, it makes me irritable around this time of year. I don’t enjoy doing the holly jolly stuff everyone posts pictures of online. The reason I’m doing them? My son deserves to have a jolly Christmas. Last year, we did nothing much as I wasn’t in the mood.

This year, we are doing more. How? Well, we’ve already had his photo taken with santa.  I have candles that smell like evergreen trees burning in the house daily. We are buying specific gifts for him. Things like that. We have a tree we are decorating. It’s hard to  get back into the spirit after so long being out of the Christmas spirit.

Struggling is ok though. Everyone heals and grieves differently. For me, holidays are something I’m still working on getting back into. For others, it could mean going to the grave site weekly or not at all. For me, this grieving process lends itself to a whole lot of anxiety and depression as I’m sure it does a lot of people.

Some actions that help me are as follows:

  1. hot baths: I love soaking. When I’m soaking in a tub, it’s as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist. I don’t feel the pain I’m in. I don’t feel the anxiety or the depression.
  2. Hot tea: I, specifically, love a cup of hot peppermint tea. It relaxes my mind to rest for the next day or just to relieve stress of the current day.
  3. Reading: It’s the best distraction tool I have. It takes me out of reality and into a fictional world where my stress and reality doesn’t exist.
  4. Food Network: I love watching anything food network. I get lost in watching the people cook or learning about the new foods. It’s easy to take my mind off my struggles this way.
  5. Counseling and Psychiatry: I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. I take medicine. I talk about my feelings and my fears with an unbiased third party. It isn’t easy AT ALL. But it helps A LOT.

What are some things that help you? 


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