The holidays are knocking at our door. Shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking are on my agenda each day. I can’t remember a Christmas that I have been happier. We have our health, our children are each in a good place, moving forward with their lives, and I am more in love with my husband than I have ever felt.
I feel solid in my new life as a survivor. The hard work towards healing has paid off. Except for the occasional bumps in the road, my past is really in the past and I am living in the present. I am so thankful.
I share this because, as I am at my highest point I know others who have been abused are at their lowest point. The holidays have that effect on anyone who is suffering emotional pain or loss. My message is one of hope. I’ve experienced many Decembers when I went through the motions, appearing that I was present and happy; when inside I was pushing away memories and fighting back tears.
For those who are suffering I offer a few bits of advice.
Do only as much as you feel you can. You do not have to hang every ornament and bake every cookie that you have always baked. You and your family will survive.
Be good to yourself. Between the days of forcing yourself to get something done, stop and do something nice for you.
Say no if you need to. You don’t have to attend that party or event. Others will carry on without you.
Remember that your work towards healing is the only priority right now. There will be other holidays to celebrate and you will be able to enjoy them.
And if you can, find a piece of the holiday that you will enjoy. Tell yourself that your abuser is not going to take that away from you. Let yourself feel joy even if it is just for the brevity of a carol, or a moment with a loved one.
Holidays will take on a whole new meaning once you have worked through your healing journey. They will be brighter, clearer, happier, I know, I’ve experienced it all.
I am so thankful and so hopeful that others will feel my joy. Until then be kind to yourself. You will make it through this difficult time! Roberta