It’s no earth shattering revelation that the holidays are a tough time for so many. For survivors in particular, all of our emotions are compounded amidst the joyous season that’s supposed to be filled with love, friendship, and hope.
Instead of looking forward to the holidays, with all of its joyous tidings and decorations galore, many of us would rather just forget about the impending cheer and try to treat the entire month of December as any other day. Or, somehow just wish it might pass us by all together so we can get on with life.
We spend all year just trying to get through each day, one at a time. We try not to look too far ahead because the future may seem bleak. We feel like there is no hope for us to feel better, so why bother trying to look towards a future of contentment and happiness?
Everywhere we look, the entire world seems to be embracing everything we wish that we could but don’t feel worthy of.
We sit here and wonder just how in the world we’ll be able to survive all of the glad tidings and good cheer, when we feel so broken and lonely. When you carry the weight of your past on your shoulders every day, not much seems very jolly and bright does it?
Somehow, we manage to make it through. Perhaps we were able to embrace a bit of holiday goodness, just enough to keep our happy face somewhat authentic looking. Or, we just barely made it through and can’t wait for the new year, if for no other reason than just get put the current one behind us.
Now what though, the new year is coming and where are we friends? How do we try to embrace hope after the holidays?
While this time of year does exacerbate depression, anxiety, flashbacks, loneliness, and everything that comes with battling PTSD day in and day out, we are still left with all of those same feelings afterwards.
It’s easy to blame the end of each calendar year for so many woes, and with good reason. Let’s not diminish that at all, because those feelings are real. However, we still have to pick up the pieces and keep going.
I don’t have all of the answers, friends. Nobody does. I do have to believe and embrace the following, and I hope that you will do. Otherwise, what are we trying to heal for? Why are we putting ourselves through hell and back now, to overcome the hell we experienced in the past?
- Every time you wake up each day, that’s a win!
- Every time you show up for a therapy or coaching session, that’s a win!
- Every time you go to work, take care of your family, or finish your “to do” list, that’s a win!
- Every time you encourage another fellow survivor in any way, that’s a win!
- Every time you write a blog post, or personally journal about your day, that’s a win!
- Every time you do something good for you: self-care, get enough sleep, eat healthy, or reward yourself in any way, that’s a win!
- Every time you find a reason to smile, even a little smile, that’s a win.
I’m as guilty as the next person with finding it difficult to embrace hope at times. Reverting instead to the familiar feeling of shame and despair. I’m not here to say it’s easy, or that I got it all figured out, I’m just here to say that I’m with you friend, and let’s rely on each other.
Let’s figure out this healing thing together; lifting one another up when they need it, and embracing the support offered by others, when we need it.
I encourage you to find your win in the coming year, every single day. Some days there will be multiple wins to celebrate, and other days it might just be one. But a win is a win, and we have to believe we are worth fighting for every day.
The alternative cannot be an option. No matter what hand life has dealt us so far, folding cannot be something that we even consider. I believe in you!
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