Many of us who have dealt with and experienced any type of trauma can agree that most of those negative thoughts, emotions, and reminders occur during the holiday seasons.
When most of us tend to spend that time with family or close friends, it can be very triggering and sometimes even traumatizing.
Some may ask, why traumatizing?
It can be very disheartening or traumatizing to anyone who is having to build or find their new normal while healing and learning who they themselves are now.
My first holiday season since leaving my ex-husband was last year. It was very hard. I was struggling financially and emotionally. Financially because my ex-husband found my new employer and jeopardized my work safety and relationship. Emotionally because I only had two real friends who were physically in the same state within 30 minutes from me and actually knew what transpired between me and my ex, but due to my depression and anxiety, I would push them away repeatedly. Isolating myself which only made my depression worst and made my dark thoughts feel more real, which increased my suicidal ideations worse.
Mental health is never just one thing, unless help and guidance is reached in time to prevent depression or anxiety from worsening and causing more mental health problems.
Last year was very hard for me and honestly I was quite numb. I managed to run away from my problems for a few days when I flew to Texas for one of my oldest friend’s husband’s birthday party.
Once I returned home, everything returned to normal.
The pain, isolation, loneliness, sadness, panic, anxiety, depression, paranoia, trust issues, mania, triggers, etc, welcomed me home with open arms.
2020 began, depression was worst as well as my suicidal ideations. I could barely take care of myself or my German Shepherd who was struggling just as much. I was still going to individual counseling, but I reached a point where I believed I no longer needed it and quite honestly believed death was the next step. But something happened and I knew my German Shepherd deserved better so I made the mature decision to find him a better home, where he would be better taken care of and his trauma could be taken care of better.
I recall to this day how numb I felt giving him up and walking away from him, but since Fall began I’ve missed him dearly and everything reminds me of him and the memories we shared together.
His memories resurfacing was the clue that made me realize my depression came back at full effect when I started to isolate myself from my boyfriend, whom I had clearly warned about my mental health problems but when the season began is when he really saw my depression.
I’ve had few set backs because of my depression, which in turn affect our relationship, because I tend to find any excuse to fight and force him into what my dark thoughts (depression and mania) want me to believe so I can isolate myself and continue to feed my depression and anxiety.
It has been really hard. Even harder to take a step back and analyze the situation so I can explain and sometimes apologize for my behavior with my boyfriend because its not always his fault especially when its the first time something happened.
The first relationship after leaving your abuser will happen. For most of us I believe it to be unexpected; meaning you’re not looking for it at all and you don’t even believe yourself to be ready for it either.
But when it comes, it is important you know and remind yourself that it won’t be a cake walk down the park. In fact, it’s going to be a really tough journey up Mount Everest and if you have already hikes Mount Everest it will be a really tough journey up nothing you’ve ever encountered before.
That is the simple truth.
It will be scary.
Those dark inner thoughts in the back of your head won’t disappear overnight or after a week.
Danny and I have been officially together since August of this year. There have been stupid and legitimate reasons why I could’ve walled away. Am I crazy for staying? I don’t think so. I believe if I had let those reasons keep me from being happy and feeling love would’ve only empowered my depression and my ex-husband, because I would be allowing the things he tainted for me to ruin possible happy memories with someone else who may actually deserve them and me.
In conclusion, what I am saying is that although a traumatic experience can ultimately taint and possibly ruin a time, moment or experience for the rest of your life. You don’t necessarily have to let it be that way. You can choose to rework those memories by creating new ones with people or family that matters. But it all starts with you wanting to move forward and onward from your past. Stay focused on the present and being legitimately realistic with yourself over anything. That all begins with setting and writing short and long term goals with a legitimate set expectation date to keep you accountable as well.