Anniversaries: Reclaiming The Meaning of Holidays

Dear Guests,

The time between Halloween and New Year’s Eve can be stressful and triggering for many people, especially survivors and their connections.  It can be hard to cope with the memories, emotional overload, and overwhelming triggers in positive and healthy ways.

Personally, I’ve disliked holidays, holiday seasons, and celebrations of many kinds for years.  Even more, I’ve hated what they represent and remind me of.  The first years after I left my family, I hid and slept through most of them.  Then I started staying awake more; did not remember much as I was dissociating at the time, but I was awake.  And eventually, I started being active while I was at home.

And as I reflect on anniversaries this year, I’ve realized that sometimes escape is healthy and positive.  Even if it means doing something that appears wrong, crazy, sick, or just plain weird to outsiders.  As long as it helps me cope without causing harm, why not try it?  So this year, I started substituting memories by creating new ones before, during, and after an anniversary.

It’s not easy.  And it’s not always fun.  Sometimes I do too much and get triggered into flashbacks.  Other times, I don’t do enough and get overwhelmed by a panic attack.  But each time I try to make new memories, I succeed in letting go of scary ones.  Then next time is less difficult.

Whatever you celebrate or not celebrate, however you choose to spend your time off, I and my alters wish you a safe, healthy, happy, peaceful next few days.