IT IS THAT TIME OF YEAR - THE HOLIDAY TRIGGERS
Once summer turns to fall so does our focus. As the leaves are turning and changing, the mind and body are doing the same. It is like we are in synchrony with the seasons. We are living, breathing creatures of habit, and as the Halloween season is upon us - it is like the, “WITCHING HOUR” has struck!
For many people this time of year begins a journey of great struggle, depression, anxiety and the inevitable roller-coaster ride of internal emotions.
WHAT IS A TRIGGER?
A trigger is a thought or feeling that comes from within connected to a past memory, trauma or unpleasant situation.
We all get triggered by certain things throughout our lives, and it is very personal for everyone.
WHY IS THE HOLIDAY SEASON SO DIFFICULT?
This time of year, the energy of the up and coming events begins to build, and with that there can be a great sense of anxiety. It can range from being stretched too thin from the many pending events, money issues and worries, and the obligations that need to be meet along the way.
For someone who has been through trauma and abuse, it can extend even further. The trigger can be the event itself. Today is Halloween and for many children it is a very exciting time of year filled with candy, fun, laughter and friends. Kids get to dress up and go trick or treating together, coming home with a sugar high and a tummy ache! So worth it!!!
THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW A HOLIDAY COULD TRIGGER SOMEONE -
I do not have many fond memories of Halloween. This holiday is a trigger for me because my mother suffered from mental illness. As a child my life was filled with many instabilities and unknowns. Halloween was no exception. This gave my mother another reason to behave bizarre. She was down right scary at times, and the energy of the holiday only escalated her mania. She would dress in outlandish outfits, become extremely loud and aggressive. We would drive around town, as she would scream out the window extremely inappropriate things and speed out of control. Sometimes, she would flash her naked breasts at passing cars as she hysterically laughed, sang and screamed as she would let go of the steering-wheel at the same time. This was terrifying to me.
When a child suffers abuse these triggers can carry on into adulthood. They can come in forms of flashbacks, nightmares and high anxiety. Every year I must talk myself down from this ledge my mother put me on so many years ago, and I need to remind myself that I am OK.
This is the message I want to send out to all of you as we are coming into the holiday season – YOU WILL BE OK!
(Halloween – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years – Just to Name a few that all come one after another…)
YOU NEED A NOTEBOOK -
If you are feeling on edge or anxious, and you are not sure why, try to take a step back and think about the season and what it means to you.
Write down the positives and the negatives that come with this time of year. Now, if you have old memories or triggers attached to these feelings try to examine the main source, again write it down. Your notebook and pen will become your friend and your go to support that can help you through the holiday season.
A big step in conquering your holiday gloom is understanding your own thoughts and feelings. Once you can get a handle on what the “actual” trigger is, you can move forward and start working on those issues.
It is different for everyone, but what we all have in common is that there will be a main source as to why you are struggling!
Tapping into that source can be uncomfortable, painful or frustrating, but once you can see past the initial disturbance, you can clear the air so to speak!
Remind yourself that you really are “OK and SAFE”, and the past cannot physically hurt you anymore. Start to gear your focus to the positive things in your life, and how far you have come. Work towards making peace with your triggers, and instead of trying to ignore them, welcome them in have a chat and send them on their way.
Yes, this takes practice and work I know, but once you do it and commit to it, the easier it will become. So, when that old friend (not) comes knocking - you are ready and willing to put it in its proper place.
We all deserve to embrace the holiday season with more positives than negatives. Life is not perfect, and we all go through struggles, but we feel so deeply, and we must learn how to address those internal thoughts.
A big reminder as you step forward from today – Focus on the positive aspects of your life, continue to thrive and engage in good situations – Do not be afraid to ask for help when you are struggling and most important BE KIND to yourself through the process.
YOU will get there so please do not give up! The more you get to know yourself the happier you will be triggers and quirks in all!
Embrace the Seasons, The Holiday and YOUR Journey!
Author/Child & Mental Health Advocate/Public Speaker/Blogger Inspirationalist
The Unspoken Truth A Memoir