Saving Christmas

I’ve been sick, my girlfriend has been sick, the week has been challenging to say the least and I’ve been approaching Christmas with anxiety and gloom. We have both improved enough to get last minute shopping, gift wrapping, cleaning, and cooking done, a friend is looking after Zoe (who is getting the chance to bounce around a big jungly backyard with a huge dog friend and probably feels it is a pretty good Christmas) and there has been the addition of cherries, late night ocean swims, sleep-ins, and a break from the relentless cycles of physical pain and emotional distress. I’m so relieved. I’ve been to the carols service of a local queer-friendly church and remembered that joy is the thing I’ve been missing. I’ve been thrilled to catch up here and there with good friends. I’ve been taking some sleep meds to manage the nightmares and the early morning waking which is getting me through for now. I’ve stepped up the journaling and getting hugs from friendly people. Life feels worth living again.

Today was my family Christmas event, united by Skype we opened gifts, shouted at each other through iffy net connections, had a giggle, made and ate good food (most of my people are foodies like me) and dozed in armchairs. It was a good day. Tomorrow will be catching up with various friends and eating a lot of pavlova. I’m really hanging out for the Hobbit on boxing day. 🙂

I’ve had to draw on a lot of skills this week that have been a little rusty, around navigating dissociation, managing flashbacks, coping with unexpected switching and so on. My dissociation level has been very high, bouts where I feel very distant from everything and hazy. I’ve been having increasing difficulties over the past couple of months with phobias, and one of them is around needles/blood which has been very bad lately. I suppressed and avoided the distress during my girlfriend’s recent hospital stay which involved blood tests and a drip and what not, then found myself fighting vivid mental images and body memories everytime I drove home from hospital. There’s only so long you can hold that distress at bay. Sigh. On the other hand, there’s been some useful experiences to refresh my memory and I plan to write some new blog posts next year about managing these kinds of things. I am planning to invest in a small travel keyboard so I can blog on my phone from bed in the evenings. 🙂

Take care, all of you who are struggling over Christmas. It can hurt, can be a stick against which we measure our losses and disappointments, everything in our life that is not as we wish it were. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s okay to hurt and mourn. There’s also joy to be found, often in such small things. I went to the beach the other night and there was lightning and the moon was silver and the clouds were deep purple and the sky was vast and beautiful and shining white frost onto the black ocean. Two small boats were anchored by the shore and they danced in the water, the lights on their mast keeping the time of the ocean’s heartbeat, and soothing my own. I hope you find some joy of your own. xx

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