I made it

Yes, I’m here on the other side of Christmas hell, and I lived to tell the tale. 🙂

Actually this year was better than most. I kept focussed on myself, and kept my therapist’s advice top of mind (as well as Therapy Doc’s and Dr Kathleen’s – which I blogged about here and here).

For my future reference, and for yours, here are the things that I think made the biggest difference for me:

  1. Minimising time in the cesspit of negativity and criticism – I arrived late, and left several days earlier than normal. That certainly helped. I woke in my own bed on Christmas morning and, even though I was alone, I felt happy. I held on to that feeling for as long as I could. And when things did start to skirt the edges of “gnarly”, I reminded myself that I was leaving soon. 🙂
  2. I expected nothing – meaning that I expected things to not be great. In some past years I’ve gone hoping there’d be a miracle and the day would be great. Of course, it never was, and I was left with nothing but disappointment. Going in with no expectations was a much better approach – and accepting whatever happened, was equally important.
  3. I helped in the kitchen – kept myself busy, in the lead up and on Christmas day, preparing food. And for once we didn’t have enough food to feed several small African nations for a year – just enough for a nice meal without too much over indulgence.
  4. I kept my therapist in mind – I remembered the advice she’s given me over the last couple of years, and all the positive things I’ve achieved.
  5. I kept you guys in mind – that’s right, you lot; you readers; you out there. 🙂 I thought of you and imagined an invisible force binding us together and steeling us against the shenanigans we usually endure.
  6. I focussed on happy thoughts – and happy places. Things, people, places, ideas that make me happy or smile. If I felt things starting to slide, I just focussed on those and they got me through.
  7. I minimised conversation with my father – ok, sure, there were some exchanges, but mostly I was able to keep busy and keep away from him. And when I had to be near him, I did everything I could to avoid looking at him or touching him –guaranteed triggers for me.
  8. I kept touch with iPhone magic – games, social networking, anything that enabled me a few minutes peace, and some grounding.

I can’t take all the credit for things going better than anticipated. My father, for once, was in a better mood than he usually is, and actually spoke to me (or at least in my general direction) in a civil tone. And my mother went nearly 24 whole hours without getting snipey and critical of the world in general. Even when she did I charged up my Teflon coating and just let it all slide away from me. 🙂

Yay for me!

My anxiety didn’t really start to kick in until after I’d come home – I’m not really sure why. Well, I think I know what the anxiety’s about, just not sure why it didn’t hit until after I got home. Possibly it’s about fantasies colliding with realities, but that’s another post for another day.

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18 thoughts on “I made it

  1. I agree, Kerro, way to go! I didn’t fare so well, but then, I will shamefully admit that I forgot to do a few of the “basics” like think of all of you. I’m going to write your list down and keep it close for all those times I desperately don’t want to bottom out – thanks for sharing it!

  2. Hi Ivory – so sorry to hear that you didn’t fare so well. I have found that when I prepare myself, as I did this year, I fare sooooooo much better than when I just go in thinking “it’ll be alright” – it almost never is. The lack of preparation usually means that as soon as something starts to bite, I forget all the good strategies I know, and get sucked under twice as fast. I hope my list (and the ones I linked to) will help some in future.

  3. Was it Oprah who said “You go girl!!”? If not, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the reminder of her recent visit to your part of the world 🙂

    You did awesome with your coping… The curious part of me wonders whether you father really was in a better mood, or whether there was a combination happening – your coping skills working to their fullest, and therefore he realised that you weren’t being affected by him (his power over you has lessened). I like this scenario, as it shows how your healing is changing the way you, and those around you, are reacting…

    Take care,
    CG

  4. Hi CG – oh yes, Oprah’s visit. Our tabloids have almost stopped talking about it…

    I really like your idea that my healing is influencing those around me, but I’m grappling with the idea. After all, my whole childhood was about tip toeing around my father’s moods… why would it be different now? And why would *I* have any power over that? Hmmm…. rational and emotional on a collision course again. LOL

  5. Hi Kerro,

    Great. I’m so glad for you. I see all the steps you have taken in your life, and it is good to see where all your healing work has lead you.

    “I thought of you and imagined an invisible force binding us together and steeling us against the shenanigans we usually endure.”

    I have started to work on this as well. It has been difficult for me to do, but I am trying to do it during the easiest times, so that it will be easier for me when I am going through a harder time.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  6. Yea for you Kerro 🙂

    Do you do words with friends on the iphone? If so, email me your user name – we can play games. What other things do you play? I like mainly word games like bookwork, word warp etc. Play peggle every once in awhile.

  7. @ Life Multiplied – Thanks 🙂

    @ Kate – thank you, too. I always found it really hard to remember I wasn’t alone too – actually to believe I wasn’t alone. That is until I went to group therapy. That really hit it home for me that there are so many people out there, just like you, just like me, doing our damnedest to heal. I hope you can remember this, too.

    @ OLJ – Oh Peggle, why is it I am the only person on the planet who can’t get into Peggle? LOL I play some word games, too, and Angry Birds, Amazon, Wally, Picture thingy… anything I can *conquer* LOL 😉

  8. Pingback: Reflections on 2010 « Kerro's Korner

  9. I just stumbled upon your blog as I was browsing Scattered Pieces. This resonated so strongly with me that I just wanted to stop in and give you a high five! Reading this was so uplifting for me, and gives me hope! Thank you for that. 🙂 Holidays are the toughest for me to navigate. For the first time this year, I sat out of all of them. Stayed home, curled up with good books, watched movies. That was a huge step for me.
    I want to note that I have also had a few occasions in the past where my anxiety didn’t hit until I came home, or was on my way home. I wasn’t sure why either, except that maybe subconsciously we are just giving ourselves a safe place to release our anxiety.
    One long journey….I love Words With Friends. It’s such a great distraction!
    I’m so glad that I’m finally discovering these amazing survivor blogs. They are truly medicine for my soul.

  10. Hi Mareeya – thanks for stumbling by. 😉 I’m sorry to hear the holidays are so tough for you, too, but glad you took some positive steps this year and looked after yourself. The blogosphere has been a god-send for me, too, in many respects (though I will clarify that now and say I used to read anything and everything, but now only hang around those blogs that make me feel good, or help me, or at least don’t trigger). Take care out there in the blogosphere, it can be great… but it can also be triggering.

  11. This is a great list! I think that #2 is so very important – and it is something that I’m still working on with my own family. Thank you for that reminder, as I head into this holiday season, I am going to need that.

    Thanks for sharing this with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!

  12. Hi Kerro,

    Thanks so much for sharing this empowered post once again. It is so great. I am, as always, so proud of you. Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

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