A bit of the back story

I'm sharing lots of upbeat holiday stories here, and I'm doing so intentionally.  There actually are a lot of ridiculously fun things going on here over the last week--at my parents' house, in my travels with Maybelle and Biffle--and I want to be consciously aware of them.  I'm making an effort to pay attention to these hilarious, or pleasant, or comfortable moments.

Maybelle and PoppiI realize, though, that reading this series of posts, someone might be led to believe that my holiday break is nothing but delirious happiness.  In fact, if I read these posts, I might well think, "Damn, am I the only person having a hard time over the holidays?"

So here's some of the back story:  the holidays are rough for me.  And I know they're rough for a lot of my friends, too.  This is a time for some pretty painful anniversaries--my own anniversary of the seizure that led to the diagnosis of my brain tumor, a best friend's anniversary of her father's death.  Right now one of my in-laws is experiencing a medical crisis significant enough that they're probably approaching this as their last Christmas together.  That's pretty triggering to me.  I'm so, so sad for their family, but I've also had to keep my distance because it's too easy for me to get caught up in the "that could be us!" whirlpool of thought.

I know from other close friends that the holidays are rough even if there's not a life-threatening event or a painful anniversary.  One friend said, "My depression is lurking but not yet rearing.  Tomorrow may not be so good."  My mom shared that in many past holidays, she hasn't realized how anxious she was until her stomach started hurting physically--that this was a normative part of the holiday experience for her.

I've had some core ideas in place this holiday that I've been trying to keep in use:

  • My self-care is my top priority.
  • It's all experimental.
  • It's okay to go with the flow.
  • Pay attention to how I'm feeling.
  • Keep expectations minimal:  one or two goals a day.
  • Pay attention to the moments of pleasure.
That last one has been the motivator for nearly a month of blog posts.  Things are just fine.  And I'm working hard, with lots of support from people I love.  So that's a bit of the back story here in Biffle-Piepmeier land.


krlr said...

Good for you, for managing so well. I've been wading thru the same Christmas fogs, trying to focus on the bright lights. But dammit, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Kevin O'Mara said...

I know that I personally have been enjoying the constant stream of upbeat posts and that they always depart my immediate thoughts having left a little residual happiness and positivity. From a selfish angle I think you should do this all the time.

Cass said...

I'll add another point to your list: make sure to get at least one big hug daily. Touch is healing. :)

Sending one over the e-waves....

Tawanda Bee said...

I cried on Christmas... Not because I missed my son, because I did, and not because I wished my Dad was there, because I did... But because I felt so loved.

The joy and laughter do not get ambushed when I remember today... Like the pain is softer and sweeter.

I so love getting to see Maybelle through your pictures. i especially like watching her singing and dancing... And enjoying MY favorite restaurant Waffle House (where I worked during the summer to buy a stereo in 1979)

Love to your family and Happy New Year!