Black Friday, a crazy Monday online, no deliveries due to high demand, supermarkets packed out at all hours of the day, even on Christmas Eve, shoppers bumping trollies to try to reach the checkout first, angry drivers fighting for parking spaces, people travelling far and wide for the latest Frozen character, whilst others dodge the crowded mayhem completely. There are those who can only just keep themselves afloat all year round yet are so pressured into buying cards and presents for others. Things they cannot afford to buy yet feel ‘obliged’ to. So much stress, anxiety, pressure and depression felt. All these emotions from those who are not diagnosed with a mental illness, just a ‘normal’ seasonal pressure for so many.
So think of this, the powerful emotions, feelings and stresses felt over a short period and then imagine the magnitude of this felt daily by sufferers of PTSD or other mental illnesses. Think of the anxiety and worry felt at having to go out to do your Christmas shopping. I still remember the feelings felt when I ventured out to buy my christmas cards. There was absolutely no way I could go into major shopping centres to carry out shopping for gifts. Most of mine was done online but I did have to venture out to purchase a couple of items. It’s difficult and disappointing because shopping online is such a risk, you cannot check anything until you have already bought it so there are restrictions one what you can buy. I used to enjoy walking around shops, choosing special gifts for special people. It’s just not the same anymore.
The last few days are the worst for people, always pretty frantic also and everyone rushes around making it a no go for people in my position. I normally feel the christmas spirit early on into the season but because I haven’t been out to the shops and the christmas markets I still do not have the buzz I used to feel. I know my emotions have been fairly none existent since my return from Afghanistan although I could not really tell you why. I feel numb emotionally most of the time to be fair. Some days I actually feel like an empty shell, a bit like a porcelain doll I guess. Some days I just want to go into a very deep sleep and wake up and it all to be a very bad dream. Some days I can shake myself out of it, for a while at least. I’m hoping I truly feel the mood tomorrow in great company. I think another reason I don’t have the christmas spirit is because I haven’t been to any party celebrations due to the social anxiety I have yet to overcome.
What I can say is that throughout the last 2 years I have fought the dark times and tried to remain as strong as possible. I have clearly inherited the family trait of stubbornness and tenacity because whatever experiences are yet to greet me through my PTSD journey, I refuse to give in. All of you who are currently battling through with the same or similar struggles, I hope you take some strength from this and other blog posts and continue to fight your demons. Sadly others lost their battle through their darkest times, thinking they had no other way to escape. Who knows where our unique journey will take us but please start talking to someone and keep fighting.