You may have noticed that lately, my blogging has dropped off significantly (except for the constant book reviews. Can’t give up completely.)
The depression part of both grieving and PTSD has hit me hard in the last few months. There are days I struggle with finding inspiration just for ordinary life, let alone writing or blogging or doing anything creative. I know many people have the attitude of “just get over it already!” and I’m trying. But it’s not as easy as you’d think to control the neurochemicals in your brain. I’ve tried to maintain an attitude of Gratitude, which has been important in my healing process, I just haven’t always had the mental energy to write about it.
The holidays are close, and they are hard for me to face this year. Last year they were stressful rather than joyful, full of screaming instead of music and anger instead of happiness. It changed the way I looked at a holiday I have always loved. I adore giving presents, making presents, baking goodies and decorating so Christmas has always been a high point in my year. This year, as it approached, I was filled with dread and horror. Just the thought of getting the tree up caused a physical reaction. I would get nauseous, anxious, jittery and shaky. I would procrastinate in any way that I could. I only managed to get the tree up a week ago, and it is scantily decorated this year. The house is not the magical wonderland I used to create during the season, but I did what I could.
And I am slowly getting into the spirit of the holiday. I realized that what I really need is a list of things to be grateful for this year that surround this season, to remember why it always brought me joy, and why it can again.
My Reasons for Joy this Season:
A White Christmas
Okay, I bemoan Canadian winters a lot. But honestly? Since we’ve moved to the Calgary area (from northern AB) they haven’t been all that bad. And I really like having snow at Christmastime, which we have had more years than not while living here. I also love the nice warm Chinooks that keep me from freezing my tuckus off later on in the winter.
Now, have I fallen on the ice that comes along with the snow? Yes, twice so far this year, once while dropping off boxes for charity and another while hauling in groceries on my very own front step. I’m less grateful for the ice, I have to admit. But that blanket of white snow makes perfection out of a landscape. It blurs the litter and the dog poop and the things you don’t want to think about in your yard. It makes little sculptures out of the footprints of kids and animals and lets you follow squirrels from your birdfeeder to their homes in the treetops. And it just makes it feel like Christmas.
Traditional Christmas Treats
Grandma was a crazy good cook. She made ridiculously amazing preserves, grew fantastic fruits and vegetables that went from farm to table before that was a thing, and during the holidays, she baked crazy awesome cookies. Every year, when I cook and bake during the holidays, I think about her and remember everything she taught me about working in the kitchen. For her, feeding people was a way to show that you cared, and I find that I show love in the same way.
So I finally got off my butt this year and started making some Christmas treats. I’m grateful that I have the memories of my Grandma to carry me through, and glad I have some of her talent in the kitchen.
A Christmas Love Story
I have an incredible, wonderful, love of my life guy. I have a soulmate that I get to snuggle up to at night, who I know will always be there for me, who makes me laugh, who shares my dreams, who supports me in everything I do, who helps prop me up when I am so very, very down, and who does cute stuff like leaving me messages in the frost on the car.
Yeah, I had to take the picture from inside the car. Too cold out for anything else!!
The Season of Giving
Pretty soon he’ll discover that his gifts are quirky and somewhat silly and some are home -made, because that’s the kind of gifting that I love; putting my whole heart into it, and discovering things that will make the person I’m shopping for get that great, silly grin on their face. Oh I find so much joy in watching people open their presents. I’m so, so lucky to be able to gift those I love.