That’s exactly what my therapist chanted at me as I left her office this afternoon. The past few days have been terrible, with nightmares and gruesome flashbacks every day. I’m exhausted, annoyed that it seems I have to choose between mental and physical health, and becoming paranoid. It’s a lovely combination.
She told me that her goal for me this holiday season is to fight against my emotions. That might seem odd, coming from a therapist, but I take her point. My emotions aren’t always rational. This sense of foreboding doom and paranoia comes out of a nightmare. The thoughts of self harm that keep cropping up stem from the flashbacks. None of these things are ‘normal’ events that spark ‘normal’ emotions. These are the emotions I need to guard against. My therapist says sometimes we have to lead our emotions rather than following them, and I know exactly what she means.
We’re coming upon the dates for my sister’s birth and death, trying to cope with the more recent loss of my best friend’s brother, and generally fighting to keep from spiralling out of control as the various emotions come up against each other. But, I will fight. I will fight to get through my sister’s death anniversary without shutting down. I will fight to get through the holidays without bowing to grief. And I will fight to be present. To enjoy the holidays, even when what I want to do most is cover my head and forget to exist for a while.