Who Said The Holidays Are Tough?

If no one said it, I will. THE HOLIDAYS ARE TOUGH! I don’t have much income, but because of my current living situation, my personal expenses are relatively low. I live with my 80-year-old Dad and am next door to my son, his wife, and two adorable little grandsons. In the month or so leading up to the holidays, I had to buy a washing machine for them, a water heater and microwave oven for us. We began to have water leaks. We discovered that the underside of the house looked like a war zone. The water system might as well have been one of those children’s Mouse Trap games and had more leaks that could feasibly be repaired. The only solution was to replace it all. That was a costly job for a plumbing company that also fixed the questionable installation of the water heater. Naturally, when there are water and wood, there are termites. That was a job for a professional exterminator. These two jobs pointed out at least three other expensive jobs. My little paycheck has bit the dust for months in advance all the while we were living with washing dishes in a bucket, sending clothes out to be cleaned and drastically limiting baths and other necessary daily human events.

Here comes Santa wading through the mud from torrential rains. Our family Christmas gathering was all set for the Saturday before Christmas when all of the family members were off from work. The power went out at 3 am! Seventeen people were coming, and we were in the dark with part of our dinner uncooked. We are an odd lot when it comes to holiday dinners, so the celebratory ribeye steaks were covered by my son’s mastery of his smoker. The power comes back on at 11 am just in time to cook. We had our meal, and the children went nuts with all of the presents they had to open.

My anxiety disorder had taken on enough stress to send me into a week-long episode of panic attacks. I am armed with plenty of coping skills, but the stack of stress threw the physiological response into overdrive! I was paralyzed with fear, tremors, dizziness, episodes of sweating followed by chills, an inability to concentrate or eat. Sleep was elusive.

My Dad has been sick, and I was not able to help him. That fact made me upset, and I feared that the situation was here to stay. My therapist was at the beach!!

I turned to the work that I had done in therapy. Once I was able to calm down enough to study, I found some answers. I know that I continue to struggle from the difficulties of my mental illness, but I also know that there has been an improvement in my coping skills through years of medication and therapy that will continue. I can find ways to function. I can improve my physical health. I can show up for my family. I can use my abilities to be a leader to help others in my community, and 2019 will be a Happy New Year! May you find serenity as well. I offer my support to you, and there may be an insight that I can throw your way to help you with your struggles. I offer those insights to you and hope that we can look to each other as a community who CAN overcome. Peace be with you.

Published by: Beverly Hughes

My journey through depression and anxiety has been a long fought battle. I have a Masters Degree in Counseling, but that only helped me to understand clinical language. I needed help and have learned so much about what I could do to help myself.

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