The holidays seem to accentuate the things we don’t have or are lacking.
At least for me.
I am bringing all of this up and out this year, like another layer of that damn onion is getting shed.
We must feel to heal, and I feel like I’ve been feeling for the last 22 years that I haven’t taken a drink or a drug.
I am also a compulsive shopper. What that means is: how normal people can go into a store and get what they need and come back out without their heart racing and sweaty pits—I cannot.
I compare it to, say a gambler in a casino, an alcoholic in a bar, a food addict at an all-you-can-eat buffet, or a drug addict at the dealer’s house.
I am in recovery. I work with a financial counselor. I am much better than I used to be, but when I feel empty, the first thing I want to do is buy something. Clothes bring me comfort. Food brings me comfort too, but that’s another story.
When I feel the gaping hole of aloneness that is inherently mine to feel (it’s a pile of grief, unprocessed childhood trauma, and a feeling of being “the only one” who doesn’t have a family), it feels real. It can almost take me down. It almost makes me want to numb out and run to the nearest bar, or, for me, the mall.
I turn it around and begin to find empathy for others. Currently, I think of all the people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 this year. I think of all of the many people who have lost their livelihoods, businesses, and income.
I think of the people who can’t afford not only Christmas gifts, but the ability to put food on the table and gas in their vehicles.
I feel like it’s selfish of me to find joy when so many are suffering and struggling.
I think of the women who have lost babies to miscarriage. The women who are single mothers doing it all on their own, when in fact, I have a spouse.
I think of all of the women who so badly want children, but are unable to conceive, while I have two healthy children.
I think of the woman who may have parents and siblings but have never had a significant other to love and is feeling that same loneliness I describe. “Why not me,” she thinks.
I think of children in the foster care system and children being abused and neglected.
I always think I should be content. I have so much. But still, I struggle with the endless roll of “poor me” that perpetuates my misery.
I think it is important to feel our feelings. I do believe I’ve stuffed and ran for far too long.
I do need to make sure I am taking care of myself, especially at this time of the year, when I see holiday pictures of families all together, or mothers and daughters at the market together. When I see people getting together with family, I can’t help but feel jealous of what I never had.
I am working through childhood trauma in Adult Children of Alcoholics. It is bringing up a lot of feelings and emotions that I had repressed.
I know that grief is not linear and it is okay to grieve for my inner child and the childhood I missed out on. When I start feeling like I’ve come so far only to fall flat on my face again, it gets frustrating. Like, shouldn’t I be over this by now?
When I lost my mom, it was tragic. She was homeless and an alcoholic. I can’t help but feel sad.
I honestly feel like no one will ever understand me. It’s extremely rare to meet others without parents or siblings. I lost both parents in my 30s and feel sad that my son never had proper grandparents on my side. I feel sad that I never had proper parents. I feel sad when I see others with their families.
This year, even Christmas cards are too much for me to handle. I’m extremely sensitive and feeling everything.
Perhaps the pandemic and the feeling of “when will this be over” is creating more depth of emotion as I am picking up on others’ feelings collectively.
I made myself get up and go for a walk outside today even though the temp said it felt like 11 degrees. I bought healthy food at the store. I made food for my family. I watched church online. I Marco Polo’d a friend and vented. I read about processing trauma and how to nurture my inner child. I put my hand over my heart and breathed deeply, telling her she would be okay. We would be okay. I told her I know she was wounded and neglected, but that we will get through this together. I prayed. I surrendered, again. I released my fears and kept walking.
I started to feel a little better.
From what I’m learning, it gets easier every time. The key is to step into the feelings and not run or stuff.
I’ve got to believe there is freedom on the other side.