Friday, December 30, 2016

Holidays and Hospitals

Trapped in the death grip
of a mall Santa
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years . . . some mentally ill folks would rather skip these orgies of food, festivities and family. They're a sensory overload combined with forced family fun that can end in frantic family fighting. Panic attacks, depression, reminders of lost of loved ones and financial stress are just a few of the things that can make us want to run for the hills. Me? I love the holidays and try not to let the triggers catch up to me. I fail sometimes, but this year, in spite of the universe's efforts to the contrary, I had a fucking fabulous Christmas, though sprinkled with some serious family health scares.

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite ladies, a beloved aunt, became very ill with pneumonia. She wound up in the hospital in critical care for weeks. I hate the hospital. It reminds me of shitty days. Still, it was HER! I had to go, and did several times without freaking out. (Bravo, me) She got better with every visit and I loved getting to watch it happen. Christmas came to life around us and things were looking great. Come Christmas Day, I was ready. Everyone had a perfect present. I made amazing dip and cinnamon pastries. I received beautiful and thoughtful presents. Christmas was fanfuckingtastic.

A few days later, we heard that the same wonderful lady who was at home recovering was back in the hospital on the brink of death. She'd had what we thought was a heart attack, then another and another. It hit us all hard. I'm not going to reveal any identifying characteristics of this great lady because she's a private person, but let's just say she isn't old enough to go this way. It was finally time to freak out a little, have a cry and worry without distraction.

This right here is why a lot of people who are sensitive hate the holidays. It reminds them of moments like this. It reminds them of people they love who aren't there or of the shortcomings of those who are there. It might be because things are really starting to look up for My Brave Lady, but I refuse to hate the holidays still. She loves them. She enjoyed every second of them, in spite of her illnesses. I'm not sure how she feels about it now because she isn't awake yet, but I think she will continue to love Christmas. You have to take advantage of the dopamine rush of giving and receiving, the oxytocin boost that comes with hugs and the amazing smells. Hospitals can suck a fat one, but holidays are still my favorite.