It's the time of year where we are all way to busy to be on the computer but then, I go on the computer to unwind before going to bed. Bob and I do not stay over night at anyone's home (which is wonderful because I love my own bed) so we will be home every night this week. I'm not sure if I will blog on Christmas day only because by the end of the day I can barely see straight. Then again, I usually have a hard time winding down after the big day. Afterall, this is the season of my greatest anxiety.
I just told Bob that it is about this time when I start wishing that Christmas was over and it was now Boxing Day.
What's funny about this is that Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year. There is something special on that day when you are surrounded by your family and playing board games (our family's game is Upwords right now) and knowing that the next day, nothing is open and all the world is staying in one place.
Okay, so that was my belief as a child and it wasn't far from the truth. There was no such thing as Boxing Day sales and stores were closed for two straight days. Two days where there was no escaping your family. Again, that was my childhood. Remember when stores were closed on Sunday? I really don't know how my parents coped without being able to shop on a Sunday or get money from a bank because it was closed.
As convenient as everything is today, I still come up with more things I wish the stores would do.
Surprise! Walmart in Canada is going to have a certain number of stores open on Christmas day. I'm not feeling great about this although I know we are a multi-cultural nation so there are many people who would think nothing of shopping on Christmas Day and feel that the stores being closed is an inconvenience. Then again, I know what happened when Sunday was no longer considered a day of rest. I'm not sure one could even get a job in retail if they told the employment manager that they would not work on Sundays.
At this point it is fair to call me a hypocrite because I am heartily glad that stores are open on Sunday and that I can run to the store if I forgot to pick up something for that special dinner. Then there is the fact that Bob and I are hobby shoppers and we would have to find a whole other thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.
Hmmm. To recap. Super anxious time of the year for me so I am eager to get past the next few days. I'm unsettled by the idea of working on Christmas Day even though I never would and Sunday shopping is apparently better than sliced bread for Bob and I.
Here we meander back to where I left off somewhere up above. Christmas Eve during the evening is one of my favourite times of the year and it is followed by the day I get the most anxious about. Is it me or is that one hell of a funny cosmic joke.
Christmas morning is always fun but as a teenager I had been obsessing about the day for about a month before it arrived. For the week prior I would eat very little believing that this would make me so hungry for Christmas dinner that there would be no way I would have a panic attack. Years later I discover that not eating slows down the metabolism so that a person would be less hungry. Again, funny as hell.
Now I know I can eat breakfast and try to eat it early because that tends to send my metabolism into overdrive and then I am hungry for most of the day. My anxiety, however, has nothing to do with being hungry and has to do with feeling like I am out of control and that at any moment I could ruin everyone's Christmas by not being able to eat the dinner prepared.
Hey, panic attacks follow very little logic.
So at about noon I start getting anxious and by three o'clock I am in true panic mode. Imagine the sound of electrical currents running through those massive wires in an energy plant. That low voltage hum that you hear that lets you know that something dangerous is in the immediate area. That's what I feel like for the last few hours before dinner. At this point I try to distract myself and will throw myself into helping get dinner on the table. When I was child I would go upstairs and pray that everyone would forget I was there and they would eat dinner without me. Either that or I would pray to black out and have to go to the hospital where the doctor would tell my parents that I should never be made to eat with anyone. Once I realized all this wasn't going to happen again for the upteenth year I would start praying 'Please, God, Please, God, Please, God..' over and over again in my head until I got past those first few bites and my panic eased off.
That was the hell of my youth.
Nowdays, I have these pills that are supposed to stop a panic attack in it's tracks. I haven't tested that theory because by the time I hear that low level hum I take one of these pills. Now, on Christmas day, it normally takes two of these pills to keep my brain from releasing all the wrong chemicals at all the wrong times.
You want to know how masochistic I can be. I will sit at the table just before the prayer and this is when my panic attacks used to destroy me. They would last until after I took my first few bites and I realized I could swallow. With the pills the panic doesn't come so last year I tried the thinking that normally causes the panic to attack and I couldn't get it to come. Too Cool!!
FYI: Cognitive Therapy teaches you to retrain your thought process because the obsessive thoughts are what leads up to the panic attack. So I was taught tools to stop that kind of thinking and I know how to keep a panic attack at bay without medication. Even though this is true, I can still get to that low hum stage in under a minute even with the positive thoughts so having the pills for back up, especially on Christmas Day is terrific.
I just wish I could remember that whenever I get myself worked up. Hey, I don't have to get worked up because this little pill will keep me from panicking.
I know there are people who are very anti-medication and all the power to them. For someone like me who suffered from panic attacks from the age of 10. For someone like me who faced panic attacks daily without backing down for over 15 years, these pills are a miracle. The fact is there are people who can defeat their anxiety by facing it down time and again. For some reason facing my panic everyday for 16 years never lessened it so I don't know whether I am my own worst enemy or there are differing degrees of panic. Whatever it is, I am grateful that someone took the time to find an aid for this. Someone out there believed their child, or friend or loved one when they told them what it was like and these people went about finding a way to help us. I will be forever grateful.
Ho-kay. Getting sappy here so I'll sign off.
I should probably start writing these during the day when I am up now. I seem to get sappy just before bed not to mention very sloppy in my writing. I promise to post something happy tomorrow if I have time.
Hey, I know! I am baking 2 apples pies from scratch tomorrow. Mmmm, pie.
Oh, questions for those who celebrate Christmas and want to share. In my family, gifts are only ever opened on Christmas day. Gifts from Santa were not wrapped and were waiting for us kids under the tree. My family was very strict on the opening thing and I like to stay to that as much as possible but Bob gets so excited that we end up opening our stockings the night before. These are wrapped, unlike when I was a kid because Santa filled our stockings.
What are the 'rules' that you followed as a child and do they differ now that you are an adult with your own child? Just curious ;)