Living with PTSD ca make the holidays feel nightmarish. While the holidays are often stressful for everyone, surviving the holidays with PTSD can feel overwhelming. In fact, many people with PTSD dread the holidays because of how stressful they can be. You should know that it's possible to survive this holiday season though.
Surviving the holidays with PTSD starts with planning ahead. You should think through the activities you'll be participating in and how they might trigger your PTSD. Crowded places filled with lights and noise can be unpleasant. Knowing when you'll encounter these things ahead of time will help you enter the scene being prepared.
Another challenge for many people with PTSD are family gatherings. Just because they're your family doesn't mean they understand how this affects your life. Planning ahead will enable you to be prepared to answer uncomfortable questions. This doesn't mean that you may not still need to dodge some gatherings though.
You shouldn't feel pressured to be happy even though you're being bombarded with messages about joy, peace, thankfulness, and togetherness - all feelings that are difficult to experience when you have PTSD.
Though there's a lot of pressure to feel this way you're still free to feel what you're truly feeling. Surviving the holidays with PTSD doesn't mean you have to be happy or joyful just because it's expected. PTSD results in a lot of negative emotions and being honest about those emotions is important for symptom management.
Surviving the holidays with PTSD can be challenging but it isn't impossible. Taking the time to plan ahead so you're prepared for whatever triggers may occur will enable you to find ways to enjoy this holiday season, regardless of whatever else is going on.