For whatever reason, the holidays this year resonate with me more deeply. It feels like my life is moving as slow as the trains in the set my brother and I used to lay down on the ping pong table at Christmas when we were kids. The memory of those Christmas trains and the tiny toy village haunts me. Other memories flood my brain too. It would be easier if I didn't have a photographic memory of the events and conversations and details of my life and my recovery. Isn't there a drug in development to suppress painful memories?
My intent in writing this blog entry is to offer you some cheer: to open a heart-shaped box and give you the gift of understanding because certainly the holiday season is not easy even though it's supposed to be happy. This Thanksgiving as I rode in the car to my cousin's house I had a heightened sensitivity.
Lately I've also begun thinking of Grandpa. He was in a coma, hooked up to a respirator in the intensive care unit when I had my breakdown. He died while I was in the hospital and I didn't go to the funeral. Sometimes at night in my new apartment I feel cold as if I have goose bumps and wonder if his spirit is present. A friend suggested that my grandfather will always be with me and this love will carry me through.
One thing she said that warmed me: what I do is not unusual-there are other people with schizophrenia doing their own thing. Lately I muse on my defiant nature too: the rebel in me resists the stigma and speaks her mind in a public forum. So that's what I was grateful for this Thanksgiving: my God-given talents.
At the end of this blog entry, I'll provide a link to a holiday SharePost I wrote a couple years ago about ways to de-stress and beat the blues during this supposed-to-be joyous season. One thing I've decided is that I'm giving myself "the gift of January" to decompress from the last weeks of December. The concept I want to talk about is cocooning, which is different from hibernating or sitting on the couch. Cocooning is a conscious, self-imposed vacation time from the pressures of daily life. It's a time in your life when you take stock of where you've been and make a pit stop to rest and refuel, to recharge your batteries before moving ahead.
Recovery is not a race. We could get burnt-out doing solely workaday chores. So this holiday season I urge you to take time out to honor your limitations, to set limits on your social events if necessary, and to nurture your mind with positive memories of friends and family who are no longer in your life.
My friend who commented about Grandpa also told me something true: we all want people to remember us. To feel that our lives matter to other people. I understand how it is living with schizophrenia and I know that on an ordinary day it's hard so that on a holiday it could be infinitely more challenging. You are not alone. Feel free to write a SharePost as I and other community members will support you in what you're going through.
My wish list this year is considerably edited from the one I posted here in 2007: I want to get a table top easel so I can begin a painting hobby. One thing I wished for back then was universal health care, a dream that might in some form become a reality soon.
What's on your wish list?
May you find peace and happiness in the New Year.
Happy Holidays SharePost
Published On: December 04, 2009