PTSD Spirituality: Safety Tip #2, Holidays

PTSD is always its own special adventure.  Even at the best of times it can be a challenging journey to live with the PTSD soul wound.  Some times of the year are worse than others.  There are times when we become more vulnerable to triggers and our symptoms may be amplified.  For many of us, we discover that the cluster of holidays from November to early January can be especially daunting.

In 2011, I wrote a PTSD Spirituality essay called, “Holidays and the 18% PTSD Danger Zone.”  It was generally well received and remains applicable.  So I will return to some of my earlier writing and bring this essay to your attention. 

The essay is a bit long for a blog, or so I have been told, so you may want to pack a lunch and a change of socks if you decide to click through and read it.

Information about how PTSD affects us and attempts to isolate us can empower us to not be destroyed by our PTSD. 

Don’t let the “Holiday Season” force you into unhealthy situations.  Some people will want us to drink more, spend more money (that is, incur more credit card debt), get less rest, and generally render ourselves more vulnerable to the array of our PTSD triggers. 

Allow yourself to say “No, Thank You,” if you would rather not expose yourself to some particular PTSD risk that the holiday season dangles before us.

We need not refuse every single event we may be invited to, just as we are not required to attend them all either. 

The holidays, while risky for PTSD sufferers, can also be a time of rest, restoration, and meaningful reflection.  A well-considered middle-path can actually help us to further realize we have value and that we are made from God’s love.  This self-worth and grace can enable us to heal that much more.

Semper Pax, Dr. Z


  1. My response to the invitations I don’t want to accept because it will trigger me too much is “Thank you for your thoughtfulness (for caring about me, for the invitation). I appreciate knowing you’d like to have me there (or that you’d like to be with me). I need to take care of myself though so I won’t be attending. I hope you have good time (a great night, a fun time, etc). I’ll be thinking of you.”
    The focus on appreciating the person extending the invitation is sincere, and it deflects the focus on me, my “issues” or reluctance to participate.
    Thanks for reinforcing that No is OK!

    • Patricia D. says:

      I like your comment, “The focus on appreciating the person extending the invitation is sincere …” it is like thanking someone for a gift. In this case it is something you can’t accept but appreciate their thoughtfulness. I have never thought of it that way. Thanks for the insight.

      All the best,
      Patricia D.

Leave a Reply