Why? Because the holidays … holi-daze … emphasis on “daze,“ are upon us again! We are back in what I call the “18% PTSD Danger Zone” that stems from around Veterans Day through Epiphany next January. It is a time period when PTSD triggers are gruesomely prevalent and we are at even greater risk of alienation, isolation, and self-harm.
If you want to skip the blather below about how I managed to lose a fight with an escalator, then click this 18% PTSD Danger Zone link and check out the essay on how to survive this year’s holiday trigger-fest.
Escalator: 1, Dr. Z: Zero
I meant to post this just before 11 November, Veterans Day. But, the USA had a meaningful moment on 8 November and I have been sleeping even less well since then … Lucky Me! … Lucky You!
So, I am catching up with things and posting this a bit late. Plus, I had a hard fall last week.
Seems my shoelace got unknowingly caught in an escalator I was riding. I hit the floor rather hard and while nothing was broken, I couldn’t get up by myself and flopped around a bit as the escalator tried to eat my shoe.
Fortuitously, some nurses were in the area and rescued me. They made sure I was okay and I went along my merry be-bopping way … be bop bop … be bop!
Two things followed that escalator fall:
The first thing was a lot of extra pain due to the physical problems I already have getting magnified by hitting the floor. I lost a few days while I got to be the lucky recipient of extra physical pain on top of my usual dosage of ongoing pain … because if it wasn’t continuous, then it wouldn’t be chronic pain, would it?! (Some of you get that and others are now hitting the cancel subscription button … Yikes!)
So I did little writing and I moaned a lot … moo, moo, er, moan, moan!
The second thing was about fifteen minutes after I was rescued and off on my own: I started quietly weeping.
The tears were not just due to the enhanced opportunity to experience physical pain.
Mostly, the tears came because I was once again reminded about my immense physical vulnerability combined with PTSD triggering.
Physical pain can trigger our PTSD. An accident can trigger our PTSD.
Even if the pain and the accident may or may not be related to our initial traumatic experiences … they can still trigger us.
I felt frail, vulnerable, re-traumatized, and I wept.
So, I am delayed in getting this “how to survive the holidays” reminder written and posted. Better late than never, I suppose.
Back on Topic (Whew!)
A few years back I wrote a lengthy essay on understanding and surviving the holiday 18% PTSD Danger Zone. I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback on it over time. So, I am leaving you with a link on coping and surviving the upcoming, already ongoing, holiday stress. It is kind of lengthy, even for me, so you should pack two pairs of dry socks and carry a flashlight with good batteries.
Meanwhile, we are now in the “Danger Zone” so watch yourself amongst all of this holiday flim-flam and its desire to make you spend more money than you have.
Keep your head down and be careful you don’t get silhouetted!
Last, but Not Least
If you read the Danger Zone essay or not, remember, it is your choice how involved you get with holiday activities.
Your obligation is to make sure you get through the holidays okay with no self-harm.
You are not obligated to meet other people’s social expectations that trigger you.
And, as always: You Have Value.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z