I feel like there should be a 12 Step Guide for Caregivers to get through (or get over) Thanksgiving and the quickly approaching Christmas. I go into them optimistic and full of hope. I think I have prepared and covered down on any potential problems. Then the shit hits the fan. Here are my 12 steps:
- We know we are powerless over PTSD episodes but we believe that they can be managed.
- We continue to believe there is a purpose for the journey; we just have to keep reminding ourselves.
- Planning every detail and anticipating problems is what we do, even if we don’t do it effectively enough.
- Making sure to include interests of our Warrior in holiday time should ensure that they remain relaxed and in a good frame of mind.
- We know it is likely to not work out the way we want it to.
- There is never enough time in the day to fix everything but we will try.
- Cross fingers, say prayers and try to mentally will the bad episodes away.
- Go in a room by ourselves, get mad, get up and go back out to try again.
- Try really hard not to take it personal.
- Always take it personal.
- Eat a doughnut. Or a cookie. Or both.
- Give up and hope tomorrow is better.
Can I get an amen?
Isn’t that how it is? It is for me. I start out with all great intentions. Road trip? Okay, I will drive half of the time. Snacks? Healthy nuts, fruit and water will keep the gluten monster at bay. Music? I will alternate between the tastes of everyone in the car.
What actually happens?
Traffic becomes unbearable for the Warrior. Crowded bridges and overpasses in large cities offer unending anxiety that accumulates until they explode. No matter the stress or issue for any other driver, it is their fault and their actions are purposeful. Healthy snacks yield to caffeine drinks and sugar that seems the easy fix temporarily. No thought is given to the result of them and a litany of profanity is available to the caregiver that tries to offer an opposing view. Don’t put on Christmas music because basically it just irritates them.
You just can’t win.
So what to you do make things easier? Is there such a thing? Often I feel like nothing progresses until there is an argument about it and then the Warrior hears. It is easier to convey a message in anger sometimes; I just don’t understand that part. I don’t like it. I don’t want it and it is distressful. For whatever reason, it seems to be a common theme in my house though. Right now I just keep repeating step 12. It will get easier I am sure.
Do you have any tips that can help a caregiver getting through holiday trips, trials and trauma? How do you keep from loosing your mind?