Christmas Nightmares — PTSD and Seasonal Affective Disorder

I’ve been quiet a lot this month, and I’m sorry to anyone who has missed me, or worried. I just have a hard time being 100% myself in the winter, and my energy all goes to my kids and Jenny, because they are most important. Happy Christmas to you all, by the way. I know it’s late, but what the hell.

The nightmares have been the hardest part. Constant, vivid, terrifying dreams of my brothers becoming ill, and trying to care for them as they wantonly spread infectious diseases. In the dreams, they aren’t the young adults I know. They are the small children I lived with, and cared for, for so many years. Children. Sick, tired, enjoying life as much as they can without parents to guide them.

I also dream of Jenny and our two wonderful kids, hurt, tired, confused, and looking for answers I can’t give them. Our daughter in college, desperate for guidance. Our son leaving home for the first time, unable to see that he’s still welcome in our home. Jenny, terrified of losing her close relationship with her adult children. Me being unable to help, frozen like Han Solo in carbonite, watching, unable to speak or act.

None of these dreams are true. They are lies created by the depression and tiredness that come with the Christmas season. My brothers grew into healthy adults. My children are safe, and will always know the love of their parents (all of us, I’m sure).

Split families can be hard. Christmas in two homes, parents who aren’t together any longer, trying to belong in two worlds simultaneously. I know, too well, the burden of a child trying to make sure that both parents know they are loved. It’s a challenge children shouldn’t have to face, a burden they shouldn’t have to carry. But parents are humans, too. It’s hard for everyone, and that’s okay.

I had a good Christmas. A simple affair with Jenny and the kids, then the kids we able to spend the night with their father, and spend the Christmas weekend with him.  It’s magic, you see. A miracle that our children are loved by so many. It’s a blessing I didn’t have as a child, and I can’t be happier for them.

My nightmares can sit on a stick. They can stay in the dark of the night, washed away by a mug of morning tea. The darkness passes, and now the days will get longer again. Winter may be in full swing, but the sun is shining a few moments longer today than it did yesterday. The days will only get longer as summer comes.

My depression is a nasty bitch. It’s hard to do everything, but it’s harder to do nothing, so I cling to that. I woke up this morning to a wonderful wife, in a warm bed, with a beautiful view of the desert highlands. I came upstairs to find emails, comments, tweets, and pokes, all wishing me a happy season. Point taken, world. I’m off to make something of my day. I hope you do the same.

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