Past Holiday Memories May Trigger Self-Harm
The holiday season can bring forward many positive and negative memories. You may laugh over childhood traditions and remember certain gifts you were given and gifts you gave. Certain holiday songs may spark flashbacks of good times, but some can also bring you back to unsafe, self-harm moments. Even the taste of a holiday sugar cookie can bring forward memories, and even though many holiday memories are positive ones, there are always going to be some negative.
Like I’ve stated in a recent article about finding focus during the holidays, the winter can bring forward just as much stress as holiday cheer. Between budgeting and baking, you may find yourself surrounded with unwanted anxiety, which can bring forward many emotions and memories. Some people who self-harm remember specific reasons why past holidays made them turn to self-harm as an answer: family stressors, an overwhelming amount of school/work, “winter blues”, eating too much or not having enough money are only a few possibilities.
Being that everyone is unique, each battle with self-harm is different and not everyone feels triggered by the same things. However, it seems as if almost everyone is able to remember certain moments from past holidays when they felt either overwhelmingly happy, extremely low or even depressed. Those memories can, at times, overpower the hope for making new, positive memories during the current holiday season.
It is very important to focus on making good memories now and having those overpower the negative ones from the past.
Learn From the Past and Enjoy the Present
Not only has the present holiday season stressed me out due to changes here and there, my brother’s birthday is also smack in the middle of it. Every year it is tough knowing my brother will not be with us for another Christmas (or his birthday) and even after six years, it does not get any easier.
I remember during past holidays when I had turned to self-harm and later that evening, after spending time with my brother, regretted my decision. His confident, carefree presence always made me feel more at ease and after he passed away, Christmas time grew more difficult when it came to conquering the urge to self-harm. Fortunately, and unfortunately, his passing was one of the triggers I needed to stop cutting and start living.
However, that didn’t make the flashbacks and memories any easier to swallow.
It can be tough pushing aside memories that trigger certain negative emotions – especially if those memories include a loved one. You must find ways to embrace past holiday moments and create new ones that will be looked at as positive after time passes. Through the stress, it is possible, and necessary, to spend time with people who make you feel loved – even after the snow melts.
Aline, J. (2014, December 16). Past Holiday Memories May Trigger Self-Harm, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2014/12/past-holiday-memories-may-trigger-self-harm