Self-Harm and Difficult Holiday Adjustments

December 1, 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham

Now that the Thanksgiving and Black Friday madness have come to an end, the post-feast blues have probably started to sink in. You may feel groggy and uncomfortable from binge eating on Thanksgiving and your mind may be overwhelmed with the amount of shopping you still need to do. On top of that, aspects of your day-to-day life that didn’t affect you before, may have now become stressors just because it is the holiday season – icy roads, overplayed Christmas carols and a rise in the heat bill to name a few. If you weren’t anxious before, the statements above may have triggered it.

Not only can the holiday season bring forward unwanted anxieties regarding money and overeating, it tends to be a family-driven time and, unfortunately, family can be a trigger for many self-harmers. Deciding how to spend the holidays can go from being a simple decision to thinking the assistance of a sharp, self-injuring object will help (which it will not).

Changing Holiday Traditions is Not an Easy Adjustment

The first Christmas after my parents got divorced was one of the most uncomfortable holidays I can remember (and I have a good memory). We had decided to keep the traditions the family had created over the years and make both parents present. Christmas stayed that way for the next couple of years and I remember self-harming and cutting my skin each one of those Christmases. I hated having my parents in the same house together, letAdjusting to changes in holiday tradition and other stressors may lead to self-harm. Learn about how you can use your inner-strength to avoid self-injury. alone acting as if we were still the “perfect family.” As painful as it was, because my sister and I were stuck in our ways, we had decided to keep the traditions going for as long as we could.

Over the last 10 years, things have changed a little – celebrating holidays with separate parents at separate locations being one of them. However, this year change came knocking at our door. We sold the childhood house I’ve lived in since third grade and we now will have to adjust our Christmas plans. Even more recently, I did not celebrate Thanksgiving with the family I have always celebrated it with for the last 26 years.

I hadn’t expected the change in Thanksgiving plans to hit me as hard as it did. Not all of the family was going to be there due to illnesses, new families and intervening jobs. However, it was hard having to step out of what I was used to and adjust when I hadn’t been expecting it.

Self-Harm Doesn’t Make Change Go Away

Had I had to deal with any more change on top of the divorce 10 years ago, I can’t imagine how I would have handled it. Had I had to deal with the house being sold, traditions being broken and plans being unexpectedly rearranged, self-harm would have taken over my holidays more than it had once upon a time.

Luckily, for the past six years I have been able to push aside the holiday stressors that once would have made me turn to self-harm. I have come to realize that harming your skin does not make change stop and, if anything, it makes it worse. As you grow up, you must learn to adapt and adjust as new plans are thrown at you.

Life wasn’t made to get easier – we were made to get stronger and that strength is inside every one of us just waiting to be found.

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APA Reference
Aline, J. (2014, December 1). Self-Harm and Difficult Holiday Adjustments, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 7 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

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