The Pain of Christmas Past

I have so much more I want to write than what I’m about to share with you.

I want to tell you about my adrenaline addiction and how it especially bites at painful times of the year – like Christmas – and how I’m becoming more aware than ever that I use on work and stress to avoid my emotions, emotions that are particularly strong right now because my dear mum is slipping away.

I want to tell you that last night, after finally putting down my work, far later than planned (and here I am again!), I was hit by such an avalanche of emotion, of grief and of pain, and a barrage of memories from previous Christmases.

Memories of loneliness.

Memories of being frightened.

Memories of drinking so much alcohol and eating so much sugar to avoid my feelings that my skin came out in a rash and I vomited everything up.

Memories of shame, like the time I was thrown out of a backpackers’ hostel in Queenstown, New Zealand, on Christmas Day, for having a man in my bed the night before. Yes, in a female dorm.

But it’s Christmas Eve and the sun is shining and I need to go swimming in the sea and then go hiking with my husband.

So instead, I’m going to share with you something I prepared earlier, something I sent to my mailing list yesterday.

If you’re on my mailing list and have already read it, I wish you a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays. If not, read on …

Emotions in turmoil.

Tears just beneath the surface.

Feeling overwhelmed.

Feeling isolated and alone.

Feeling sad because your circumstances haven’t changed from one year to the next and your life is so far off the plan that you’ve almost forgotten what the plan looked like.

If you can relate to any of the above, dear reader, please know that you are not alone.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, this time of year is triggering.

It pushes our buttons.

If we’re in a good place, we can give thanks for all that we have and enjoy this festive season. And I truly hope you find yourself in a good place.

But I know from speaking to many of my friends and coaching clients – the majority of whom are single without children and with hopes and dreams that haven’t come to pass (yet) – that this time of year can shine a spotlight on the things that are missing – the partners, the children, the communities, the sense of belonging and the people who are no longer with us.

On top of that, this year we have Covid with all its restrictions.

For me, Christmas is one of those times when I’m prone to ask, ‘Is this family of two that I’ve created enough?’

The volume on that question is turned up this Christmas as my mum slips away, suffering with dementia and growing thinner by the day.

In fact, a week or so ago, my emotions floored me.

I connected to the sadness.

I connected to the grief.

I connected to the loss of the hope that my mum, or any other parent figure, would meet my unmet childhood needs.

And I (once again – as this awareness comes in layers) faced the stark reality that there was only one thing for it: I would have to meet my needs myself.

I cried a lot. But I’m pleased to say the feelings passed and my joy returned (mostly – I’m sure there’ll be more wobbles). New edit: I had another major wobble last night.

Which is my message to you today:

This too shall pass.

If you’re feeling down, trust that you will feel better. If you’re feeling hopeless, know that hope will return.

And in the meantime, show yourself so much love, compassion, gentleness and acceptance. Give thanks for all that you are and all that you have done in this difficult year.

And do lots of lovely things for yourself, no matter how small. Tiny acts of kindness, for yourself, and if you have the energy, for those around you too.

Rest, relax, restore and recover.

And remember that you are enough and that you have done enough.

I will remember it too: I am enough and I have done enough.

Sending you love and season’s greetings. See you on the other side.

Katherine x

Resources to help you through

Hand on heart meditation – This is the meditation I share on my How to Fall in Love courses. I’ve uploaded the video to YouTube so that you can use it whenever you feel the need (ideally every day!).

My book – How to Fall in Love

Self-paced courses to help you to reconnect to yourself, lay your foundations for a healthy relationship and date with courage, clarity and confidence. Use the code compassion for 10 percent off all my self-paced courses.

Explore my group How to Fall in Love courses (starting again in early 2021).

About Katherine Baldwin

I am a writer, coach, midlife mentor, motivational speaker and the author of How to Fall in Love - A 10-Step Journey to the Heart. I specialise in coaching women and men to have healthy relationships with themselves so that they can form healthy and loving romantic relationships and lead authentic, fulfilling lives. I coach 1:1, lead workshops and host retreats.
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2 Responses to The Pain of Christmas Past

  1. Fiona R says:

    Another great post, it really resonates with me, thank you very much x

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