I think it is safe to assume that this time of year is full of memories for everyone. Every year we gather together, reminisce about delicious dinners of the past, funny stories and loved ones gone too soon. I’ll be really honest and admit, I haven’t always given Thanksgiving a lot of thought past what I was going to prepare for dinner, contribute to at family gatherings or what I’d wear. Yes, I would occasionally participate in the 30 days of gratitude challenges on social media. Some years I had extra to be thankful for and would say a few extra big thanks to God for my blessings. All in all though, Thanksgiving has always been low on the totem poll for emotional investment on my part.
This year is different. I’ve been less focused on what to wear and what to cook and much, much more reminiscent about where I was this time last year, what my life looked like then and how much it has changed since. This time last year, Gray was still in the NICU and unable to be with us on Thanksgiving. Finn and I were still separated and not on the best terms. It was an awkward holiday that made it hard to see the blessings in my life outside my beautiful children and supportive families. Oddly enough, this year I have so much to be thankful for and I have spent a lot of this year counting my blessings. The pandemic has affected so many around me and at large across the nation and yet I have been able to flourish in a new job, stay financially secure, file for divorce and regain a valuable friendship with Finn, watch my amazing children grow, conquer my PPD, open up to the idea of dating again and grow in my relationship with God.
Still though, I have found myself fighting off bouts of anxiety as the holiday has crept closer and closer. Occasionally I will feel my chest tighten and my mind get cloudy. It is a feeling I haven’t felt since before we filed for divorce and the presence of this anxiety makes me anxious (yes, anxiety over your anxiety is a thing!). I didn’t expect to feel this way, especially because Thanksgiving is my holiday with the kids this year. I was expecting to feel relieved that I wasn’t hosting, happy to have my kids with me (especially since it will be Gray’s first Thanksgiving with the family) and at peace knowing that there wouldn’t be any underlying issues distracting from the holiday. Anxiety wasn’t something I anticipated. I’d like to write that I’ve found a way to cope but the whole point of this blog is to be honest and open – I haven’t figured out how to tackle the anxiety yet.
This year I am spending Thanksgiving Day with the G-fam since my family won’t be celebrating until the weekend and I want my kids to be with family on the holiday. I’m sure when the day finally arrives there will be plenty of fun, laughter, family and food to keep me happy and my chest relaxed – but for now I’m just trying to remind myself to breathe, say a prayer when it gets to be too much and give myself some grace because even though I have come a long way this year, I can’t expect myself to be perfect (ever) and it is okay to feel not okay sometimes.
If you are struggling this holiday season, give yourself some grace. It is okay not to be okay all the time. If you find the weight of the world to be unbearable, I encourage you to reach out for support. Whether it be through friends or family or through one of the resources on this page, don’t ever feel like you’re in this fight alone. You are stronger than you know and you can do this! 😊