Reactions to Holidays

 There is an entry on Samhain, or Halloween, on October 2, 2011.

I have a friend who calls them cultidays. And another friend calls them hellidays. I love it! That makes it impossible to confuse them with days that others in our society celebrate without torturing each other. Maybe there’s a family fight, but it’s nothing compared to what the cults do.

That’s not what I want to write about today, though. What is on my mind is how my reaction to cultidays has changed over time.

During the first few years after I remembered, waves of fear crushed me to the point that I could hardly breathe. My baseline then was fear and anxiety, so I didn’t always spot that something different was going on. It all blended in and made a big terrifying mess. It wasn’t until a few years had passed that I began to see that there were nuances and patterns.

I’ve been maintaining the ritual calendar posted at http://ra-info.org/for-and-by-survivors/ritual-dates-and-symbols/ since 1999, I believe. That helped me see that I felt especially bad the day before a cultiday. Later, I learned that my cult, like many Satanic groups, started the ritual the night before the actual day.  So the day before was filled with dread and the day itself brought a wave of relief because it was actually over with for another year.

Of course, being dissociative, I would forget to look at the calendar. If I did remember, I would promptly forget what I had read. I thought it was weird that I had spent so much time looking up phases of the moon and the dates of that year’s national holidays, typing it all up, proofing it, and still forgot.

For years I had a hard time a day or two before any major helliday and then felt a sigh of relief on the actual day. Recently, though, I find I start feeling bad a week or so before. Why? I do not know. Perhaps it is because I am more sensitive to gradations of anxiety and so can pick up on it. I would like to believe that. Another possible explanation is that I can imagine the future better — I can see a week ahead, not just a day ahead. Or perhaps the bad days came every week, rather than every six weeks. (I’d rather not have that be the explanation.)

The reason doesn’t much matter, though. Whatever it is, I have to deal with my reaction. Each year living through these hard days is different — not necessarily easier, but always different. At least it keeps me from getting bored.

That was fun, saying helliday and cultiday!

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3 thoughts on “Reactions to Holidays

  1. Hello Jeannie, I just found your site and find it very well put together. I live in Canada and struggle a great deal with holidays. We always feel so alone and so many triggers go off.

  2. I’m going to post a link to this site on my website, http://www.monarch-oz.tumblr.com/. I would like to state your site is excellent and what many of my readers are looking for.

    Thank you for this post. As we approach this ‘season of evil’ there are many people with inside worlds that seek comfort and help.

    This is one place they should go.

    *note about my site.* It is highly triggering to individuals. Please don’t visit it if you are not in a safe place. (Note from Jean: There are excellent illustrations, which are pretty much all graphic; the sheer number can be overwhelming.)

  3. Thanks Jeannie. It does seem to get a little bit easier after many years of recovery. One thing that helps me around holidays is I always have gingerale with me. I find it immensely soothing. It eases the constant stomach upset. Anything with ginger as a matter of fact.

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