Christmas Eve has arrived! Anyone that knows me knows that I am mildly obsessed with holidays. For Halloween I dressed up two years in a row with my daughter. For Easter I wear bunny ears throughout the day and even get angry when children find more eggs than I do during an Easter egg hunt. At thirty two years of age I still get beyond excited for Christmas. The problem is when you get so excited about one day out of the year, you are bound to be somewhat disappointed when it does not go exactly as planned. Today was not the easiest day for me. It started out great! My one year old and I went for an awesome run searching for Santa’s in store front windows. Once we reached our five miles we stopped by Wa Wa to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and of course get this girl a coffee. I do have some vices left!! The people who work at our Wa Wa love my daughter so much that they let her run around the store and pick out snacks she wanted for free and then presented her with a stuffed animal. I was so touched by their kindness my eyes filled up with tears. Following an amazing morning things went a little downhill and I’ll admit I shed tears and they were not from happiness. I started feeling down about myself and my life and had myself a little pity party but knew this was not how I wanted to spend my Christmas Eve.
I started thinking about past Christmas Eves throughout my journey with chronic pain. At the time they seemed awesome. One of my good friends and I had a tradition that every Christmas Eve we would sneak alcohol into our local diner and put it in our coffee. We always ended up drunk and laughing and it appeared we had an amazing tradition. What she did not know was that each Christmas Eve when I arrived home from our fun time I would lie in bed and cry about chronic pain. The reason I wanted to drink on Christmas Eve was so that I would be sure to have a manageable day with chronic pain on Christmas Day. Most people will not understand this but I actually preferred to have a hangover than deal with chronic pain. Alcohol numbed the pain even the next day. I felt like crap but it beat how horrible my invisible illness was and people understood a hangover, they did not understand chronic pain. I have amazing memories of Christmas Eve and Christmas throughout my journey with chronic pain however most of them did involve alcohol and some tears.
Looking back on those days the past few Christmas Eves have been incredible in comparison. I do not drink on Christmas Eve unless you count juicing or coffee. I am more proud of myself and I have a beautiful daughter that we are now starting new traditions with. Every year on Christmas Eve my dad presents me with new pajamas to wear to sleep and to wear throughout our Christmas morning. This year that tradition was continued with my daughter. This picture was taken today in our new pajamas! I have so much to be grateful for even if I am dealing with struggles most people know nothing about. The greatest blessings are my family and my management of chronic pain. I do not drink to numb my chronic pain and do not have to wake up with a hangover tomorrow. I have come a long way but I’m still struggling. I believe that every year will get better. If I put my mind to that and believe that each year will improve it is bound to happen. I know the things I want to change and I have the will power to change them. Looking back in time this Christmas Eve may have not gone as planned but it sure as hell beats sitting in a diner getting drunk pretending to be happy only to go home and cry myself to sleep.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and an even better New Year. The power is within us. We have the power to change any situation we are faced with and if we cannot change the situation we do have to power how we react to them. If you are having a difficult holiday, keep your head up. Sometimes things are not as bad as they seem. And I know for a fact that if you are reading this, you are going to be okay.