2 comments on “Trauma, PTSD, and Coping over the Holidays

  1. Wow, excellent advice Amy! I don’t suffer from PTSD, but I REALLY hate malls, with a PASSION! My kids laugh about it, but absolutely NOTHING could inspire me to go to a mall during the holidays. I much prefer online shopping, or a quick trip to the nearest Target, where I can get in and out quickly.

    • Crowds are hard for me for more than one reason. I don’t like not knowing who is around me, and being hard-of-hearing (HoH) makes it even more difficult for me. Knowing that someone could come up behind me and I don’t know they are there is not a happy place for me to be. My ex used to ambush me from behind, taking advantage of the fact that I am HoH and didn’t know he was there. It made it hard to protect myself, and I definitely did not feel safe. It’s also not cool to be in a mass of people and not be able to have easy access to an exit if I feel overwhelmed and feel the need to leave. There are situations where I can’t avoid crowds. So if I am going somewhere public where a lot of people are moving about, I try to use the off-period hours to minimize my exposure to them. If I’m going somewhere where there is a crowd but they are seated, I look for perimeter seating near an exit. That way I don’t have to fight my way through rows of people in the middle of a panic attack and I don’t have to search for a way out, I just know I can get up and out if necessary.

      I never minded being in crowds before my ex, even with my hearing impairment. I just positioned myself or went during times that made it easier without even really thinking about it. In that sense, having the hearing impairment helped prepare me to find ways to cope with PTSD in situations I can’t escape or avoid crowds. The worst trigger in public for me is to feel boxed in.

      The thing about shopping during holidays is there are so many people out who are willing to be pushy and rude to get what they need. When this happens in crowds, it’s really an annoying, unsafe, and volatile place to be. It’s best to just go with what makes you feel comfortable, even if you don’t have PTSD. I completely understand your feeling about it, and now that I have this PTSD thing to navigate, I completely support your choice 🙂

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