Many among us have struggled with the cloud of sadness that may surround the holidays when a friend or family has experienced a tragedy such as a sudden violent death or a serious physical or emotional injury. The onslaught of holiday cheer may seem too much to bear. Holidays may give rise to new or returning bouts of depression, panic attacks, and other forms of anxiety for those whose lives have been affected. Victims of crime, family members, friends, and work colleagues may re-experience life-changing traumas through flashbacks, nightmares, and overwhelming sadness. Some have trouble sleeping, while others don’t want to get out of bed. Tears may come easily, often when least expected. Old ailments, including headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and other aches and pains may return.
Many victims and families, however, have found that holidays can be manageable if they take charge of the season, rather than letting it take charge of them.
Families who have made this difficult journey offer some suggestions to help those who may be just starting down this path.