Saturday, November 28, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Stress Syndrome (PTSS)

This weekend is chock full of emotion overload. Think about it. First is the day itself. Thanksgiving is representative of feelings of gratitude for all the gifts from God and for many, renewed associations with friends and family. A sense of reunion fills the air and good memories are often triggered. If that were not enough, we have the groaning board and more goodies than we can safely consume. The weather has not yet turned foul so our activities can be indoors, outdoors or both and not restricted. For many the day will close with sleepers on the couch and the TV blaring about the Broncos victory over NY. Others will ply the highways on their way home from Grandma’s.

In what has become almost an equivalent occasion (not to be confused with a holiday) the day following has been dubbed “Black Friday.” A classic struggle, with the home team being local and national retailers pitting their wit, ridiculous 5 am offers and buying power against divisions of shoppers armed with credit cards, shopping lists, and driving empty SUVs ready to be filled with booty from the stores. The prayer is always that the casualty count will be low. The result is the bellwether for the upcoming holiday sales total so vital to the bottom line.

Saturday then becomes the blessed “time-out” with some time to visit the turkey carcass in the refrigerator and also see if someone foolishly overlooked that last piece of pumpkin pie. With the spectacular bargains gobbled up by the dawn patrol shoppers, the lists are re-written and serious efforts made to find those difficult early gifts which must be shipped to far off relatives and friends. The dining room table, so recently covered with grand abundance of excess calories, has now been turned into a staging area for cards, stamps, envelopes, tape, and notes being readied for the mail man. The couch “riders” have turned to collegiate football to satisfy their gridiron fix for the day. The family dog remains stunned by the boon he has enjoyed from a continuing supply of left overs.

Sunday dawns as a welcome “day of rest.” Remaining visitors are invited to share in the morning religious activity before they have a snack and return to college, their homes, or their work release program. The keepers of the couch are now ready for the Sunday allowance of a dozen more NFL encounters. There is a sense of awareness that the work week is about to descend and the family dog is happy that no one will occupy his favorite sleeping place tonight.

Your long weekend was probably different in some ways but likely overlapped in some areas. Monday will be here soon enough and we can start the routine all over again. We can now dispense with “my how they’ve grown,” “are you feeling better now?” “did you hear about _______?” and “seriously, you are going back into re-hab?” We remain warmed by praise of the sweet potato pie, acknowledgment of how nice it is to be home, and remarks about what a good job you have done with the place. You may be torn over whether to enjoy the sudden peace and quiet or wish for the return of the pandemonium.

How you handle the next day or so will determine the overall affect that PTSS has had upon you. Chances are that if you are already getting ready, at least in the planning, for a repeat on the three day Christmas Holiday coming up, you have escaped unscathed. If not it is a safe bet that you are not now and never were ready for a family. Calling a therapist may be premature. Give it a few days, take a couple aspirin, and call then.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

1 comment:

Hack said...

Great post! You have an amazing way with words my friend. Hope you had a great holiday.