Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Holidays

holidaysHolidays: “…would think that holidays would bring a reprieve from the suffering.”

The common initial point of reference for most injured workers is that their recovery will be time limited, that they will return to their pre-morbid job and that life will go on. This, indeed, is the most frequent outcome.

and/or an employer who would prefer they not return with limitations he cannot accommodate. There are multiple reasons why the holidays bring pain to many. Two are related to the “celebration” of anniversaries.

We are a celebratory specifies. We measure birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions and “how long it has been since I was injured.” “We note our place with book markers to measure what we’ve lost” (Simon and Garfunkel).

With the first annual anniversary of the physical trauma comes the patient’s realization that s/he was not prepared for a calendar year to pass without recovery. The impending holidays foster a sense of alarm and futility in which the patient has neither the financial means nor the energy to invest in festive events.

The retail-driven imperative is a painful affront to those who cannot participate in the festivities. This in turn distances him/her from family and friends. In the run-up to the holidays, physical complaints and agitation are often observed. The agitation is a predictable response to lack of resources, emotionally and physically, to share in the celebration of the holidays.

The increased physical complaints can be a conscious means of justifying that inability and/or it can be an emotionally driven increase in pain due to shame, guilt and remorse.

American Board of Professional Psychology

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