February is the hardest month of the year for me. It's not because it's the month for Valentine's Day (though in the past, this was certainly a reason) but because for the past several years, I've had traumatic events happen during this month.
Sometimes when this month rolls around, I don't realize why I start to feel depressed and want to go into full-on hermit mode until I remember: this is February. It amazes me how trauma sticks with you, even years after the event has occurred.
Three events in particular contributed to February being the month of crap. The first, and probably the worst, was finding out my husband of 18 years was cheating on me. I do not want to relive the pain of those first few days. The second was the passing of my beloved grandmother. Though she'd been ill for some time and her death was not a surprise, it still hurt, especially considering her funeral angered me in that the pastor spent perhaps five minutes talking about my grandmother and the rest preaching (this particular denomination is known for doing this). To say I was upset is an understatement. And then the third was the passing of my beloved cat. She'd developed hypothyroidism, one thing led to another, and she had surgery for a feeding tube. She was so very sick, and she had a seizure and died in my arms.
Trauma, trauma, trauma. Therapy taught me it doesn't just disappear. It lingers in our memory, even changes our brain chemistry. When trauma anniversaries roll around, we may not remember them, but our bodies and our brains sure do.
So I've decided to practice radical self care this month. I've allowed myself to feel the way I feel. I haven't pushed myself to do things I don't feel like doing (though yeah, I do have to do day job stuff). I've been binge-watching British murder mysteries and not feeling one bit guilty about it.
I've still been writing on my novel and enjoying it - it's now become a habit to work on it nearly every evening.
So. February is the time for me to just "be."