The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.


At the lake on a very warm January morning, with my son Colin.

I’ll be honest, Christmas is tough for me. I have a hard time with the crowds and the noise they make. Even with my ear buds screwed firmly into my head and the volume on my iPod up as high as it can go, the situation gets to me and it starts to feel like my face and scalp are trying to pull themselves off of my skull.

That’s the joy of my particular brand of PTSD, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

So imagine how I felt when I went into Costco in August and found Christmas trees and light displays. I mean we’re talking pre thanksgiving (both of them), Halloween and Remembrance day (which to my mind was more than a little disrespectful). Deep deep down, I knew this year was going to be a really long haul to make it through.

You would think that I’d have developed coping mechanisms by now. After all, the Holiday Season is a yearly thing. For the most part I have but in recent years it’s been a race of a pound of defense against twenty pounds of offense. Even bunkering down and trying to stay put only works so much. It’s impossible to barricade yourself in your house for a month and a half and not come across as more than a little nuts. Not that I can manage that on even a daily basis but you get what I’m saying. So you take a few deep breaths and venture out.

Of course, there is an upside. This condition of mine really knocks the commercialism out of everything. I really do prefer to focus on the things we do as a family. The meals we cook, the baking (my wife and daughter – for some reason baking eludes me as a cook) and the friends we visit or have visit. Back in BC, Boxing Day was always an open house for us and would almost always end in a house full of family, friends, food and live music. It’s a little bit tougher to manage out here in Mississauga and Rockband, doesn’t quite cut it in the music department.

Anyway, Black Friday is officially behind us, now the season kicks off in earnest. So do I have a Christmas wish? Yes I do. My wish is that people focus on what they have not what they want. Because happiness lies with the former and not the latter.


You can purchase my thrillers Devil’s Gambit and Reliance thru Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

3 thoughts on “A Certain Tightness Around the Eyes

  1. I did Walmart today. I have similar symptoms of P.T.S.D, however, I feel like I am physically having a heart attack and need to vomit the entire time. Why did I choose a Saturday. NOT SURE!. But I wound up there, non the less just to save a few bucks After a grueling 30 minutes I left, not having found any of the three items I needed. All I can say it thank the lord for E-Bay and Amazon. I spent a few extra bucks on shipping and have to wait a week but I was able to get everything I need. Thanks for sharing Steve.


    1. sabot03196 says:

      Yep, I’m a huge fan of shopping online. It’s tough. There are times where it feels a lot more insane than others and the worse the crowds behave the more it exacerbates the symptoms.


  2. Vlad says:

    You are not missing anything by staying away from Christmas madness Steve. I don’t have PTSD, but I do have a deep disdain of lemmings-like, conditioned consumerist behavior. Acting worse than cattle in order to buy junk they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. I’ve seen people line up all night for bare necessities of life and crowds camping in front of stores that sell useless crap just make me sick.


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