Thoughts On Celebrating Anniversaries Of Negative Things

August 16, 2019

This year, I’ll be secretly observing an anniversary that was never meant for me.

I didn’t sleep well last night.

I woke up at 1.27am in a panicked sweat, scared and feeling unsafe.

This happens some nights – now, five years on, very rarely – but it’s always worse in August.

Last night, I didn’t go back to sleep until the sun was up and the repetitive sound of the early morning commuter traffic outside my bedroom window lulled me into a restless sleep.

Today, I’m dead tired. I’m a zombie shuffling about my day, because my brain isn’t here. It’s back in that room with him.

I’m operating on autopilot – click, mouse drag, “nice to e-meet you”, post, schedule, click – as my brain has lost all hope of keeping my trauma tucked away neatly today. I’m running on a few hours of PTSD-fuelled, nightmare-filled sleep, and honestly, I’m too scared to sleep again tonight.

Which will make tomorrow just that much harder.

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Anniversaries for negative things will always be difficult.

Of course, they will be.

Whether it’s the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or some other trauma, these days are reminders of a hard time, or a loss, or a change.

I keep fighting off intrusive thoughts that tell me I shouldn’t even make it a ‘thing’. Why notice it at all. Move on. Stop wallowing in self-pity.

Battling questions like “How much grief is appropriate to feel right now,” and “I just don’t want this to affect me like this anymore.”

But I can’t control that my body and mind remember, even when I consciously don’t,

This year is just harder than most. ‘Five’ seems more important, like a milestone that I should take note of.

So much changes in five years.

I’m a completely new person. My skin has regenerated countless times over since you last touched me – hell, saw me. I’ve grown higher, and stronger, and achieved a lot. I’m healing, but for the most part, I’m okay now.

You didn’t break me.

Who are you now? Does tomorrow mean anything for you? I can’t sleep each year from the nightmares, reliving the worst moment of my life over and over again until the sun sets and the next day comes and I am still here, strong and not broken and I remember I am not what you did to me. 

For you, I bet it’s just another day.


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One day, the 17th of August might just be another day to me as well; just a combination of numbers which mean nothing more than a date on the calendar. One day, I might wake up and realize the 17th has come and gone and I am okay. Nothing happened.

That isn’t this year, though.

This year, I’ll be secretly observing an anniversary that was never meant for me.

An anniversary of something I did not deserve and should not have happened.

But it did, and I can’t change it. All I can do is hope that it continues to get easier each year.

And it will.

Featured image via unsplash.com

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Join the discussion: How do you get through hard anniversaries? 

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