Yesterday was the official start to the holidays. Many of us with a mental illness, loathe the holidays. We have to force ourselves to be social, which can be very difficult. Some of us feel automatically judged, because this is the time of year we gather around friends or family members that like to play “catch-up”. If we feel like we have not progressed in our life, we feel less human, and can be embarrassed or ashamed of our current living situation.
Sometimes we get that dreaded question posed to us “How are you doing?” or “How have you been?” We struggle with how to respond to that. Do we lie, and tell them what they want to hear? Or, do we go with honesty is the best policy?
I may have not covered all the things that many of us have to deal with, but I think it is safe to say, that the holidays suck for us. And I am about to blow your mind right now… It sucks for everyone. Everyone hates getting together for these reasons and more. I think we just feel like we are out in the wide open, naked, with everyone’s eyes on us.
This year I hosted Thanksgiving at my home. I do most years. Usually it is a small gathering; my family and my parents. But I still feel the stress. I still feel the awkwardness of conversation. I still panic. Except this year.
This year, I let all of that crap go. I just was. I just took everything as it came. And it was so relaxing.
Here are some tips for the upcoming holiday craziness:
1. BREATHE! If you are head to head with some difficulties, step back and breathe. In and out. Slow and paced. In with the good, out with the bad.
2. It’s only temporary. Just remember, this too shall pass. If you tackle your feelings head on, things will go much smoother.
3. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!
4. It’s ok to say no. If you are seriously in a funk, and really can’t be social, it is ok to say NO. It is ok to say you can’t make an event or gathering. Seriously weigh your options though. It is ok to limit yourself time as well. If you can’t really decide what to do, it is ok to pop in for 30 minutes (Or whatever time you think you can handle) and then take off.
5. Stay medicated! Now is NOT a good time to go off your meds. Even if you are feeling awesome right now, remember, this is a stressful time of year, and stress is a major trigger for many of us.
I know I haven’t covered everything. But I think I have covered the basics. I wish you all a stress free holiday season.