Updated: Jun 21
Happy Thanksgiving! For some people, Thanksgiving is a time of getting together, eating too much food, watching football and parades, getting the best deals on holiday presents and more. It’s exciting, it means time off work, and they are counting down the days.
For people like me – people with anxiety disorders, people who have trouble leaving the house, people who over analyze everything they put in their mouth and are sure that everyone is watching them and judging what they eat, people who have just lost a loved one – or a long time ago lost a loved one – and are grieving their loss, living with the fact that nothing will ever feel the same. For people like me, Thanksgiving is less of a holiday and more of another challenge to get through the day.
I have been battling with a sinus infection for months, and we’ve had to leave my psych meds on high doses because I’m struggling to remain stable, so I am exhausted all the time. The thought of travelling two hours across the state, then playing with my niece and nephews, then eating a huge meal, then playing board games is absolutely overwhelming. Then there’s the fact that everything makes me cry. I get so worried that I will cry in front of my niece and nephews and that it will scare them.
Here's the thing, though. Thanksgiving is about family and being thankful. If I need to take a nap, my family will understand, and they will wake me up before anything important happens. If I start crying in front of my niece and nephews, they will learn that it’s okay to cry at every age. That we only have so much control over our emotions. Maybe it will even be an opportunity to talk to them about my illness and the ups and downs. Everyone will be eating, that’s why we make delicious food, so the only person paying attention to what I am eating is me, even though my brain is telling me otherwise.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take some homemade presents and books to give to my family, because that makes me feel good and is a great moment between me and the kids. I am going to pack items that comfort me, like my weighted stuffed animal, and my favorite sweatshirt. I am going to wear make-up and jewelry the whole time I’m there because when I feel good about how I look I worry a lot less. I am going to set up my meds for the week tomorrow so that I don’t have to worry about bringing all the bottles or running out of something when I am there, and the stores are all closed.
And I am going to bring a LOT of Diet Pepsi and Sparkling Water so that I don’t worry that there won’t be anything for me to drink when my sinuses and medicine makes me so thirsty. Most importantly, though, I am going to keep reminding myself that this is my family, and they love me and want to support me. Because of ECT I don’t remember a single Thanksgiving, so it’s all going to be new and, hopefully, exciting.
I hope that you have an amazing Thanksgiving. Remember, there is no perfect Thanksgiving, whatever you and your loved ones do will be just enough. I will be monitoring the Facebook group Wednesday and Thursday evening, so if you need a word of encouragement pop on.
I hope you make some great memories, and I can’t wait to talk to you next week!