Thursday, November 15, 2007

Turkey Day Meltdowns

Thanksgiving is easily my least favorite holiday for obvious reasons. It’s the one day of the year where the entire point is to eat as much food as you can in front of everyone you know. It’s a nightmare in real life.

Last year I tried to do 2 different dinners, only to wind up having a panic attack at my sister’s house and having to bail out before the food was even done being cooked.

I remember feeling so embarrassed and upset that day because I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. This was when I was just learning about anxiety and panic attacks and hadn’t quite nailed it all down yet.

Then to make matters worse, the next morning all the girls on my in-law side of the family had to do the early morning shopping. When they were starting to slow down and talk about going out to breakfast, suddenly I started to feel nauseous. Still not sure why I had the reaction I did but knowing it had to do with eating around others, I had to make them take me home before they went out to eat because I was going to throw up. So I managed to thoroughly embarrass myself on both sides of my family last year.

This year, I have already been invited to the morning shopping with a “Don’t worry, we won’t go out for breakfast so you won’t get sick” reassurance that only reminded me of the embarrassing memory and let me know that others hadn’t forgotten it either.

I decided that although I have a much better understanding now how to properly plan and prepare for the holiday, I am not going to throw myself into situations that are too much. Thanksgiving dinner is going to be hard enough without throwing in more dangerous triggers. I don’t feel bad about it because I am not avoiding it because I am afraid, but rather I want to have a good memorable Thanksgiving that I can use to draw strength from next year. So I will stick to the basics and work my way up.

Positive Affirmation Alert: There’s no need to push myself. I can take as small a step forward as I choose.

This Thanksgiving I want to keep things as simple as I can. My sister’s family is going to have dinner with my Aunt but I worry that it will be too small a group to where I will feel uncomfortable. But I don’t want my sister to feel bad if I don’t hang out with them. I don’t even know my in-laws plans yet. Personally I would just have my own turkey dinner if I could! But its more than food, it’s about being with your family.

So my plans for the horrible day are not yet confirmed. I am going to have to do some major prep work no matter where I end up spending the day. T minus 7 days to go.

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Anonymous said...

How about win-win? Anxiety is caused by lose-lose thinking. You could make Thanksgiving a day of acceptance.

The more you avoid reality, the higher your anxiety climbs. The more you deal with facts, the more relaxed you become.

Stop taking care of your family and enjoy them. Start taking care of yourself and relax into your own skin and power. You can enjoy Thanksgiving and be a good model for the whole family.

Nicole J. Butler said...

Much easier said than done.

Aimée said...

I appreciate the comments from doris and I hope to get there someday. I currently agree with nicole j. butler because its true. It sounds very easy but its really really hard. I am going to try my best to remind myself of the facts but at the same time, I know I can't be unprepared for a worst case scenario.

ShamWOW! said...

Prepare for the best (and the worst), and hope for the best!

Most of us are going to have to go through this. And most of us will probably have a better time of it than we had anticipated, with some rocky moments mixed in.

Hope you're doing well.


Anonymous said...

Holidays can be stressful even to non-panic attackers.

I hope you have a super panic-free Thanksgiving this year.

:) Bill

Anonymous said...

Doing what is best for you is, imho, best. We do have to push ourselves a bit, but we can't go over our threshold. Slow steady exposure, that is what helps, not situations that push us into panic attacks. Your plan sounds great to me.

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