I can’t possibly be the only one who has a love hate relationship with the Holidays. This time used to be a full plate of anxiety with a bit of panic attack on the side. What did I do to help all this Holiday Heart Attack inducing joy? I moved over a thousand miles away from the both my and the in-laws family.
I don’t recommend this strategy to most people. And being honest, I didn’t really recommend it for me either. It just sort of happened and not having to deal with the Holiday’s is a side affect I can live with.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. I love spending time with my family (certain in-laws included). However, not having the holiday commotion has been good for me. I would love to go visit for at least one of the end of the year holiday’s but finances do not allow that.
You see, we moved to Florida and my family is in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. November and December are months where the weather cannot be predicted. Living in Florida for several years means that we have limited warm clothing for cooler days and no clothing for seriously cold weather. Simply put, we are not prepared for 30 degree all day weather anymore. Which means, not only would we have to afford the trip up there, we would have to buy the kids clothes so they don’t freeze. The expenses just keep adding up.
But, I digress as I always do. The Holidays are not a joyous occasion for everyone. Although I don’t have to worry about social interactions during these gatherings (because everyone knows I’m socially awkward and I don’t have to try to hide it), I still get anxious about the claustrophobic feeling I always get when I’m in a room with more than 3 people.
This anxiety means that I will get loud, no matter how hard I try not to. This anxiety means that I when my vocal volume is announced to everyone by someone who is annoyed by it that I will feel the need to justify my voice. This means that everyone will look at me like I’m crazy because I can’t just control my volume like a rational adult. Then the panic sets in. Once the panic sets in, I can’t control my emotions.
It’s a horrible circle of constant battling the demons in my head telling me that I shouldn’t be there. That I’m an annoyance to everyone. That everyone in the room wishes I wasn’t there because I’m so annoying. That my family desperately wanted me to make an excuse to not be there and they are secretly blaming themselves for actually inviting me. Once the demons start in my head, its pretty much all over. I have no choice but to remove myself from the situation so I don’t make an even bigger fool of myself by crying. I hate my demons and I hate that they make me cry like that.
I have tried so hard not to make these situation not be so bad. But there is nothing I can do. I’ve tried everything my therapist has counseled me to do, but nothing has worked. I know that a crowded room will mean my volume with increase for no reason. I know that when I’m told to hush, I will get defensive even though I don’t want to. I know I’ll make excuses when there are no excuses to be made. I can’t control my panic. I can’t control my anxiety. I become a monster of emotion that I have absolutely no control over. I hear my voice, but cannot control what I say. I become a puppet to the demons.
Sometimes, I hate myself.
But then I remember that I am with family. They do tolerate me. They really do want me to be there. They do love me. That love is the reason that I still show up to our yearly gatherings in the summer. That love is why I can somewhat overcome my demons and not run and hide when someone tells me I’m being too loud. That love is why I don’t hide for that entire week we are together, and only hide long enough to shut the demons out of my head and then go back to socializing again.
I miss holiday’s with my family every year and can’t wait until we can go up there for Thanksgiving and or Christmas again. The holiday’s don’t have to be a nightmare anymore. It wasn’t until I couldn’t go that I realized how much I loved going to them and how much my anxiety didn’t really control me.
If you feel this way during this season, know that you are not alone. You are in good company with this lunatic.
Happy Holiday’s, Ya’ll.