Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the blessings we have around us. Suffering through a mental illness may not be something you're grateful for. In fact, it may be something that makes Thanksgiving a lot harder to sit down and appreciate.
I can only speak on behalf of those with suffering from anxiety, depression and eating disorders when I say that Thanksgiving dinner is overwhelming. From planning the day out to actually sitting down for dinner, Thanksgiving is mentally exhausting for those working on their mental health.
It's not because I want to cause a scene, it's because I'm worried the worst will happen. I'm afraid of the questions I'm going to be asked, the answers I will give, and the judgment that will be passed by the people I spend the holidays with.
I've been rehearsing lines in my head for when I'm asked about my future. I'm planning on how to divert any conversation about post-grad life so that I don't have to think about how I'm clueless about my post-grad path. I know I'm going to spend an excessive amount of time picking out what I'm going to wear so I can at least feel comfortable when I'm overwhelmed with questions and stares.
Just thinking about what Thanksgiving will bring makes my adrenaline spike.
I think where I'm finding comfort is in the fact that I'm not alone. I know that I'm not the only one with anxiety, depression and eating issues heading to the table on Thanksgiving.
If you're feeling unstable heading into the holiday, you are not alone.
If you're suffering through an eating disorder, you're going to get to dinner and be confused on to how to load your plate. You're going to worry if you should indulge. You're going to question if you're even hungry or forcing yourself to eat because you don't want anyone to stare.
You're also probably worried you're going to feel sick after eating such a rich meal. With all this is knowing there may be comments made about how little or how much you are eating.
I'm telling you, speak up.
You deserve to eat what you want to eat when you want to eat it and how much you want to eat. It won't be easy but you need to let the people who are supposed to "care" about you treat you better. Look out for others at the table too and stand up for them if they're being teased at dinner.
If you're anxious about Thanksgiving dinner, you need to breathe. You need to calm down before you get to dinner because going to a gathering anxious never really ends well. There's also no reason to overstimulate yourself before dinner starts.
Make sure you aren't avoiding your thoughts and feelings, and talk it out with someone. There may be some tears but going to someone close about what you're feeling may release some of the tension. Your anxiety is probably affecting how your whole Thanksgiving break is going, so make sure you're relaxing while you have to time off.
You deserve just as much as anyone else to enjoy the time off with your friends and family.
If you suffer through depression, you may not know why you're feeling overwhelmed about the holiday.
I feel that. You don't know why you can't stop crying. You're unsure why all you want to do is stay in the comfort of your home alone...even though you really don't want to be alone. Suffering through depression during the holidays is stressful and upsetting.
Remember that you deserve to celebrate just like everyone else. You deserve to dress up or dress down and feel comfortable around the people you're going to spend the holiday with.
You are wanted at Thanksgiving dinner.
Throughout the whole Thanksgiving holiday, you need to do what's best for you. Your mental health is more important than any holiday. Take the time to take care of yourself before heading to any outing. Because you deserve to have the best holiday you can, despite your mental illness.
Your mental illness does not define you anyday not even on the holidays.