Thanksgiving Eve

By November 23, 2016Blog

Okay, now I can breath – the turkey is in my fridge, thawing, and I have all the ingredients for pies. A list of Who Is Coming To Dinner is complete, cooking chores have been handed out. And who is going to clean up? Not sure.

I remember when I was a girl we were forced to take a family walk after Thanksgiving dinner… sheer horror considering that turkey has a soporific effect making us all tired after we stuff ourselves with it; this makes clean up a problem. And I won’t be hosting this gathering, just transporting food, I hope.

There are so many aspects to Thanksgiving. I love the family part but there are some people I don’t really socialize with, or particularly like, except on holidays. And the Native American aspect; they hosted our ancestors on the very first Thanksgiving but were later slaughtered, a very dark stain of treachery on this day; I have a hard time with that one. And knowing that so many of us won’t have a dinner to come to or even a family to take us in. This aspect cuts my heart.

Being mentally ill defines my holidays. I know that could sound a bit self-centered but it’s true. Or perhaps instead of being negative I could say that mental health defines my holidays. I received an invitation to a night of music at a local bar this morning that read: Music 8pm to 10pm, then the name of the bar, then drinks half-price at 7pm. Well, my son Calen was here when I got the invite and I told him, “My goodness, I thought about this for one second then realized that first of all I don’t drink anymore and secondly I take my meds at 8pm then finally I go to bed at 10pm.” But I did have a few seconds of regret, of feeling rebellious and wanting to not live with bipolar 1 disorder. Damn!!! But the moment passed, because it had to, and I realized I’d so much rather spend my evenings with my 4 dogs than be at a bar.

How does Thanksgiving fit into this scenario? Thanksgiving is the beginning of ‘the holiday season’, right? And what does that mean? For me that means making choices that don’t push my routine out of the picture. Sometimes I can push the envelope and stay healthy, other times I can’t. I have to be sensitive to what others are asking of me. I have to live with my particular envelope – mental illness. It gives me great comfort to know that I’m not alone. I don’t know if I could stick to my routine if I was alone with my mental illness; none of us are, even if we feel isolated at times. We can get through the next few months staying healthy. Please indulge in reading the BC2M website if you do feel alone. Post your feelings. It helps to reach out. I no longer isolate from depression. My symptoms are managed well. Writing to all of you helps me enormously so I say THANK YOU and we’ll get through this holiday season together, alive.

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  • Vivian T says:

    Good for you! I go to the free community dinner, myself, at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes, which is in West Marin County in Northern California. This will be my third year doing so. I will bring 2 friends with me. It is awesome. I am vegetarian, and they even have tofurkey. 🙂

  • Suzanne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I can so relate to your story! I hope that your holiday is full of joy and peace!

  • Marc Rios-Klein says:

    Thank you for taking the time to send out your wonderfully vulnerable and genuine expression of what it takes for one managing a mental illness to respect their need for mental well-being , despite all the challenges the holidays can present. You found like you have things in a terrific place internally at this point in your life and your sharing with the BC2M community is a blessing. Reminding folks to not isolate, in my opinion, is fairly critical to one’s overall positive mental health. Our adult son , age 22, is learning how to do this still with the same illness as you. His parents, both of us being clinical social workers, help in the no shame and genuine empathy department, but he still needs to make peace with hisself and find his coping skills then things get rough. I had a brother with Schizoaffevtive Disorder for 27 years, beginning at age 13, until his passing at 40 in ’99. I watched severe isolation & depression at its worst. It led to my own therapy & eventually a full career as an LCSW providing psychiatric care & education/support to families equally struggling. I’m now blogging for BC2M as I wish to put my full, recently retired, focus and energies on the pro-active and preventative side of mental health. I also wish to see our nation address the significant need , openly and with a plan to fiscally support these ends. My deepest appreciation Jessie for all that you , Glenn, and your family have done to bring this level of attention to mental illness issues. If my brother had been alive , we too would have worn T-shirts with you guys ( Brother and Schizoaffective D/O) and stood anywhere to open up the dialogue , as you both did. I wish you all and the BC2M community a very joyous and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

  • Martin B & Fran H says:

    Dear Jessie,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us all. These words are especially meaningful to me:-

    “It gives me great comfort to know that I’m not alone. I don’t know if I could stick to my routine if I was alone with my mental illness; none of us are, even if we feel isolated at times. We can get through the next few months staying healthy.”

    My best friend Fran lives with bipolar disorder, also two other chronic conditions: chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Our friendship has taught me so much about the courage of those living with illness – and the role that we can all play in helping our friends and loved ones. I have learned from and with Fran that committed, caring relationships can provide comfort, a steadying hand, and a life-line.

    Bless you, Jessie. Fran and I hope Thanksgiving – and the holiday period ahead – brings you joy in the ways that are most meaningful to you, and with those closest to you in heart.

    Marty

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