By Jessie Close
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.