By August 20, 2013Blog

Does vacation conjure up all sorts of horrors for you? How about when you’re supposed to be having a great time but your mood didn’t get the message?

A dear friend of mine, and fellow bipolar person, told me a story about having nine guests at her cottage for over a week. I shuddered. My mom came to stay with me for five days and I didn’t realize the stress until she was gone and I collapsed.

These reactions to loved ones or friends, (notice that friends aren’t always loved ones), have really nothing to do with love or friendship, they have to do with stress and the sometimes awful feelings we have when under stress.

My friend also told me about how often our psychiatrists, psychologists and the others that help keep us steady go on vacation during the summer, especially in August. I didn’t believe her. Then, when on the phone with my psychiatrist for our check-in, he told me he was going on vacation and would be gone for a while so I wouldn’t be able to talk to him even if I needed to. She was right! I had to laugh, luckily, and am fine with my psychiatrist going on vacation. But are all the doctors gone in August? I certainly hope not!

If you have a houseful of guests the best thing you can do for yourself is to have a room where you can retreat. If your mood lowers make sure you have all you need, like a good book and a glass of ice tea, and retreat. If these are real friends they’ll understand. Try not to feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Stigma can land all of us, mentally ill or not, into a dark place not of our choosing. I can pretty much guarantee that you nor I decided to become mentally ill because there wasn’t anything else going on. Right?

Make sure you have plenty of food in the house. I have a hard time buying food and the only thing that makes that less torturous is having someone along. Your guests could arrive at your house when your fridge is empty. Ask one of them to come along. If you have six guests you could even have a group parade into the market, each person concentrating on one heading, like ‘bread and crackers’ or ‘fruit and vegetables’ or meat. How fun would that be? I think it would be great fun! When you all returned to your house you’d have enough food for a week and it would even be fun to see what each person chose.

And don’t try to be super host; allow them to cook for you. I become confused when there’s anyone around when I’m cooking. I don’t know how people make conversation while measuring. Perhaps I have a single-purpose mind. That’s okay! Perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you even like to cook. Don’t let that crowd of people confuse you. I got my friends to know that if they wanted to come over for dinner they would get pizza and I don’t mean homemade. I would order from whichever pizza place had the best coupons for the week. But you can’t order pizza for a week for every meal so you’ll have to delegate. Two people could cook breakfast, two for lunch and two for dinner, or something like that applied to how ever many people you have in your house. If I’m doing dinner I can still order pizza!

So, take care of yourself!!!  I’ll report back, at the end of August, how many people I had land on my doorstep. I suspect zero. I think my friends are tired of pizza.

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