I have always hated the holidays, ever since I was a child. Sure I liked the gifts, but all the family proximity made me nervous and uncomfortable. I used to have this fantasy where I would get to stay up in my room, and all my gifts would be delivered to my closed bedroom door. Later, in my own good time , I would write thank u notes…
Holidays still do make me uptight. In fact , it’s gotten worse, now that I have fully matured , gained a perspective on my mental illness, even developed rudimentary social skills…yet have come to realize what a bunch of boring damn fools the rest of the human race is…
This year, Big Sister is hosting Christmas. Unfortunately, she absolutely lives for this season, and now that she has her New Man (and his extended family of three kids & also grandkids) she is gonna do it up grandly.
I have no way of avoiding this.
Unless: I play the Mentally Disabled card.
There is a wonderful organization for people like me, called NAMI. National Alliance of the Mentally Ill. I used to go to their meetings, and even took some courses they offered in how to become a “mental health advocate”, which I am happy to tell you I am. Have been for 4 years or so.
I thought to myself, this morning, considering what I was up against …maybe they have some cool tips on how to lessen the stress … I went to their website and found some good advice I plan to use.
“Mental illness: Coping with the Holidays” is the title of the article.
It starts by saying, “Family and friends can include their loved one
in holiday activities to the degree that he or
she is able to participate.”
Useful indeed. It is a terribly unpredictable condition, this mental disorder. I am volatile, fickle, irregular. The prospect of sitting around with a full stomach watching sports with a bunch of well adjusted males is something I probably could participate in, but would choose not to, if I could have my way.
“If there is to be a large gathering of family and
friends, plan ahead by preparing
who may not know the situation.
This is a
wonderful opportunity to help erase the stigma
and shame too often associated with mental
illness. You can help them find ways to be
relaxed yet respectful of any special needs.”
I think I would like people to know of my special needs, and be respectfully relaxed about fulfilling them. I don’t really care about the so called ‘’stigma”, as it is something I can use to my benefit if I get bored or scratchy in my brain.
I can foresee this: I take my sister aside, and tell her , “Sis, I just cannot take all this hoopla. I must retire to the back bedroom, and relax, perhaps with my computer, so I can go on my site and get advice on how to deal with my problematic …uh, symptoms…”
“what site?” she would demand.
“It is called Open Salon”
“A cybernetic arena for us mentally disabled folks, where I am highly regarded for the advice I give. Also the succor.”
“Hm. Ok. “
If sister gives me any lip about this, I am gonna show her the printout of the NAMI article. It says, specifically, “
It is all right to excuse yourself for some time
away. There may be times when you may
want to excuse yourself and go to a quiet
While continually isolating yourself is not
helpful, there are times when solitude can be a
time of replenishment, reconnection with
yourself and deeply satisfying”
I just hope she doesn’t make me watch her dog, Georgie Doggy, while I am excusing myself. Georgie is not good in mixed company, like his uncle.
Truth is: he is far more mentally disturbed than me .