happy thanksgiving

I had a good Thanksgiving. My girlfriend and I stayed the night at her brother’s house on Wednesday. On Thursday, I got up early, went for a short run, popped an Ativan (plus my normal medication), and started cooking.

It was a relaxing morning, spent with my girlfriend and her brother and sister-in-law. I felt calm and at ease. I’ve been spending more time with them as of late, and thus am feeling a lot more comfortable around them. I wouldn’t say I’ve connected more with them; it’s more like I’m easing up a bit around them and overall less tense because I’ve been seeing so much of them lately (see my issue on constancy for more info).

I took another Ativan before the rest of the family arrived, and when they arrived (10 in all), I tried to stay as busy as possible–I helped in the kitchen, played with the cat, set the table, etc.–and, honestly, I felt good. In all, it was a success–and I actually enjoyed myself!

The medication really helped. Unlike in the past, I took it preemptively. That is, I took the Ativan as soon as I felt an inkling of anxiety in my body, instead of waiting until I was flooded. This helped to break the anxiety cycle. By taking the medication early, I didn’t allow the anxiety (thoughts and physical symptoms) to build on itself. In other words, I broke the cycle before I reached a point where nothing, not even numbing myself on alcohol, can bring relief.

I noticed a huge difference in my thoughts, as well. They weren’t as negative. More neutral, I guess. This can be attributed directly to CBT. It’s really starting to help, especially when coupled with medication. I’m breaking up the negative thought patterns and experiencing less anticipatory anxiety.

Speaking of which, this past week or two, I’ve been able to manage my anticipatory anxiety better. Writing, exercising, working on school, that sort of thing, has helped me to avoid my negative thoughts. Instead of wallowing in my negative thoughts, I’ve been active.

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to approach Thanksgiving as a social experiment–to see if I could avoid becoming flooded. Well, I succeeded, and I am proud of myself. I also felt very connected to people, and I do believe (for now, at least) that the people around me care about me and my well being. At the dinner table, we all went around the table saying what we were grateful for. When it came to be my turn, I said–

“I’m grateful for being surrounded by such wonderful people who care about me.” In my head I told myself that I was grateful for just being able to connect with my thoughts in a group social situation–and not feeling flooded from talking in a circle. (Usually when there’s a group circle where people go around introducing themselves or something, I get flooded. I DO NOT like those situations at all.)

Finally, as weird as this sounds, I’m actual looking forward to future social situations to see how I fare. I want to build on this success. I want to experiment more.

I want to say more, but I’m really tired (I’m sure that’s reflected in this post) and need sleep. So, I’m off to bed. Good night. I hope everyone is doing well. :)

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17 responses to “happy thanksgiving

  1. Good on you for getting through Thanksgiving okay. It can be hard on holidays sometimes surrounded by heaps of people. CBT didn’t really do much for me but it’s good that it helps you, along with the medication. And although being an Aussie we don’t celebrate it here, Happy Thanksgiving. :)

    Take care,
    Cassie

    • Thanks! Yes, I dread the holidays every year. I didn’t think CBT was working for me either, but my mood has been so stable these past few weeks and I feel like I can attribute it to the CBT. But it could just be correlation, not causation. Regardless- Must. Stay. Positive. :)

  2. Wow Mike, that is amazing! I’m so glad you had a good time, and were able to be calm and relaxed, and used your meds and your skills with CBT to help you succeed! And it sounds like the people you were with were kind and supportive, which is just the kind of people you need in your life. And it also sounds like you are doing great in other areas besides Thanksgiving. You must feel so good about this and so proud, you are working very hard and doing so well.

    • Thanks! Yes, I am feeling very proud of myself. I’m starting to feel a bit anxious about two class presentations I have to do this week, but at least I’m aware of my feelings. I’m just trying to stay busy and avoid thinking about it as much as possible. I’m sure they will go fine.

  3. I’m really impressed that you handled Thanksgiving so well. I get pretty flustered. We hosted Thanksgiving this year, and I actually like that better because I can spend most of the time busying myself in the kitchen and let my husband handle much of the socializing, and I don’t appear rude that way. I absolutely cannot do the going around the table thing! I freak out! I probably would have just said “pass!” You handled that really well. Glad to hear it.

    • Yeah, I would much rather play host as well, as I can busy myself in the kitchen and retreat to my room to recharge every now and then. You know in those situations where you go around the circle, I would feel like saying “pass” would draw more attention to me–which I hate–and be judged negatively–which I hate even more. It helped that I was one of the first people to go.

  4. That’s awesome, Mike! I’m so happy for you!!!!

  5. Great job! I’m glad you were able to enjoy the holiday :)

  6. Sounds great that you found something that worked so well! Good for you. :)
    I never took any meds for anxiety and only heard from others who took meds but I guess I didn’ t really pay much attention because it wasn’ t up my alley. You mentioned that this time you took it as soon as you started feeling anxious and not after being flooded. I’m wondering, is there a general recommendation when to take it (i.e. as soon as you feel it or only once you are flooded)?

    • I’m not a big fan of meds, but they can really, really help. In fact, I do think they’re essential when someone is unstable and cannot attend social gatherings without getting flooded (that’s me!). If you continue to get flooded, you’ll go nowhere. Success must build upon success.

      Anyway, enough rhetoric. My doc wants me to take them more, especially before I get flooded. I’ve resisted, but this time I just went with it and it worked.

      The goal is to get some relief, understand that I can be present in social situations without feeling flooded (which changes the thought patterns), and then slowly get off the drugs. They are never a long-term solution, in other words.

  7. Good stuff man, this is a good approach and I hope it continues to be like this for you foremost and the rest of us one day. Have a good one mang.

  8. I’m happy for you, Mike. Your attitude seems really healthy in this post. It sounds like you really connected with those around you. Good work :)

    • Thanks! :) I do feel like I connected a *little* more with those around me. But there’s that voice that says I need to do more. I’ve been sick and depressed the past few days, and my thoughts are sort of negating all the progress I made over the holiday weekend. I am my own worst enemy sometimes.

      Anyway, I hope you’re Thanksgiving went well.

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