Thanksgiving Stuff(ing?)

Remember, us bipolar persons do not do well in crowds and gatherings. If you or a family member is bipolar, look out for these things.

If you are somewhat manic, the crowd energy can aggravate the situation. Look out for:

  • We cannot cope with the numerous conversations and activities simultaneously. You might flit from group to group, feeling like you should be talking to the next set of persons over even as you join this conversation. You will feel as you need to be everywhere so you don’t miss anything.
  • You might be more talkative than normal, or more garrulous.
  • You might not be able to stop some of the actions you might be doing – including physical activities like poking or nudging or otherwise physically bothering people.
  • You might have nervous tics – tapping your feet or hands, or your coordination with objects such as when preparing dinner, will be off.
  • You might not be able to focus on what to do next easily.
  • Alternatively, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of noise and activity, and your reaction might be ‘get out of there’.
  • Oh yeah, you are likely to be irritable with every little thing that people do and you might be the person who precipitates the big Thanksgiving argument.

If you are depressed, you are NOT going to want to be in a group at all. Look out for

  • Deciding you don’t want to go to the Thanksgiving dinner, or seizing any reason not to go.
  • You are going to hate having to interact with the crowd. You won’t want to talk to anyone, or only to the one or two safest  people.
  • You won’t be able to concentrate on the conversation and you are going to feel like an idiot that you can’t hold your end of the conversation. Perversely, you might realise that other people don’t notice.
  • You are going to want to find a quiet place to sit – an empty bedroom, the quiet corner behind the Christmas tree, the swing on the porch. Or in the kitchen, where you hide the entire time.
  • You are going to hate when your family introduces you to new people, or when they put you on the spot to say or do something. This can trigger an anger reaction.

What can you do? On today, if you are manic you can

  • Look for the signals you are getting manic. In fact, you need to be looking for them all night.
  • Once you recognise the manic signs, stop what you are doing and do the things you need to calm down. Check out this post. If you have medication that works against mania, and you can take it, take it.
  • If you are not drunk and you are capable of talking a walk, go for a 10 minute walk. Being away from the noise will help. The activity will too. Do NOT continue an argument in your head while walking.
  • You are not going to be right in any argument, even if you think you are. Just stop arguing and go for a walk to calm down. No, you do not need to get in the last word.

If you are depressed…

  • And you aren’t making it to dinner as promised, at least text a message to someone that you won’t be coming. The message is “I can’t make it, I’m depressed.” At least your family or friends will know that you are safe at home. If you are able to, try calling someone. You don’t need to contact the host, just someone who will be there to pass on your message.
  • If someone in your family can’t make it because they are depressed, let it go. Tell them it is okay. You would’t ask them to come if they were recovering from a heart attack. Same thing.
  • If you are at the Thanksgiving gathering, it’s okay to find a quiet space. The same walk may help you get away from the crowd.

For me, there is also a concern what happens AFTER Thanksgiving. We can often summon the energy and reserves to make it through the day, but this has consequences – I’ve noticed that I usually get depressed about 4-8 days after the holiday. It’s as if I’ve drawn down my reserves to act nicely and the depression catches me when I am at my weakest.

I’d recommend that after Thanksgiving that you keep a vigilant eye on your moods, and do the things that stave off depression for you.

But for today, Happy Thanksgiving.

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Stuff(ing?)

  1. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, but I do have to go to a big “lets sit down eat, drink beer and schnapps for hours” to go to tomorrow at my parents’ house. And I’m obviously starting to become very hypomanic.
    I’m gonna show my parents the list so they can help me out. I always end up creating chaos, starting arguments and wanting to have the last say in everything

    But I will also have my medication tomorrow. So if my parents tell me to take it and go for a walk, I promised to do so. Or if they tell me to take some water instead of beer.

    Thank you very much for the list!

    • Chris,

      Four additional thoughts.

      First, in addition to the the “30 Symptoms of Mania” consider also printing out “Dealing with this manic episode: as well to show to your parents. The links are https://livingmanicdepressive.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/dealing-with-this-manic-episode/ and https://livingmanicdepressive.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/symptoms-of-being-manic-or-hypomanic/

      The second is to ask someone to look out for you all night and to TELL you if you are acting manic. The problem is that even though you are looking out for the signs, you might not notice or pay attention to them because you are, well, becoming manic. It is possible that someone else will notice the signs before you do.

      Ask someone you trust to be responsible. A good sibling is a idea, or a close friend. Remember – responsible. Parents aren’t as ideal as the standard parent/child relationship issues tend to make you listen less to them. Still, if you have a good relationship with either or both of them, it will still work. It doesn’t need to be one person, by the way. Ask two people to look out for you.

      Here’s the big rule you have to abide by. If they tell you that you are manic, you HAVE to listen to what they say, even if you don’t believe they are right. This can be hard to do, but trust them.

      The third thing is about alcohol. Consider alternating between a beer and a glass of soda water if you are drinking. It slows down the alcohol intake without stopping you from drinking.

      Finally, really!, Remember to listen to the people you ask to look out for you.

      Have a great day tomorrow. Don’t shout at anyone. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Holidays, Mania, and Depression | Living Manic Depressive

  3. I find that I very frequently put myself in what I lovely refer to as “time out”! I tell my loved ones to please not talk to me & I go and find a nice quiet place for me & I take my “tiny” little ativian, that seems to work fairly well, before my divorce my life had resorted to “chewing” up the ativaian!!!!! I’m learning to manage my “manic” episodes but dang, do I get a lot done!!! I can be up @ 5am not go to bed till 1am & do this for DAYS!!!! I feel it works well for me and my family, whoever I do find myself overwhelming & irritating myself, so I can only imagine what its like for my family!!! I am truly blessed to have a wonderful, loving family!!! I’ve re-married & I have the greatest husband ever, together we manage my bi-polar, I’m no longer alone in my bi-polar world!!!!

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