Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This means that most of us will be returning home to see family that we only see specifically during this time of the year. For me, this year is different because I am bringing someone with me.
I actually introduced my girlfriend, Chelsea, to various family members over the past 2 months and it all went surprisingly well.
In my last session, I spoke with my therapist about the holiday season and my own expectations regarding family and my obviously gay relationship. He told me to have minimal to no expectations and to be open-minded. At first, I reacted with, “WhAt?! You want ME to be open-minded??”
Buuuuut, then I realized that he was right. I was already anticipating the homophobic comments, questions, and uncomfortable stares months before actually being around family. I was making assumptions. I was judging. If I were to enter their homes with this attitude, it was going to be obvious and rub off on them.
In order for this to be natural and comfortable, I needed to let go of anything I thought before. I needed to act natural and comfortable myself. There is nothing weird or abnormal about my relationship and the more normal I act, the more normal it will be to family.
I’ve worked so hard to be 100% myself. I feel like I’ve only fully achieved that in 2019. I am ready to just have fun and enjoy this holiday season.
Happy holidays, everyone!
My anxiety always feels like I can’t take in a full breath. It always feels like yawning and then not hitting the “top” of your yawn. It’s a heavy weight on the top of my chest. It’s shallow breaths. It’s a fear of not being able to breathe and not having anyone there to help.
Once on the brink of a panic attack, my legs and arms get tingly/partially numb. Everything around me begins to sound like white noise.
From there, it goes one of two ways: either I sit down somewhere and ride it out or I start trying to implement my coping skills and hope it goes away.
I have a few coping skills/tools and some of them are silly, but when you feel like you can’t breathe, there’s not much you won’t do to relieve it.
- sitting down/squatting in an almost fetal position seemed to calm me
- applying makeup, specifically eye liner or mascara that would require more concentration
- eating food
- brushing my teeth
- shaking my hands and arms to get feeling back into them
- podcasts for distraction
- calling someone on the phone
- writing in my journal
I also have collected prevention tools over the years and I don’t use them all, but I’m sure it would help.
- When I first went into therapy I was told to use something called the Alpha Stim SCS.
- Since the end of May of this year, I’ve also been trying CBD oil. Honestly, I haven’t felt much of a difference, but I also haven’t been taking it regularly for the past 3 weeks.
- I’ve been drinking more water and eating more healthy foods.
- Sometimes I take lavender pills.
- I try my very best to get good sleep and enough of it, but that has been a lifelong challenge that I can expand on in another post.
- I do not consume a lot of alcohol, and when I do, I limit myself to a single glass of wine or beer.
- I stay away from caffeine.
- I’ve been trying to move more through stretching, just getting up more at work, and actual exercise, but I’m lazy and sometimes I can’t be bothered even though I know it would probably help immensely.
- I continue to push myself to do things that make me a little uncomfortable because you have to conquer the things you fear to overcome that emotion.
My anxiety has never kept me from going on adventures or living my life, but it has limited how far I would travel for those adventures and it gets annoying when all you want to do is enjoy yourself, but these “what if” questions won’t stop buzzing.
It’s a struggle, yes, but yesterday’s therapy session felt promising. Read more about it here.