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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Koios and I are flying out to see his family for the holidays tomorrow. I am… less than thrilled about it. Every year we switch off over which side of the family we’re going to be with at Christmas and this year it’s his turn. I’m happy to go with him because I know how much he loves his family, but I absolutely hate the traveling part. Most of it has to do with my bipolar.

Why It’s Hard For Me To Travel To See Family (in list form)

1. Timezones. I’ve found that I don’t have a problem with traveling in this timezone. I adjust just fine, no hiccups or bumps in my mental health at all. But when I’m traveling to a place that’s three timezones away it fucks up my internal clock and when I take my medications. I’m tired and irritable and snappy and undermedicated one minute, then zombified when my medications hit. It sucks.

2. Staying at someone else’s house. We can’t afford to stay at a hotel so we end up staying at his mom’s house. Koios’s mom is awesome and friendly, but I don’t like having to sleep in other people’s houses. I can visit with family and make my required appearances so long as I know that I have a “home base” where I can just relax and put aside my public persona. When we’re staying in the guest room I feel like I always have to be “on”, holding together my bipolar tendencies by a very thin thread. I don’t want to go crazy in front of Koios’s entire giant family, which puts more pressure on me that makes it harder to hold myself together.

3. Not having a car. When I travel I usually feel very out of control and not having a personal mode of transportation intensifies that. When we have to bum a ride from his sister/mom or take the bus I feel like I’m not in control of where I am. I’m always relying on someone else to come or go from someplace and it makes me more on edge.

4. Caring what people think of me. If I didn’t care if Koios’s family liked me or not, traveling to see them would be really easy. I’d just say “fuck it” to everything and do what I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. Instead being around his family makes me weird and awkward and starts the hypomanic racing thoughts, over-analyzing everything that I do and say to someone. I get really insecure and uncomfortable and almost terrified to move or talk, lest I do the wrong thing. I know logically that his family is really laid-back and nonjudgmental, but I still feel that way anyway.

5. Lack of personal space and control at the airport. Sitting really close to someone for 7 hours on a plane puts me in Everyone Else First mode. “Should I get my laptop from my carry-on bag at my feet? I don’t know, I might bother the guy next to me reading. It’s really hot but I don’t want to take off my jacket; I might bump that guy. I have to pee, but I don’t want to inconvenience that guy while he’s trying to sleep”. That’s pretty much all that I can think when I’m on a plane. Add that to the anxiety about missing a layover because I can’t just MAKE THE PLANE WAIT FOR ME makes flying hell. I expect too much of myself and disparage my lack of ability to somehow make everything okay.

Anyway, I have to clean and pack for tomorrow. Wish me luck.

-Ashes

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I have never gone Christmas shopping in my life, unless you count middle school where my mom gave me $20 and I gave my friends notebooks and lipgloss. I’m sure that this year will be similar to those times as I’m pretty broke, but this will be the first time I’ve gotten gifts for my whole family.

I hate Christmas; I’ll get that out of the way right now. Part of it is because I’ve always felt that it was such a thinly-veiled excuse to get people to buy things as well as a chance for people to pretend that they care about homeless people and family members that they hate during the rest of the year. However, most of my disdain for Christmas comes from the fact that I feel guilty for receiving gifts.

One of the worst bipolar symptoms for me is the unrelenting guilt that plagues my every move. If I hurt someone or threw a tantrum as a child I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. My brain would run through the memory of what I did and I would feel so much guilt about acting that way, as well as shame and embarrassment. I still have attacks of guilt like that at 20 years old .

Even as a little kid I hated opening Christmas presents. I always wondered what I did to deserve them. Why should I get presents because someone was born a long time ago? What about the people in the streets who couldn’t even afford to eat while I opened my fourth Barbie doll? I didn’t understand why family members that I never saw for most of the year would shell out money to buy me something when I had no way of reciprocating. I always saw gifts as a burden of my debt to the person giving them to me. Why would they give me something unless they wanted something in return?

I’ve gotten a bit better at accepting gifts over the years, but I still feel the guilt on some level. I’m hoping that my shopping trip with my friend T will let me flip the tables. If I’m participating in the exchange of presents, will I still feel guilt? I love giving people gifts throughout the rest of the year; will I start to understand the joy of giving during this season after this Christmas?

I’m not certain. But I’m hoping that by taking on the role of giver that I will be able to enjoy more of this damnable season.

-Ashes

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