Unfortunately, I had a pretty traumatic childhood. My parents were always fighting, and I was faced with trying to decide what to do about my own personal feelings. When I got older, I knew that I needed to do something to relieve the stress that I was feeling even many years later, so I started focusing on going to counseling. My first few appointments were a little nerve-racking, but the counselor worked hard to make me feel comfortable. I was really impressed with how gentle and kind she was, and I felt really great about the progress I was making. This blog is all about benefiting from counseling.
Many times during the holidays, people are in crisis, and your therapist might be booked to the point where he or she cannot see you right around Christmas. Your therapist also might be taking time off to be with his or her family during this time and might not have any appointments at all. The problem with this for you is that you might be having a hard time around the holidays. You might have to go home for the holidays and talk to your abusive family, which could trigger your depression again. You might have to hear relatives comment that you've gained weight while you are trying to recover from anorexia, which can make you want to restrict again. You could have to be around loud noises, which could make your PTSD worse. All of these can be difficult to cope with if you can't talk to your therapist. Here are some tips for getting through the holidays regardless.
1. Make a Plan Ahead of Time
The first thing that you need to do is talk about dealing with any potential landmines ahead of time. If you know that someone is going to comment about your weight or make you feel like you aren't worth anything, figure out a way to avoid those people or have something to say back to them in order to end the conversation immediately. Talk about getting people that you feel safe around to go with you to holiday parties, such as a friend outside the family. Make a list of coping skills that you can use after family get-togethers or other times when your mental illness might be triggered.
2. Gather Your Materials
Have actual items that you are going to use to get through any stress during the party and after the party. Have a small piece of paper that you can hide on your person while you are at a family reunion that you can go into the bathroom and read after you have an unpleasant encounter. Buy a CD or make a playlist of music that is going to cheer you up ahead of time and load it onto your phone in case you need to destress midway through the party. Being prepared will help you be more confident in your own ability to handle the situation, which can make the holidays go by more smoothly.
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