Stressful Holidays

No, it isn’t Christmas or Thanksgiving. Not a big holiday at all. It is going to be the Fourth of July – Independence Day though. And coincidentally my family decided to also have a family reunion at this time too. So, for me, this is going to be a big holiday celebration weekend that then turns into a long vacation week after that.

Now this presents two problems for me which I somewhat have discussed in previous posts which affect me. Social anxiety and not having a great relationship with family members. So, how am I supposed to get through this weekend…. and the fact that it actually is going to go on all the way through til the 13th of July???

My direct family members know about my bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder. They also do not live close by to me though, so it is quite easy to tell them that I am “fine” over the phone. Over all I am fine most of them time. I do still struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts sometimes though and currently am having awful symptoms of PTSD since I am dealing with that in therapy right now. Much of which is related to my childhood; hence my not so good relationship with them. I also do not have a great relationship with one group of relatives, and am just not comfortable with others due to anxiety issues.

Well, first the first few days we are going to be in town for the 4th of July weekend. I do have two little cousins, 8 months old and 3 years old, so I maybe could get away with just going off and playing with them. Less stressful than being around the adults and my older cousins perhaps.

My biggest concern is going to be when I am stuck on a boat (cruise) with all of them for a week. So how am I going to take care of myself during this holiday/reunion – If I am feeling overwhelmed being around everyone and need to get away:
1) My therapists suggestion (comical yet kind of realistic) – “the boat is big, you can get lost on it”
2) Take time to myself, the trip should be relaxing, so tell them I want to relax.
3) Get tired from having “too much fun” and go take a nap, just to get away. Either really go take a nap if I need to or just go find something else to do.
4) Exercise. There is an exercise room and everyone knows I am working out. They should understand that I want to continue this especially since we will all be eating a lot of food. This should release stress and increase my endorphins!
5) Be honest. Tell them I am feeling overwhelmed and just need to get away.

Does anyone else have any ideas on how to deal with family holidays or family reunions? I could definitely use some tips?

Also, because of this, my brother is already in town as of last night, and my mom and brother’s fiancĂ© come in tonight, so I will not be writing any entrees in here unless I find time. But I will be checking here off and on. So please write some comments on tips if you can think of any. They will be greatly appreciated!