Please Help Me Survive Thanksgiving
November 21, 2011 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Help: I need to at least seem 'okay' by Thursday. Advice?

I am terrified of Thanksgiving. My family is not that big, but there are two people that would only be too happy to see me uncomfortable, out of sorts or somehow make a fool of myself on Thanksgiving. I quit drinking and smoking almost a year ago. Because of this and knowing that I have to be in their company in a few days, I'm feeling very worried and like I'm on very shaky ground. It's the last thing in the world I want to do is spend any time with these two people (not the whole family, just the two people)! Because I am not drinking or smoking I am not quite myself and I no longer have access to whatever persona I used to adopt in front of people that made me uncomfortable in the past. This factor (my newish sobriety) is also heightening my anxiety, especially now that it's the holidays. I admit I might be perceiving things as worse than they really are (however, there is no question regarding the fact that the two people are rude + verging on cruel to me and that has been going on for years). I used to be able to fake it very well that I wasn't bothered at all and could even joke and be 'fun'. I realize after all these months that a lot of that social-survival stuff (as I am not that great at social stuff to begin with) is gone for the time being as I recover from my addictions. On top of it, whenever I sense or know that a person has something against me, I tend to go into full avoidance mode and/or start to behaving as though I am ashamed/guilty. I don't want to act that way anymore, but it's harder than ever not to.

What I'm asking for are tips or advice on how to pretend, fake, or actually accomplish being okay at this gathering. I'm open to any suggestions (I am already in therapy but will not see my therapist again until the first week of December). Or, anything that might give me some perspective. I feel raw and like all of my emotions are right on the surface for the last couple of weeks. I am decidedly not chill right now and I need to be. Thanksgiving dinner will be minimum 4 hours with about 8 people in a small house with nowhere to hide (and no one in my family watches football so there's nothing else to pretend to focus on! It's all conversation). I just want to come across as not bothered by them, as 'quietly strong', with my dignity intact. I want to seem pleasant, maybe even happy, and that I am holding my own and am solid. Not nervous, not semi stuttering (I do almost imperceptibly stutter when distressed), not mumbling, not knocking over glasses, not apologizing a million times for every little thing I do and basically coming across as pathetic.

Added details. I am female. They are male and female. My bf may or may not be attending, it's still up in the air. We are all adults. I have no idea if they know that I'm sober (I never talked about this to anyone other than my therapist, my bf and my mom). As well, it is very unlikely they thought I was an alcoholic to begin with/they drink as much as I did. I mention this to clarify that their problem with me has nothing to do with my being an alcoholic (to be honest, I don't know what their problem really is with me other than they are bullies and I fit the criteria for a convenient target). Also, I think I should mention that I am not interested *healing* this situation. There is no actually fixing this. I know this from years of experience/I know them well enough to know that that will never happen. I no longer trust them, anyway. And, because of the way they treat people, I have very little respect for them. This is about getting though just one evening.

Thank you for your help, Mefites! It is much appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, the obvious question is: Do you have to go? If you don't feel comfortable staying home with no good excuse, you can always pretend to be sick. I don't see any reason to put yourself in a terribly stressful situation for no good reason. Stay home and have a nice quiet holiday with your boyfriend.
posted by something something at 9:51 AM on November 21, 2011 [9 favorites]

A few ideas:

-Can you role-play with your boyfriend? Maybe do it for a few hours and really go over everything these people might throw at you. Then when you face it in real life your reaction will almost be like a reflex.

-Can you get a lot of physical exercise between now and Thursday? Don't do anything that's way beyond your current fitness level. But maybe do something that's 75% of your fitness level every day this week, and then the morning of. For calmness I recommend running or hot yoga. Either way, sometimes just getting all that nervous energy out helps.

-I'm mentioning this last because I don't think it's a very healthy way to cope. But I have found for myself, it's hard for nervousness/fear and rage to both co-exist in my mind. If I am FURIOUS about something, then I usually cease to be nervous about anything. Maybe try working up all of your rage and anger, and then seeing whether or not you feel prone to stuttering and apologizing around these people. I suspect you really might not at all.
posted by cairdeas at 9:57 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

For me, part of becoming strong was actually refusing to pretend to be okay when I wasn't. That doesn't mean breaking down in tears when someone says something cruel, but it does mean letting them know that it's not okay with you. So when MeanRelative says something awful to you, you have the strength to stand up for yourself and say, "Please don't speak that way to me." And if they continue being mean to you, you say, "I'm not interested in tolerating that sort of behavior," and then you leave. Leave the conversation, leave the dinner table, leave the event. For me, being strong didn't mean pretending I didn't care that other people treat me badly. It meant refusing to pretend that it's acceptable for them to treat me badly, and refusing to tolerate it if they chose not to stop.

This may or may not be the solution you want. It may cause trouble in your family (goodness knows it did in mine). But it's the only solution I've found that doesn't leave me feeling awful about myself afterwards. If you have the strength to stand up to bullies, you have the strength to do just about anything.
posted by decathecting at 9:58 AM on November 21, 2011 [32 favorites]

Hi, first of all, I'm really sorry that you are feeling this way and that everything feels very fragile, anxious and precarious. I'm sure you've heard this before but I promise that all of this will get easier as time passes and you stay sober. It has for me.

I don't know your specific circumstances, but I have found a couple of useful tricks for getting through family events and holidays. First, I make plans at multiple events. Some of those events are aa events. This allows me to stop by the family event, say hello, show everyone that I'm sober and doing great, leave some desserts, and then move on to the next place before things can start going wrong. I typically spend more time at aa potlucks/marathons/etc on holidays than anywhere else.

Also, see if you can find allies. If your boyfriend can't stay the whole time can he be there for an hour? If your mom knows your situation, can she help act as a buffer? If you know the way the "bullies" typically steer the conversation can you prepare a canned response that keeps you emotionally distant from them?

I also try to stay busy in the kitchen, whether prepping, plating, cooking or cleaning, when I have something to do I always feel useful.

Finally, try to adjust the way that you think about this situation. You are not weak, you are choosing to do something to gain strength, and these people are not bullying you because they are tough, they are most likely acting out a need to allay their own insecurities.

Good luck, memail me if you would like to talk more.
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2011

Small but maybe helpful: Smoking let you take breaks from the action by going outside. You're still allowed to take these breaks even though you are no longer ingesting nicotine! Think of them as deep breath breaks.
posted by zem at 10:00 AM on November 21, 2011 [10 favorites]

I would seriously consider not attending the event. From your post, it seems like your mother would probably understand (as she knows about your new sobriety). There will certainly come a time when you need to face events like this, but does it have to be this year?
posted by OmieWise at 10:07 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding not attending the event or making up some excuse such as you have to work via email or phone on an urgent projects. That latter thing will help give you excuses to 'leave' the conversation or situation when you feel uncomfortable by saying 'shit i have to check in with work right'. Then you go outside, call whoever you want, or fake email on your phone, whatever, for however long it takes you to feel comfortable. Then you go back inside. OR, you say you have a friend who is having a very difficult time and needs you to check in on her. Same thing - gives you an excuse to break from the situation.
posted by spicynuts at 10:13 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Role play first with a friend or your boyfriend. Practice counting to three before responding (do that all week this week. when spoken to, make eye contact, smile and say "One, Two, Three" in your head before responding) which will keep you from reflexively apologizing but isn't a long enough pause to seem awkward.

Practice disengaging from the conversation by thinking to yourself "why would someone say that" rather than "why would someone say that about me" because that will help you realize that it isn't actually about you. You sound like you're fine--taking care of yourself, making good choices, working toward things you want. When no-one is speaking directly to you, you don't necessarily have to engage in the general conversation. You can take those moments to breathe deeply and think to yourself about the very good things you are doing for yourself and how those very good things have already made you stronger, even as they have made it unfamiliar to navigate some previously familiar situations.

Stepping outside for a moment to yourself while at the event is good. So is stepping into the kitchen to refill your coffee. So is having to call a friend who is alone this holiday and you'd like to check in on her and make sure she's not too blue. It's also okay not to go. Part of being strong and taking care of yourself is sometimes disappointing other people by depriving them of your presence. Maybe you can visit your mom the day after Thanksgiving?

You might also consider a very low dose of Ativan, if you have access to a doctor this week. A very low dose will calm you and bring that emotional distance without making you sleepy or slurry or high. You'd want to take one the day before to make sure it did not make you feel spacey, but the low doses generally don't.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:16 AM on November 21, 2011

As an adult, you're perfectly free to start your own traditions. Cook your own Thanksgiving dinner and invite friends. Relatives or not, life's too short to waste one precious second on abusive people who don't deserve to be a part of your life.
posted by aquafortis at 10:19 AM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]

If you really have to go. plan something really fun or relaxing afterwards and think about that while you're getting through the day. Doesn't have to be anything huge. Could be a good book, a warm drink and a fire for later in the night. Anything that has you looking at the clock every so often with that "hmmm, yes, only 2 more hours to go until ________."
posted by jquinby at 10:43 AM on November 21, 2011

They say something insulting. You say "I don't know why you think that's an okay thing to say to anybody, much less to family. It's not. I'm going outside, and I hope you'll get all that bullshit out of your system by the time I get back." Then you put on your coat (which you've left conveniently by the door, not tucked in a back closet) and stand on the porch, making phone calls to your boyfriend, your roommate, your best friends and family who couldn't be there, and telling them happy thanksgiving. It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of dinner, just step outside for 5 minutes. They will huff around and say you can't take a joke, that you're incredibly sensitive and out of line, etc. But "you can't hear them" because you're already gone, even if you haven't made it out the door yet.

You have to accept that these people will not be saying anything nice about you, and be okay with that. After all, they're jerks, and you don't have much respect for their opinions. They could say pretty much anything - nice or mean - and you know it's not about you, it's about something going on in their head, some game to get what they want. So you just have to let their response roll right off. The point of telling them they're being unacceptable is not to get an apology - unless I'm misreading the situation, an apology from someone like them would be pretty meaningless. The point is to make sure that everyone involved (you, them, other people at the gathering) is aware that this is not ideal and will have to change. You leave for a few minutes, and you will get talked about. With luck, you've got family or other people willing to say "you know, that *was* pretty harsh of you, do you think you could lay off her for a couple of hours?" while you're gone.
posted by aimedwander at 10:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Simple: Don't go. Put yourself and your mental well-being first.
posted by jbickers at 10:52 AM on November 21, 2011

I'm with decathecting and the others who advise not to go.

Part of recovering from psychologically taxing periods (depression, recovery from addictions etc.) is facing the social and inter-personal fall-out. This doesn't mean just possibly having given others a hard time and having to apologize for it, it also means spring-cleaning toxic relationships which one is wont to acquire, maintain and tolerate during periods of vulnerability. Your two relatives (I assume they are relatives) sound like they should be spring-cleaned right out of your life.

Sounds like these people are taking advantage of a "tradition" which started whilst you were more vulnerable then usual to keep you enmeshed in this awful dynamic, despite the fact that you have every reason to "break up" with them with no contact, as per your words here:

I know this from years of experience/I know them well enough to know that that will never happen. I no longer trust them, anyway. And, because of the way they treat people, I have very little respect for them.

You fear that dealing with them openly, with determination and finality is a sign of weakness (as per this:I tend to go into full avoidance mode and/or start to behaving as though I am ashamed/guilty.) And this plays right into their hands - you remain enmeshed in their cruel game-playing. But as someone above said, strength is knowing your boundaries and enforcing them regardless of the image that might project and how others in your environment might judge you for it.

If you go, I would avoid them as much as possible - if/when they are being verbally aggressive, or otherwise bullyish, ignore them, turn to someone else (would be great if your boyfriend is there, since he is probably the only one in the know re. these people) and pointedly start another conversation. Prepare as though you were going on a blind date if boyfriend cannot come. Agree on a code - text message. If it gets too much, text him and get him to call with an "emergency". Or don't go for the full 4 hours from the start. Go for a maximum of 2 hours - it's less easy for them to start with the bullying at the beginning of the get-together, I assume (greetings, people flocking in, then getting seated, exchanging news etc.)

In any case, good luck. Personally, I wouldn't go - there's not enough hours in the day to populate them with bullies and petty tyrants.
posted by miorita at 11:03 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Don't go. One of the great things about being an adult is choosing who you associate with.
posted by dgran at 11:13 AM on November 21, 2011

Seriously, don't go. You can pull the "sick at the last minute" thing if you don't want to deal with pre-party harassment.

Failing that, get some Valium.
posted by radioamy at 11:14 AM on November 21, 2011

If you go, and not going is an option, your two options are basically either ignore or confront.

You can only ignore, if you can really ignore and not let it get to you. I am this way, and can be oblivious to many things, sometimes intentionally and not let it affect me as I genuinely have arrived at a place where I just don't care, or have the energy to deal with people being passive assholes. This is not an easy skill and I don't advise it off hand.

The other option is to confront. You don't have to be overly aggressive when confronting but you do have to be assertive, public and brief. People have listed a few such scenarios above, another one I like is placing the behavior and the 'ball' back in the other person's court, so to speak, by asking questions. Person A says something rude, you give them your full attention and ask. "Hey, X, what is up with that/ Why are you being rude?" They likely will respond with something "I'm only kidding/take a joke..." To which you reply "Ok, I understand what you are saying, but I find it hurtful and more then a little mean. Please stop. Ok?" You will have a flood of adrenalin, you likely will shake and/or quiver. But after the fact you will feel b3etter about yourself.

It is important to ask them to verbally agree to cease their behavior (not to the point of holding them down, or badgering them,), if they do not, or of they continue their behavior.. don't engage anymore. Leave the area, or, pointedly turn to someone else and ask them how their work is going, or if someone needs help in the kitchen. You disengage.

If they are conciliatory, or start responding as adults then you do engage with them and be polite.

It amazed me just how many people have to be told off before they start acting like decent folks.

good luck Be strong and it will get better.
posted by edgeways at 12:00 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go with "don't go." Contact the key people in the family you love and care about, and who love and care about you, and let them know you're skipping the event this year. Tell them simply that you have made great strides in the past year, including your progress with drinking and smoking, and you're really proud of yourself...but that there are a few people who will be at the family event who seem to go out of their way to give you a hard time, and you don't want to jeopardize your momentum by spending time with them this year.

If/when pressed, don't say who they are -- "It isn't important, if you don't already know, then it might be something I'm imagining, but either way I don't feel comfortable being there this year" should suffice -- and don't agree to go if they claim those people won't bother you this year. Let them know that ultimately this is something you feel you need to do, to take care of yourself, and that you miss them and will try to come visit soon.

With any luck, your loved ones will be proud of you for owning this as your issue (rather than lashing out at the two people in question), and there will be some conversation amongst the family, including those two defending themselves and their behavior, and others telling them they're being jerks. Hopefully, by the time you feel ready to participate again, they'll have been put in their place...and if not, then you know it isn't a healthy place for a healthy person to be.

Incidentally, I think it is extremely likely that everyone else in the family knows these two give you a hard time, and this may be the thing that catalyzes support in your direction, but that shouldn't really be your goal here. Taking care of yourself without estranging the rest of your family is your goal. Stay focused on that.
posted by davejay at 12:02 PM on November 21, 2011

Do you want to go? Can you stay elsewhere, and visit the gang, while still having a safe haven? I always found it helpful to have a rental car when visiting the family - if nothing else I could get away and go to a movie or a drive.

When someone bullies me, I try to label it - "Terry, that was unkind, why did you say that?" and "Lee, I'm pretty sure you understand that I don't enjoy that sort of teasing." Then do your best not to engage with people who treat you badly. Go to another room and watch the game, or go to the kitchen and help cook. Ask somebody you like to go for a walk, or some other outdoor activity.

Busy people have less energy for snark. Take entertainment with you, like some movies and a laptop, or some new music. Even better, entertainment that will get people having fun with you. We had excellent games of poker the last several years my mom was alive - she was a shark. Just bring cards, a Hoyle's book of games (or maybe a card games app on an iPhone) and a bunch of pennies and nickels. Or a big jigsaw puzzle, board game, Wii bowling, popcorn + classic movies to share, etc. Shared fun makes positive bonds, distracts the jerks, and is, obviously, fun.

Not drinking - Stop and get some ginger ale, eggnog or other soft drink that seems festive, maybe even some sparkling juice. Toast your sobriety (way to go!), non-smoking (Yay, you!) and improved mental health (you deserve a lot of credit), even if only privately.
posted by theora55 at 12:19 PM on November 21, 2011

I have been in a similar situation and what worked well was knitting a scarf. You have something to focus on and its usually socially acceptable.
posted by meepmeow at 12:30 PM on November 21, 2011

Just curious as to why the other 5 or so people there that aren't bullies aren't sticking up for you, or is everyone else being bullied by these people too? Is the bullying of yourself and/or others backed up by implicit or explicit physical threats?

They're outnumbered at least 3:1, so I feel like if they get called on their shit by everyone else, they can be the ones that get their noses bent out of shape and have to stand outside in a huff while the rest of you have adult conversations, because let's face it: they're not adults. Many bullies really can't handle having the tables turned on them in a way that they can't directly address.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:01 PM on November 21, 2011

Assuming you must go:

Solution #1: Preempt the criticizer. My mother in law would constantly criticize my wife, treating her like a young, unruly child. I came in, walked up to my MIL with my arms spread wide, enfolded her and asked "How's my favorite mother in law?" This unnerved her enough that she paid attention more to me than to my wife. Every time she got ready to start in on my wife, I'd change the subject to "My favorite MIL."

Solution #2: Say something that's aggressive yet can't be objected to. My favorite is to respond, "Thank you, Lady Sneerwell." If you say "Go fuck yourself," you open yourself to criticism for being disrespectful and using the 4-letter word. Lady Sneerwell (who's a character in Sheridan's School for Scandal) is the perfect subject for repartee, aggressive enough to knock the wind out of your opponent, yet not nasty enough to start a fight and attract other family members to defend your opponent.
posted by KRS at 1:21 PM on November 21, 2011

Don't go. Especially not this year. Think about the big picture. What's more important, avoiding the tiny bit of discomfort caused by your not going, or protecting your sobriety?
posted by HotToddy at 1:22 PM on November 21, 2011

not apologizing a million times for every little thing I do and basically coming across as pathetic.

You're far from pathetic. Are you proud of yourself? I mean seriously, quitting drinking AND smoking? Well done! You should be SO proud of yourself. You've moved forward with some really difficult choices and these people are (presumably) still in the same lame rut.

I don't have practical advice, I guess. Except that the knowledge of what you've accomplished should give you a rush! You should feel elated about where you are in life, not ashamed/guilty. I know saying this doesn't make it so, but I do hope you can tell yourself this, and believe it. Keep your head up, and best of luck to you, seriously.
posted by torticat at 1:59 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another person saying don't go. Your sobriety was likely hard-earned. Are you in a program? Do you have a sponsor? Ask him or her what you should do. If you're not in a program, you can just drop in at a meeting, no commitment. Anxiety is often a prelude to relapse. I am not suggesting that you want to relapse or that it is inevitable, but introducing drama into your life creates the conditions that let addiction flourish.

Best wishes to you. Be strong.
posted by desjardins at 2:37 PM on November 21, 2011

Newfound sobriety is such a bitch. Addiction makes so many unacceptable situations acceptable, and when you get sober, there are so many all at once to deal with.

Sobriety isn't really like this all the time. You start cleaning house, and start exiting the unacceptable situations and relationships, and gain tools in dealing with unacceptable situations and relationships.

I think your sober sense is telling you that this situation is unacceptable -- it always was unacceptable -- and you're flailing for some new way to make it be acceptable, now that the self-medication is gone.

I'm afraid that the problem with trying to make this situation acceptable is that it isn't, and that the problem is not your inability to accept the unacceptable.

Seriously consider coming down with a bad case of purple puking pneumonia. I mean, I would totally celebrate you telling your mother "I don't think I can handle Joan and John this early in my sobriety," but you don't have to.

Make plans for Thanksgiving, whether it's volunteering at a community dinner or painting the bathroom. Anything else.

If you still want to go, I think you're going to have to keep in the front of your mind that accepting the unacceptable is part of the addictive pattern you're trying to break. You may have to give up on allowing yourself to be a punching bag in order to keep the peace. I believe that if you go, by the end of the event, someone will wish you were still drinking. I hope to hell that person isn't you.
posted by Iphigenia at 5:06 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing the recommendations to stay away. Come down with a sudden attack of "fuck-off-itis." Volunteer at a soup kitchen with your BF, something productive that will put you around appreciative people. If not that, then treat yourself to a delicious dinner somewhere. Life is too short to be around assholes. You deserve better. No apologies.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:30 PM on November 21, 2011

Joining in on the "please don't go" chorus. Seriously, I've been counseled and myself have counseled many a recovering alcoholic not to go to such gatherings for a couple of years, at least.

I spent two Thanksgivings serving trays at the shelter. The next twenty, I held open house for all the sober friends who weren't going home for the holidays, especially inviting those who were newly or almost newly sober.

It does get better and one day you will know how to deal with such situations but, until you're strong enough to get the toxic relatives out of your life, don't go near them. One day you'll be able to recognize what is poison for you and be perfectly able not to swallow it. Right now, I suspect you're not quite there.

I would not suggest that you take a tranquilizer to help you cope. This isn't an unavoidable situation for which medication is a logical solution. This is probably part of the reasons you drank in the first place. It's much more important to keep your therapy and recovery on track than it is to go to Thanksgiving with toxic people. Make any excuse you can and stay away.
posted by Anitanola at 5:36 PM on November 21, 2011

You're going to leave this dinner as someone who kicked alcohol and kicked cigarettes and who is doing awesome things. They're going to leave this dinner as the assholes they always have been. Keep your focus on that and don't even bother looking down, where they are. They actually don't matter. They have no power over you or anyone else.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:20 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

'Don't go' is sometimes not an option.

If they start giving you shit, you barely acknowledge them. If some acknowledgement is necessary, a quick 'uh huh' is the only response you should make and then you speak to someone else about something else. If they force the issue add 'mm hmm' or a similar noise to your repertoire and then start talking to someone else. You also don't need to make eye contact with them at any time. Studiously avoid looking at or talking to them, unless it reaches the point where they just not backing off. In that case I would fix them with an unblinking stare and say 'how very rude' or something similar in a quiet voice and then talk to someone else or leave the room for a brief moment. Don't be worried about leaving the room for whatever reason (real or imagined - ie. quick whizz, checking on something in the kitchen, etc).

Give yourself time to go to the bathroom for a quick sob if it all gets too much and then wipe those tears away, blow your nose, fix your hair and when you go back, talk to someone else who doesn't give you shit. I have a horrible tendency to get very teary in this kind of situation so I make sure I always have a hankie on hand and a willingness to lie about allergies/sinus/cold in order to deflect questions about watering or red eyes. It is very embarrassing to cry in front of people who get their thrills from making you uncomfortable, I know.

Are you close to your mother? I'm assuming that she will be there. If so, have you spoken to her about how these people make you feel? Presuming she's not one of them, she could be your best ally in deflecting uncomfortable moments by directing the conversation in another way or asking you to help with something in another room. If your boyfriend can go with you he really should. Strong allies are what you need in this situation (with an understanding that you really don't want to escalate things with these people, particularly in front of everyone else).

Good luck and remember, it's only one day. It'll all be over soon.
posted by h00py at 10:13 PM on November 21, 2011

Not going is always an option - the question is whether it is worth it. Here, it well might be. What about planning a brief stop-by? You have some other obligation to get to (bf's family maybe?) and if you talk to your mom about it ahead of time, she's likely to understand.

I'm also curious why the others haven't noticed this dynamic?
posted by canine epigram at 6:28 AM on November 22, 2011

My concern with not going is what if you feel like these bullies kept you away? Maybe a middle ground is go if BF can go with you as a cheerleader and don't go if he can't .

And how much would not going disappoint people you care about?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:44 AM on November 22, 2011

I can so relate. I felt totally raw for a very long time as well. My therapist made the analogy of a tree that had been sick and had all of its diseased bark ripped off and was raw and exposed until the new healthy bark grew back. It was exactly how I felt. It took me a long while to feel healed. All my coping skills and the walls I had built up in dealing with life had been torn away. Some things that helped me were making sure that I had support and people that knew if I was going into a tough situation so that they would be ready to pick up a phone if I called. Also an escape plan so if I had to leave quick, I could. Sometimes just knowing I can get away if I want to can ease my mind. A safe zone. Is there a bedroom or a place you can get away from crowds? I can't tell you not to go, but I know I had to distance myself from a lot of my family in the beginning until I developed better coping skills. Practicing focusing on positive things helps me a lot. Best of luck!
posted by heatherly at 12:57 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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