Christmas and anxiety

If you’re anything like me, Christmas and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Being around family is extremely stressful on the regular, even more so when they have heightened expectations of the holiday at the front of their minds.

I’m proud to have survived yesterday. I kept it cool, calm and collected the entire day. I wanted to set some people straight, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I knew the fight it would start would not be worth it. I wanted to remind people of expectation versus reality, but I didn’t. When their reality doesn’t live up to expectations, that’ll be for them to figure out. I don’t have to tell them about it.

I took a brief, one hour hiatus to hide in my room and calm down. Family is stressful, and I’m a firm believer that if you need to take a break, you should take a break.

I survived. No one fought. No one left in a fit. No one broke any dishes or threw away any presents or any of the other things that have happened in previous years in my family’s home. Everyone just existed, cohesively.

Next year, though… next year I’m taking Knight and we’re going to Mexico. Or, somewhere far, far away.

Hope everyone had a wonderful, stress-free or least-stress-possible Christmas!

50 thoughts on “Christmas and anxiety

  1. I appreciate this post. I always dread Christmas season with my extended family. It makes me feel like an unreasonable witch / grinch. I’m my case the dread is always worse than the actual event…which is usually fine. Its never as terrible as i expect. But that’s kind of the nature of anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the nature of anxiety. That’s good though, that it’s never as bad as you think it is. Because honestly, if it were worse, it would probably be pretty fucking dreadful. Right? Right.

      P.S. I almost didn’t recognize this was you because I was looking at the icon and not the name. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find this a bit strange, I’ve seen posts like yours a few times, mentioning taking a break from family on Christmas, and justifying themselves. Obviously my Christmases must have been different, but it almost sounds like in other families you have to sign some sort of contract, to do a particular thing or be a particular way on Christmas day. It’s hard to imagine not taking a break from any gathering, over that amount of time, especially if it’s family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my mom has a lot of rules. Her rules is why I don’t like being around her on Christmas.

      Rules for Christmas:
      1. No tvs, computers or screens. No books, newspapers or magazines or anything anyone can use as a distraction from being present.
      2. No driving. No walking. No leaving the house for any point during the day because, and I quote ‘you owe it to your family to stick around for one day per year’
      3. Females have to cook and do the dishes, males have to… do whatever it is that males do… watch?
      4. No talking about what you’re going to do on Boxing Day because you shouldn’t be planning for the future, but rather, appreciating the present.
      5. Eat at 2:00 on the dot. If you’re not in the door at 2:00, people are eating without you.
      6. Everyone has to be awake by 8:00 am because it’s Christmas, and we should all have breakfast with each other.
      7. You’re not allowed to open presents until everyone has arrived. So, if my brother and his wife don’t show up until 1:30 for food at 2:00, then there’s no opening presents until 1:30.

      This is just a few of them.
      My mom gets so wrapped up in making rules for everyone to follow that she gets upset at the stupidest and silliest things… then she pouts and talks about how her children don’t appreciate her. It’s a vicious circle…

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  3. Your post brings me back to a particularly delightful Christmas where I was a royal bitch to my sister and she whipped the television remote across the room directly at my head. LOL We joke about it now but family get-togethers were always dramatic in our households. Thankfully, with time and age, we tend to be on our best behaviour at gatherings these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That story sounds just like my family on the annual. Last Christmas I spent with Knight and opted to not see my family because the Christmas prior my father threw a beer bottle at my head. Given what happened last time I was here for Christmas, and what he’d been like the past few days, I was worried we were doomed for a repeat.

      That’s good to hear that your family has learned to simmer down with age. Hope my family figures that out soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eh. It’s kind of par for the course for my dad. He usually ends up throwing something at someone. He didn’t do it on Christmas Day, but people will be here until New Year’s Day so we’ll see if he can hold out long enough to break his streak.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m happy that you have survived and I”m feeling like I managed to survive as well even if mentally a bit tired. I’m wondering how is it possible that it’s so hard to enjoy family time together and we need to focus all our efforts on not fighting. Everyone tries to behave well, but we all feel the tension hanging on in the air. What’s wrong with all of us nowadays? How did we become stressed about something which was supposed to be a time full of joy?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, to put it bluntly, I get stressed because my mother puts incessant rules on everything, right down to when and what we’re able to eat in an effort to make it perfect, and my dad… he just opens his mouth. As a racist and a homophobe and a xenophobe, usually when he’s talking I’m either trying to politely tell him to keep it to himself, or we’re arguing.

      Christmas has always been a very joyous time for me, when I am not at my parents house. Is that a horrible thing to say? lol

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  5. Maybe a Vegas Christmas?! lol. Mine was pretty stress free, and I made a new best friend in my two-year-old niece. However, I still have a brunch with extended family later in the week, so that might be where I need to take my hour hiatus haha. Glad you survived!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did Vegas for my 30th birthday and it was so fun. I would love to do it for Christmas some time. It may sound selfish but my favourite Christmas’ over the years have all been the ones where I spent it on my own. I know people say it’s about family, but some people just are better on their own, ya know?

      That being said, I’m glad to hear that your niece is your new partner in crime! Hope you’re enjoying your trip with your fam! It’ll be over before you know it!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Same to you! Glad to hear that you made it through. Sometimes, the salvation of hiding in one’s room is the best thing for everyone. Hope the rest of your week goes smoothly. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This morning, I burst into tears on my way to a family walk which my wife had organised without any discussion or my consent. That feeling of powerlessness and anxiety was overwhelming. Thankfully the walk was enjoyable and the day got better.

    Why can’t everyone just be allowed to do what they want to do? Why can’t connections and conversations happen organically, without rigid schedules and structure?

    To me, lots of this seems to come down to a pathological need for control. And I hate it.

    I slept for much of the afternoon and evening and awoke feeling somewhat normal.

    I just find it really hard to understand why some people can only have a good time if they are forcing other people to do what they want to do. It’s like toddlers saying, “Play with me now, or I won’t like you any more”

    I’ve been asking myself recently why I keep staying up until something like 1 to 3am, making myself really tired the next day. I think a lot of it is because I finally feel free… everyone else is in bed and I can do what I want and not get distracted by other people’s noise and other people’s demands. And… that’s OK, I don’t need to feel bad for it.

    Next year, maybe I’ll arrange to be alone and undisturbed for 90% of the Christmas period. That would be bliss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry about the family walk. If your family is anything like mine, that would be a stressful-as-hell event to take part in.

      Anxiety creeps in so easily when it comes to family stuff – and you’re so right that certain people will be like ‘I’m controlling this, do as I say or you’ll all be sorry!’

      I totally hear you on the staying up late thing. I do it all the time. After everyone goes to bed is when I feel I’m able to most be myself.

      Next Year? Take your wife on a holiday next year. Honestly, there’s something so freeing about being just the two of you. Last year Knight anId I did our own thing for Christmas and it was the best Christmas I’ve ever had.

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  7. It’s a relief to find out that you didn’t have any fighting in your house and nobody was hurt. Unfortunately, it was nothing but drama, fighting, and swearing at my parents’ house. I feel like writing a rant about it…. maybe. Now I’m at my in laws and it’s a bit more sane here. It’s loud but no fighting at least.

    I’m honestly happy that Christmas is over and that we can all move on from this holiday. 🎄✨

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Christmas didn’t use to be stressful, but I felt it this time around. I guess expectations comes with age, from your loved ones, whether they are helpful or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am glad your Christmas was good and not as bad as other years.

    Our was lovely and enjoyable.

    I just made my attitude go with the flow and just enjoy, be light and easy and stay above. It ended being one the best christmases after a very long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just got done sleeping off my trip home like a bad hangover. It’s a relief to know I’m not completely alone in this, I was starting to feel bad. What’s worse is having a toxic family member present for the entire duration of your holiday trip back home.
    Thanks for sharing, I hope you find a lovely was to release your stress from your holiday season.
    xo Bri

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You might find it different than your own experiences, but I live in Southeastern Europe and (as in Southern Europe – Italy, Spain etc.) it is rather ordinary to live with your family even after you are married. Some rent apartments or buy them, but I believe that is not a majority. Me and my family live as a community and get along fairly well, but at Christmas, the anxiety can creep in unnoticed and fights may ensue. I believe it has to do with the holiday season because we keep our expectations, if not high, then that we have to spend a completely peaceful and a loving, happy day/evening. Those expectations can be a burden and provoke us into anger because of some rather insignificant things. I believe that the problem is that at Christmas Eve/Christmas, we feel obliged to be something that on that particular day, we would not usually feel/be obliged to feel. This stress and anxiety can be evaded, I believe, if we keep our expectations reasonable and just enjoy the small things, without enormous expectations of having a completely peaceful day. I congratulate you on your composure, I believe that with the right attitude, we can evade the proneness to anger.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This reminds me of one major holiday, when my friends and I went to a bar after meeting our various family obligations. The bar was freaking *packed*. My theory is that some people have really stressful relatives.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I wish you to get to the time when the holidays and being around the family will be joyful, not stressful. I know I was lucky in some sense not to have any family around when I came to the US. I built my own family with our own traditions, and love to each other. I wish you to get to the same place eventually 🙂

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  14. I am home for Christmas after so many years of missing Christmas celebrations at home, I have also been away from home for 2years. We also have rules that suck and actually I hate that I can’t be myself around my family! I was anxious coming home, since it’s like I don’t know them. Some topics u cannot talk openly! I came to atleast see if there’s something new I can learn or know about them!

    I stayed at home, there was no drama and since I am no longer a Christian, i did not expect much!

    Ps, I love your work here, I can’t wait to read more(before and after)

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  15. Proud of you Vee. With God’s Grace I love being with family and friends and they are all so loving and kind.
    Mexico is in my wish list too. All the best for you and your Knight 😊🤗

    Like

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