Holidays are hard. Crowded schedules, family expectations, self expectations, and physical and emotional drain.
For our loved ones who suffer with brain disorders that cause emotional distress, all the stress of the holidays is even worse. While we are planning joyous celebrations, our ill family member may be just trying to deal with the daily struggles of the illness.
One of the definitions of struggle is “make great physical effort.” It is great effort for someone suffering with a mental illness. Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy is hard. Often they give up because the struggle is too hard.
Unwittingly we have expectations for our loved ones during the holidays. This year, maybe this year, nothing will happen. Maybe this year, there won’t be an “incident.” Maybe this year, everyone will enjoy the holiday gathering. Maybe this year, it will be a Hallmark® holiday.
Expectations from extended family can even be higher. Those who aren’t with our loved one all year don’t understand the struggle. Often they are overcome by the stigma of mental illness. Or, they fall victim to misinformation.
Whatever your holiday celebration, it can be anything but holly, jolly. During this month, I’ll be sharing some tips to help you and help our loved one survive the struggle of the holidays.