Xmas + Bipolar + Diabetes = STRESS

Xmas is hardest time of the year for me. My extended family that live close is way more people than I can handle at once and I am expected to get together with them all 3 times in 4 days. The food is never a problem and there is another type 1. The problem is that with all those people taking at the same time it always drives me into extreme manias and I always embarrass myself and then get very depressed shortly after that. I can’t fake happy around all those happy smiling people for long, I try to find a quiet corner with 1-2 people but there is the big meal and that is when I come apart.

If they were strangers I would have no problem but they all know I’m crazy so I feel I am in the center ring.

Anyone have ideas, other than extra drugs beforehand (which I do)???


That’s a hard one, Done. I’m guessing you are not ok with just skipping the gathering? Perhaps skipping some of them? Three times in 4 days is a lot of stress all at once. Your emotional well-being might be worth skipping some of the commitments.

But for what you need to get through, planning ahead is a great idea, and if you work with a therapist, perhaps he or she can help you problem solve some approaches that might work because they know you and your triggers.

I think the “finding a quiet corner” approach is good, to limit the stimulation. Perhaps you could extend that to the sit down meal by picking someone you feel supported by and planning to sit next to that person. That can help in general, just knowing that person is there and they know you are having a hard time and can send you a smile or a word of support. Sounds like you know yourself well so you can recognize when you are getting overwhelmed and take a break. Going out into the yard, or looking at the stars, calling someone in your support system for a phone check-in, even just going to the bathroom for a few minutes and doing deep breathing/centering exercises. Don’t worry if people think you’re rude, you can just excuse yourself and do what you need to do for YOU. Having a way home so you can leave early if you feel the need and perhaps just planning for a shorter length of time for your visit. My guess is it’s your own expectations that you will act “crazy” that are worse than whatever they may think.

After the get-together, go home, cry, mutter, having a long hot bath and get into a good book, movie, or do something with your cat, family, whatever, so you don’t let yourself obsess about the party and the things you said and other people’s responses. Or you can just go to Cancun, and skip the whole deal!!!

my sister has this kind of problem insomuch as when she gets to stressed she starts thinking people are watching her following her and she flies off the handle with everyone, we had at first believed she was part schizo I am pretty sure that is spelled incorrectly and forgive me I am not making fun but the thing is I found out when her immediate family start stressing her out she does the same thing if i can be there with her she can handle it much better because she knows I am not judging her I am just there for her. Is there any one person who listens to you and understands what you are going through someone that helps you to feel secure? Before you go ask that person to stay kind of close and when you think you are going to blow up step outside for a minute and regather your thoughts and keep telling yourself it’s ok I am fine just a couple more hours. Also if there is a big meal it may be if you indulge and eat more carbs that throws your sugars up quickly and probably helps your personality to change very quickly, when my sugars go extreme quickly it is like dr jeckle meets the witch of the west. oh and my sister has diabetes too, i have diabetes and manic depression and so much more I just wont even go into it but try to find someone you can use as a staff someone who loves you and will support you through the holiday. Or just tell them you can not go this year and take a break if they ask why just tell them you are not feeling well it is not a lie and don’t let people guilt you into stuff, going through the ups and downs are much harder on you and kicks off the depression. I hope something here works for you hon I will be praying you might check out the book called boundaries it helps you to set up boundaries for the people in your life it is a great book and tool. Much love hope I helped some April

Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend

honestly, i wouldn’t subject myself to that. i might show up for all 3 events, but i would carefully plan when i showed up and when i left. limiting the amount of time to an hour or a bit more might keep the anxiety lower without feeling that you’ve let yourself (or anyone else) down.

one thing i do when i HAVE to show up is to take charge of something. if i have a focus i can focus on that. its not a control thing, its a diversion thing.


That’s a great suggestion, boedica. I also think it’s great that your wife gives you a signal, Don, and you are able to slow yourself down. It also might work if she sat next to you and touched your hand which you would notice sooner and would also be a calming influence. You also said that nobody really knows how you feel, Don. You mentioned being in therapy, but have you ever attended a group? Also, many areas now have Drop-In Centers or “Clubhouses” run by consumers which is a great place to gather, whether formally in a group or informally to socialize with other people who DO know what it is like.

Great diabetes control, btw!