Easter, like other holidays, can hold great expectations for everyone. It can be a time for families to get together or to take a short break away.
Unfortunately, it can be a time of great stress and difficulty especially for those who suffer from poor mental health due, in part, to the pressures which surround such events.
The stress of having a house full of relatives and friends brings on feelings of anxiety which can spiral into feelings of panic. Having to cater for extra people who are all looking to you to provide a special meal can seem like a mountain to climb. For people who have phobias it may feel impossible to be surrounded by others who may be unaware of your fears or who do not understand.
Your loved ones need you to be with them either by visiting them or by them coming to see you, or maybe they expect you to accompany them on a trip away for a break. For many with mental health conditions this need for you to be with them in unfamiliar surroundings can feel uncomfortable or downright impossible.
You feel the need to comply with what is expected of you, you beat yourself up inside because you feel unable to fulfil what others want from you. Your feelings can then spiral into despair as this joyous time turns into a nightmare.
Stop and think about what you want, of what is best for you. Are you not as deserving of a great Easter break as everyone else? Of course you are and your needs are as important as the needs of others. When we have mental health problems we try to compensate for what we feel are our shortcomings. We try so hard to prevent our shortcomings from having a negative impact on the ones we love. But it would make them happy to see you happy and you are responsible for your own happiness.
If you are faced with challenges which make you feel uncomfortable or seem unrealistic, just say no. It’s a small word but it can sometimes seem impossible to use. You don’t have to trek across the country to visit relatives or open your house up to them. You don’t have to make excuses either. Just explain that you are currently having difficulties because of your condition and can’t make it. If you had been diagnosed with cancer or if you went down with the flu, everyone would understand, so it is their problem and not yours if they cannot accept your mental illness in the same way.
Easter should be such a joyous and peaceful time and it can be. If you do have a mental health disorder, perhaps it’s time to come clean with others about it and how it affects your everyday life. You just might be surprised at their understanding and kindness.
We hope your Easter holiday is filled with happiness and peace.