Post # 1
My Grandma has been hosting a family Christmas party for as long as I remember and I am now 32.
The back story: I have anxiety and depression plus a history of panic attacks and suicidual thoughts. I also have self esteem issues and struggle with my weight.
The past few months have been huge, my fiance worked interstate for 4 months and my fiancé had his stoma reversal surgery a month ago and is still recovering. This past week I have had a shit week at work plus I haven’t been sleeping very well and to top it off my fiance and I had a big fight on Thursday night.
My fiance didn’t attend the party as Sydney was having a heatwave, he still has an open wound healing from the surgery and with two pugs he decided to stay home in the air conditioning. He has been having a bit of pain in the old stoma site too.
I get to the party a little late, we had lunch then we did presents. My cousins and I had fun with our secret santa game. It was getting late and I had an hour and a half trip home. My aunts wanted all the grandchildren to get a photo with grandma (I don’t like getting my photo taken), it took ages to get everyone in then 5 different cameras came out and that was that. I moved to the other side of the room and my aunt announces that we need to get together for more photos and told me to get back in, she started to get pushy when I said no. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable (recently gained 20 kilos) that I started to have a panic attack, freaked out, made a bit of a scene trying to get my bag knocking over presents, running out the door and slamming it on my way out.
I got in the car having a full on panic attack bawling my eyes out about to drive off then noticing I had left my phone in the house. My parents and sister came out and sat in my car with the engine running and air on going to talk and calm me down. I didn’t go bavk inside and my family went to get my phone for me.
Now I know I was probably on the edge of breaking and I should have listened to my body that morning and stayed at home.
I feel as though I will never be able to attend another family event again and I am feeling super embarrassed about my out burst. I do believe when I said no twice that I shouldn’t have been pressured further to get into a photo.
Not sure what I want from this post but needed to get it off my chest.
One of my aunts who was pushy has texted to apologise for upsetting me.
Post # 2
Aw bee, I’m so sorry this happened to you. You have nothing to be ashamed of, you got overwhelmed and it got the best of you. Does your family know you struggle with anxiety and depression? If they don’t, they probably didn’t know where the limit was and when to stop pushing. That’s not to say that they should have pressured you regardless (seriously annoying, my in laws are huge picture takers and it drives all of us crazy, so I completely understand), but they may have been in the dark about what’s been going on.
As uncomfortable as it may be, I would recommend calling or sitting down w your parents alone -you don’t have to explain yourself to everyone- and tell them what happened like you just told us. I’m sure they will understand. It sucks to have to talk about these things but we have to face ourselves head-on and take reponsibility for our behavior no matter how embarrassing it is. That is just part of the anxiety, and sometimes things like this happen when your emotions get triggered/overstimulated. It’s how we respond to it, that really matters. The best thing you can do is acknowledge it and bring it to the light, to take some of the shame out of it and learn to move on from these things. You need to forgive yourself.
Post # 3
Are you getting any help for your anxiety and depression etc? It sounds like you’re at breaking point if you’re having panic attacks over being asked to be in a family photo twice. If not please get help, and don’t worry about your family, just tell them you overacted as you’re having a tough time and I’m sure they will understand.
Post # 4
I’m so sorry that happened to you. I suffer from anxiety and understand how crippling it can be. I’m sorry you felt pressured. I hope you get the opportunity to rest and relax for a couple of days and look after yourself.
Post # 5
Regarding feeling embarassed about going to another family event — family should accept you at your best and your worst. I assume they’re aware of your anxiety and depression and so they should understand the “why” behind what happened and if anything try to be more accommodating and understanding in the future. Just like you wouldn’t feel embarrassed if you had a cold and was constantly coughing or sneezing, mental illness is also an illness and it’s not enbarassing to be outwardly unwell.
Post # 6
lt’s ok dear OP, or at least it will be soon. Don’t think and overthink and ruminate over it all, it won’t help, just the opposite in fact. Send a text to them all saying sorry about the freak out, it was a panic attack brought on by stress and in no way related to them ( yes, the photo requests set it off but no point in going on about that now and it won’t endear you to those who don’t mean harm but don’t understand) Tell them you are feeling a bit better now and hope to be even better with some help . Wish them all a Happy New Year and call it done.
Post # 7
There’s no reason to feel embarrassed. Your aunt shouldn’t have pushed. An adult should only need to be told no once. If anything she should be embarrassed for being so inconsiderate and pushy. I definitely wouldn’t be sending a text to apologize to your family, you have nothing to be sorry about.
Post # 8
I hope this doesn’t come off too harsh … if being asked to take another photo makes you physically act out and get this upset, that’s pretty inappropriate. Are you in therapy or under dr rx meds for these issues? If not I think you should definitely absolutely looking into it.
Post # 9
If I were you I’d send a text to the aunts or whoever and apologize and let them know you were just extremely stressed and you’ve had a lot going on. Yeah maybe your aunt was pushy but at 32 years old you don’t get to knock over presents and slam doors because you don’t want to take a photo.
someone earlier made an analogy to having a cold. No you wouldn’t be embarrassed for coughing and sneezing, but you would be expected to manage your symptoms in a way that minimized problems for others (like you’d cough into a tissue, etc). You don’t necessarily need to be embarrassed by this but if you have a mental illness you do need to have appropriate coping mechanisms.
Post # 10
I think you can still go to family events! Your aunt apologized and having a panic attack is nothing to be ashamed of especially since you sensed it coming and removed yourself from the situation. And honestly even without a serious anxiety disorder I get pissy when people waste too much time trying to get photos too so I would have said no to taking more at that point too!
Post # 11
I guarantee that if you coughed or sneezed on people they wouldn’t take it well. I’m also sure that freaking out about a picture caused some raised eyebrows as well. You can manage the symptoms of a panic attack and you should learn how to do that before they occur. If things happened as you describe the stress level was really pretty low and yet you still had a meltdown. Perhaps you should look into inpatient therapy before you do something you might really regret.
Post # 12
Your family has known you for your entire life. Unless your anxiety and depression are relatively new, and that’s why you’re struggling to cope, I’m sure this isn’t the first time they’ve seen some manifestation of this kind of behavior from you. I say that to say you should not be embarrassed about your family seeing who you are, even if you weren’t at your best.
That said, unless your anxiety and depression are new, you should have some coping skills in place and the ability to recognize when you are getting flooded before you have a full on melt down. No, your aunt shouldn’t have pushed but you also are an adult and rather than just going and hiding in a corner, you could have gone to sit down, you could have said “I’m out and watching from here!”, you could have said “I’ve had enough and I’m not going to be in any more pictures”, you could have left the room for a few moments to take some deep breaths before returning or before asking someone to bring you your belongings. There are a lot of ways to navigate it. So maybe that can be your focus for the coming year so that you can feel comfortable attending your family gathering next year, knowing that you will be taking care of yourself as needed.
When I was younger, I used to be extremely rigid, attempting to control my environment to deal with my own anxiety and fear. I thought I presented a pretty good front (and for the most part I did- to strangers and acquaintances. My parents got so many compliments for so many years about what a great kid I was.). When I was about 23, I had a conversation with my father where he laughingly said, “Baby, I’ve known for a long time that you were neurotic.” It was really upsetting to me, at first, I didn’t like that he had a less than perfect image of me in his head, but then I realized that it was true (I was hella neurotic, though that term is outdated) and he wasn’t saying he didn’t love me or he wasn’t proud of me and my accomplishments. He just saw all of me, even the parts I was trying to hide. That isn’t a bad thing.
Post # 13
while there are absolutely ways to manage a panic attack, mental illnesses aren’t rational. Sometimes I can get ahead of my panic attacks and manage them, and sometimes I can’t. Medication and therapeutic treatment has helped, but isn’t ever 100% effective at warding off the feelings of panic and anxiety. It sounds like OP was attempting to handle hers appropriately by leaving the situation that was triggering her, but unfortunately her family member (unknowingly) pushed her over the edge. I don’t think this experience indicates that she needs inpatient therapy at all. It sounds like she’s very well aware of her struggles, and simply tried to push through for the sake of the holidays with her family… and it sadly backfired on her.
Post # 14
- Wedding: June 2007 - City, State
that sounds miserable. I hate when people are pushy about pictures. No means no Aunt Karen…leave me alone! Also Christmas in the summer sounds dreadful.
Post # 15
Don’t feel that you can never show your face again at family events. They are your family for a reason, and should understand all the crap you have been going through. You are only human and one no should be enough for them to understand that you were down. You did what you thought was best and showed up to the event, even though you weren’t in the right mindset. You are a strong lady, don’t let them make you feel any different. I hope your life takes a turn for the best. Cheers!