Author Topic: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?  (Read 2732 times)

[Buddie]

Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« on: October 28, 2010, 12:12:06 pm »
Hi. Some of you know that as I finished my taper last November before Thanksgiving, I had to deal with a difficult family situation and very sick father.  Fortunately my father recovered but I have not spoken to my brother in almost a year now.  I'm going back out there in a couple weeks to attend a family event (just before Thanksgiving).  Despite being 11 months post taper, I hope my almost healed nervous system will handle the stress of being thrown back into a potentially dysfunctional environment.   Many of you have been very supportive of this situation on my blog "under 4mg and chipping away" and it was much appreciated.

 I have come to find that I'm not alone in having family members who are less than understanding or supportive of the benzo taper process.  I have not forgotten my abrasive sister in law yelling at me last Fall during a family meeting about how best to take care of my elderly father- "why listen to you, you're weak and an addict". Needless to say, it was pretty cruel.  She didn't know that I was about ten days away from my step off date ;).

Do any of you have supportive or unsupportive family members during your taper or post taper?  How do you cope?  Are some of you gonna be thrown into the lion's den over Thanksgiving or other upcoming holidays?  This time of year can lead to very big lows and highs.  Sometimes its a time that can bring up regrets or other emotional issues.  I wonder how it might impact your withdrawal in terms of anxiety, depression... and how you might deal with it?

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« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 10:25:07 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Withdrawal and Dealing with Dysfunctional Holiday Family Get Togethers
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 08:09:08 pm »
Hi [...], sorry to hear your family was less then supportive during your taper. Also so sorry to hear about last year's holiday and how mean your sister in law was. I find that many do not understand what I am going through and it is difficult for them to understand because they have never been through this. I hope this Thanksgiving is better for you, try and ignore the ugliness and just try to have a nice holiday. Let us know how it goes this year, hope it is a nice holiday for you. My family is just very loud and doesn't ask much how I am. They assume since I look fine, that I must be fine. They don't really understand this process either, but so far noone has been ugly about it yet.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 08:50:15 pm »
Hi cantwait.  Fortunately my wife was extremely supportive and I feel very lucky that she was as understanding and encouraging during my taper and post taper as she's been.  I have to be in California next month for an event honoring my father.  My brother will likely be there with his wife.  I have not seen them since my brother assaulted me at my father's house back in January, 2010.  He was mad that I had not supported his idea for my father to move out near him after my dad got out of the hospital a few weeks before Thanksgiving last Fall.  My 88 year old father has been able to live semi independently in his own home the last year with caregivers who I interviewed and hired :thumbsup:.  My brother argued every step of the way, saying he had to be near him, that caregivers would never work out...   In part, I believe that added conflict and stress led to my getting Shingles last January, about six weeks after my taper ended.  As I tapered my last bit of valium last November, that is what was going on with my brother and sister in law.  As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of all that again.

The holiday season is almost here. I am very happy to be off benzos and I have much to be grateful for.  Yet I have some apprehension about seeing my brother and his family next month.  I was thinking there are probably others here on forum who have family members they may not want to see over the holidays as they continue to taper, but often have a family get together or other events that are hard to avoid around this time of year.  

I thought I'd see if anyone else has something to share about how they get through it.  Thanksgiving to New Years can be a depressing or difficult time for many even without benzos to worry about.  Thanks for your post CW. I can relate to the "you look fine so you must be fine" attitude.  It's come across with some friends along the way during my post benzo freedom.  Anyhow, maybe there are some others who will post something about their family situation and how they plan to get through the holiday season.

Best,

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« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 02:47:06 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Withdrawal and Dealing with Family at the Holidays
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2010, 12:09:11 am »
Hi [...],
Geeze.  Assaulted.  I'm sorry you had to go through that, but it sure sounds like you did the right thing for your Father.  And you are doing so much better now.  Follow your advice to me about this situation.  :thumbsup:  I've been assaulted by my brother as well.  Many times so you can see why I don't want to participate with these people.  Just five minutes ago I was telling my Dad who is 93 and comes to check on me, I'm just not going to do it. Like you said it's hard enough benzo or no benzo with these family situations.  I wish you the very best of luck with this and feel you will do fine.  Like you also said, if anything you can just walk away. 
The Holidays aren't what they used to be.  When I was out at his house the other night, I needed Kleenex and he literally threw the box at me.  I can't handle stuff like that right now, or anytime actually.  But you are MUCH stronger than me at this point.  You can handle this. 

Thanks again,
Mamie
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2010, 02:15:22 pm »
Thanks Mamie.  Sounds like your brother and mine could be twins :laugh:.  Does that make us related ;D?Seriously though, sorry to hear you've also had to deal with a sibling who has not been supportive, to say the least. Glad to hear your father is 93 and in good health :thumbsup:.  The holidays can be a time of such joy and renewal, yet there seem to be family or friends who have a way of bringing you down sometimes.  I look forward to other posts about how y'all feel about tapering through and coping through the holidays...

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« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 02:47:25 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2010, 02:59:22 pm »
Fortunately the only family I have around here are my sister and brother-in-law and my oldest niece (who is only a year younger than me!). They don't even really know what is going on with me with the benzo stuff. I kind of told my sis but I can tell she doesn't really understand. She is just concerned that I am going to be ok.

She knows how bad the insomnia was that led me to the Xanax and how I nearly went totally off the "deep end" when my hubby got cancer. All she is worried about is if I am ok. Fortunately my family is not mean spirited and even if they don't know what is going on and don't understand they still love me.

My hubby's family on the other hand...he has not spoken to any of them for years and years. Hubby and I have been together for over 16 years altogether and I have never met his mother who is a alive and well and lives about 6 hours from us. He says his family are a bunch of nuerotic (sp?) a-holes and he wants nothing to do with them.

My hubby's family is me and all of our good friends we have made along the way. Just because you were born into this family doesn't mean you have to associate with them or have them in your lives at all if they treat you badly.

I can see how the situation with your father could make it more difficult for you to break ties with your awful brother and his equally nasty wife though. Just try to have as little contact with them as possible and don't let them suck you into a confrontation you don't need. Stay calm and stick to your guns.

Don't know if this was helpful at all, just wanted to say to try and enjoy the holidays with your lovely wife and son (I believe you said you have a son) and try not to let the evil relatives get to you.  :)
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 01:34:47 pm »
Thanks Tydy.  I am sorry to hear about your husband's family situation and cancer.  Hope he is doing ok now.  Thanks for the advice about my situation.  You're right, they do try to suck me into confrontations, it's their nature. I will disengage, walk away if I have to.  Yes, I have a son and wife.  Used to have a dog too but he died a few years ago :( (German Shepherd).  Love your wolf avatar by the way!

Best,

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Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2010, 02:02:00 pm »
Hi [...] - sorry to read about your troubles with your brother and sister in law.  You are going home to honor your father - right?  So, just
try to avoid them and stay above the fray.......whatever they say, ignore it and just get to a  place in your head where they can't hurt you.
I know that is so hard to do - my brain couldn't do it, but I am only 8 weeks benzo free and my brain has absolutely no censors or regulators to help me avoid a reaction to what people say to me.....it just goes in and I react in a way that is harmful to me and that delays my recovery and that is so bad.  So i try to stay away from people for the most part....especially ones I know don't understand.  It means I am along alot, but that is OK. 
     I realize that is not your situation and so I think you just have to steel yourself against them and their attitudes and comments, if it is at all possible.  Try not to be around them - will you have to have Thanksgiving dinner with them?  I would avoid that at all costs - even if it means you and your immediate family have to go out and eat......I would not put myself at the mercy of their nastiness.  When you are REALLY STRONG and totally healed, then you can deal with them. 
     I do not plan to have Thanksgiving with any family this year, except my husband.  I'm not up to cooking and I could never sit through a dinner at someone else's house so that's just how it will be for me this year.  I accept it.  Both my children, who are grown, have their significant other's families house to go to.  For christmas, I don't know what will happen.  I am [...] that I will be a bit better by then, but still don't plan to have a big Christmas - maybe not even a tree this year.  My total concentration is on My Healing! 
      I wish you the best in dealing with these cruel people - you have been doing wonderful so far and just STAY STRONG ....... You have been through alot and you will make the best of this trying time coming up.
Love from [...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2010, 04:23:17 am »
Hi V!
Great idea for a thread as usual...
First off, let me say that it sadens me terribly that certain family members treated you so cruelly... You, V, are an upstanding member of this forum... You are compassionate, caring, and give 110% of yourself in your drive to help others! And that's not even including the help, love, support and work that you did for your father.
I just wanted to let you know how I felt about that V, and to say that I really do pray that our loving God will reach into those who have hurt you (and are probably hurting themsleves as well) and give them new hearts and a conversion of mind.
These are my thoughts about my current family situation and how it relates...
I grew up with a rather dysfunctional family. For some strange reasons, it never seemed to translate into a stressful Holiday season. As an married adult with kids, I have seen 2 Holiday seasons that were what I would call struggles for me to maintain sanity.
the first was when my father died. He died on Dec 6 2007. Ironically, Dec 6 just happens to be St Nicholas Day. That entire month of December was so shot for me due to ongoing issues that included having to make long trips down to San Jose through bad weather, having to deal with family coming in (some of whom were not on speaking terms), my father's completely cluttered house, having to make arrangements with personnel from his work in order to have a memorial, desparately trying to locate credit cards to shut down accounts (of which he had many), trying to figure out how living, cleaning arrangements were going to be made, trying to figure out just what the heck duties I had as an administrator of his estate, etc, etc, etc...
The second Holiday season that was a complete nightmare was Dec 2008. This was when I developed inter dose w/d from the klonopin and was trying to drop my A/D at the same time. I don't think I can put into words just how sick I got trying to do that. It was horrible!
The good news for me now, is that I no longer have much contact with the troublemakers in the family. My stepgrandfather was cruel to my wife and kids and I the last time we visited them at their house during the Holiday season. He simply would not aknowledge us when we were there. My kids had even drawn pictures for him... It was sad. :'( Later, we found out that my sister (the alocoholic) had  been having conversations with him about me saying that I was trying to kick her and her drunk boyfriend out of my dad's house and also that I was not doing anything to help them out.
The truth was that they had no right to stay there and were simply loitering... but my stepgrandfather being the ignorant person that he is did not bother to try to consider the source of his misinformation.
And so it goes... I am fortunate to have a pretty supportive family around me now and the ones who have gotten ugly, I have no further contact with. I realize that this isn't an option for everybody... Sometimes you have to deal with difficult family members whether you want to or not.
I can definetley feel the pain of having to put up with that kind of a situation even if I'm not currently going through it. It just seems that there are some people in the world who seem to thrive on hatred, turmoil and uggliness. I have seen it in my dad's family. It's like people who have an addiction to hatefulness. In the end, however, people like that will end up reaping what they sow. We, unfortunatley, end up being vulnerable at times (because we are people who care so much and have big hearts) and sometimes we temporarily get snared by their amusement. However, I do believe that time will set things right. In 20 or 30 years from now, where will destructive family members be? Probably still miserable. Where will we be? Enjoying our fruits and labor! It takes time but the good seeds that you sow now, will tranform into a bountiful harvest later.
Sorry if I couldn't added more. I do have quite a bit of philisophical feelings about this kind of situation, so this was how I chose to reply.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Do you feel better or worse during the holiday season?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2010, 11:58:01 am »
Thanks [...] and [...] for your posts and for your insights.  Yes, the event next month is to honor my father for a lifetime achievement in his profession.  The whole family is expected to be there.  No I will not have Thanksgiving with them.  That would be an oxymoron :).  

[...].  Congrats on 8 weeks of benzo freedom.  Sounds like you are dealing with the challenges of post benzo stress before the healing sets in.  Stay the course.  Your comments were very wise in recognizing the vulnerablity, potential for benzo rage and over reaction during the initial months after the last benzo dose.  Staying away from toxic people and minimizing stress is so important if you can. I wish I had the option, perhaps I would not have gotten Shingles six weeks after my taper which ended two weeks before Thanksgiving last year.  It was the perfect storm.  My elderly father going into the hospital for five weeks just as I finished my taper.  I had no way to avoid a sibling that has tormented me for 40 years, along with his wife for the last 20 years, both very unhappy to have to deal with, but no choice when my 87 year old father could not advocate for himself.  They tried relentlessly to move him out of his home, ostensibly so they could take care of him closer to their domicile.  Yet it was clear it was more about them avoiding commutes to see him and convenience for them than him being where he wanted to be, which was  in his own home as stated in his health care directive.  There were arguments about every decision.  They kept working in their jobs, not losing any income, while I dealt with everything from cleaning up his house to hiring caregivers for him and staying there the first few weeks to make sure things ran smoothly, being away from my family for over a month.  Then they later attacked me for not working a traditional job (something that enabled me to make the time to help my father).   Eventually, my brother physically attacked me when my friend brought over some food that his mother had cooked for my dad.  He was so jealous that I was doing everything to help my father get well so he could stay in his own home.  

Pange.  So sorry to read about all that you went through just one year before my nightmare in 2009.  Exactly 2 years ago in 2008, I had just decided that I needed to taper off the valium but had no firm plan in place.   What you went through sounds very similar to my ordeal, except your father unfortunately died which must have been ten times worse and harder to tolerate.  Thank you for your prayers and all your support over the last year.  You understand only too well what it is like to be attacked mercilessly when you are doing your best to help a parent.  Other relatives seem to be concerned about their own welfare, finances, convenience... while the good sons are left with the dirty work and the hard work of sorting through a parent's clutter and mess.  Sorry to hear about your step grandfather's unfortunate treatment of you and other family members trying to take advantage.  I was also slandered by my brother to any cousin, aunt or friend who would listen to the lies.   You're right.  At a certain point, it becomes like an addictive sickness where hateful people try to fuel their own anger by provoking others to react to them.  Sometimes one just has to distance oneself.  So glad that two years later you seem to be doing so much better, despite a few final symptoms to get through.

Thanks for all your posts buddies.  I will get through this next visit to see my father and the family on the West Coast.  I have worked hard over the last year to develop better coping skills to help deal with any potential dysfunctional confrontations that might occur.  Fortunately, I beieve that at 11 months off benzos, my own sensitivities have become more manageable a year later.  I'm sure I am not the only one to have to deal with unpleasant situations  or family members.  Many movies have been made about the dysfunctions that can occur at the holidays.  There is also a potential for joy and spiritual renewal.  I hope that others who have read this thread will take away something positive, that we can overcome difficult circumstances.  Sometimes it is healthier to stay away from toxic people, other times when we feel stronger, we can face the storm head on and hopefully find some peace at this holiday season.

Happy Halloween and God Bless,

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« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 10:17:47 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.