Surviving Thanksgiving

Have you ever been hypomanic during Thanksgiving? Well, Thanksgiving is approaching and I’m hypomanic!

I’m expecting my family to come over for a grand meal, fellowship, and good memories.

Though the repeating voice in my head says “how the hell are you going to pull this off?” I’m desperately looking forward to this day being over. Though I know this day will drag along.

How will I survive? What will I do?

Well, I’ve picked up a few tips along the way to help me along.

First, I found my local grocery store sells “pre-cooked meals” for the holidays. So, all I have to do is heat it all up (Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, corn, pie, etc.). This was a god-send! If all I have to do is warm up a meal, I definitely can handle this! Check your local store and see if this is an option for you too!

As far as my hypomania is concerned, I’ve discussed that with my psychiatrist, and I got an increase in my dosage to help me manage.

Here are a few more tips if you’re hosting Thanksgiving:

1. Set your table ahead of time. Pull out your table linens, glassware, dishware and silverware.  Do you have enough? If not, borrow or purchase. Clean/polish as needed.

2. Pull out all the serving dishes and utensils. Do you have enough? If not, borrow or purchase. Label each with a sticky note – that way everyone knows “what goes in what” and can help with serving!

3. Go through all the recipes you are making and make a prep list. If you have three recipes that need chopped onions, include the total for all three recipes in your prep list.

4. Make a schedule. List what time each dish needs to go into the oven and for how long and at what temperature. Then re arrange that  list in chronological order and post this in your kitchen!

5. Take inventory of your pantry and shop for non perishable items this week. Purchase beverages and staples like butter, flour, sugar and eggs.

6. Figure out what you are going to wear!!! Is it clean – does it need to go to the cleaners???

7. Clean out your fridge. Throw out anything that’s past it’s expiration and if you have a second fridge, move rarely used items into that one.

8. Things like cranberry sauce, pie dough, compound butters and turkey stock can all be made ahead. Make them this week and refrigerate the cranberry sauce and freeze everything else!

9. Stock the bathrooms with extra toilet paper.  Re fill soap dispensers,   wash the guest towels and if you use paper hand towels, make sure you have a good supply.

10. Breathe!!! Remember, the most important thing is not what is on the table, but who is around it. Take a moment to relax and think about all that you have to be thankful for.


Using this guide has helped me stay organized and keep calm during what is already a hectic day.


If you’re visiting family, and friends on Thanksgiving, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Line up some co-conspirators. Figure out who you can call on to help make things different. Then do some pre-event strategizing. Agree to tag-team each other with the folks you all find particularly difficult. Set up a signal you’ll use to call in a replacement. Brainstorm ways to steer a certain individual’s most tiresome and troublesome antics in a different direction.

2. Provide escape routes. Togetherness is not for everyone. Make sure there are ways to get away from the crowd. Often large gatherings can be overwhelming, and cause triggers. It’s important for you to map your exit. Whether that be a 10-minute cigarette break or just taking a breath of fresh air.

3. Don’t forget your meds. It’s important not to miss a dose! Casually make your way into the restroom and take your medicine. If your feeling overly stressed, talk to you doctor about a medication adjustment prior to you’re enjoying Thanksgiving with your family.

Thanksgiving (holidays in general) should be a day we can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be riddled with stress, anxiety, and depression.

I hope you all are enjoy your families, friends, and guests!





Living with type 1 bipolar disorder, PTSD (due to childhood trauma), Rapid Cycling, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Writing about my life experiences.

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