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Athena

Anxiousness for events such as birthdays, Christmas..

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I always get anxious about events such as my birthday (or my boyfriends' birthday) and Christmas. I'm nervous what the gifts will be like, when everyone will arrive, what the conversations will be like.. I know this is part of my autism. I don't do well with surprises, I need time to adjust to change. I find it difficult too if I get a gift I don't like and how to act to the gift giver. This is why I usually ask for specific things, because I prefer to know what I'm getting (even if I might not know exactly what it looks like).

 

I'm probably in the minority being nervous for my own birthday, though maybe some of you are nervous about hosting Christmas dinner or such? Whether the food will be allright and people will like it..

 

I'm also nervous for Christmas, not yet right now, but when it's near Christmas (coincidentally or not, it's also my boyfriends' birthday so double nervousness :P). I'm nervous if people will like the food I prepared and how things will go.

 

Sorry if this is hard to understand, some people in my family seem to find it hard to understand. They see birthdays and Christmas and other events as joyful things and don't understand it stresses me so.

 

That's not to say I don't enjoy the events when they happen. But unfortunately there's always stress and anxiety associated with them.

 

Am I alone in this or are there other people who worry about similar things? Is anyone stressed when they invite family over for Christmas dinner? (I think there must be someone!)

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I don't get anxious for birthdays or Christmas but I think most people experience some kind of anxiety about events that are outside their routine. Over the years I have got better in situations that would make me anxious in the past by knowing from experience that they will be fine. Worrying about what could go wrong is something I used to do all the time and it took me years to get out of the habit of doing it.

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I hate being the centre of attention so I don't like birthdays from that point of view. I don't celebrate them anyway, but there is also a bit of a fuss made with it at work, which I dread.

 

I'm not too bad with Christmas. We only have 2 or 3 people over and I usually cook the Christmas dinner. We don't really like to make a fuss out of celebrating these things, and to be honest we prefer it when it's just the two of us. :blush2:  As nice as it is to have people over, I always feel relieved when they go. :hide:

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Oh, just posted about this over on your other thread. :)

 

I don't bother with any of it, so no muss, no fuss for me. :D

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As the years have passed we (husband and myself) have withdrawn from 'doing' birthdays and Christmas. We barely mark the occasions at all now. I get presents for my son, parents and any children in the family under 18 years old. And we have made it very clear that we don't wish to receive any presents for either our birthdays nor Christmas from anyone either.

 

Some family members have got funny about it, but they have so little to do with us anyway we are not worried.  :smile:

 

The anxiety, pressure and often the nastiness that could accompany these 'celebrations' has gone completely and we are much happier buying presents for those we love as and when we want rather than at a specific time of the year. 

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Wow, I had no idea so many of you didn't really celebrate your birthdays! Thanks for all the posts and thoughts :).

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We usually do everything smallish around here too.  We have such a small family that any major holiday is still minor.  We usually end up at Disneyland for my birthday, but that is just a matter of timing, not specifically for my birthday.  I'm too old to celebrate another year :giggle2:

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We never really celebrated big time in my family. Gifts and food. There was never anything to get anxious about. My birthday parties when I was a kid was always pretty small. I just invited at most 5-7 people, my closest friends. Most of them were classmates. Nothing to get anxious about. 
I think it "helped" that I have soooo many relatives. Mom has 10 siblings, dad has 5. I have 36 cousins and an older half-sister. If we were all to visit each other during birthdays, it would become a mess. So we never did that. I only celebrated one Christmas away from home, and that was when mom had a flu. Me and dad went to his sister's for Christmas that year.

 

Birthdays and Christmases are even more calm now that I'm an adult.

 

I always look forward to birthdays and christmases though. Love them. Especially December up until Christmas. The second that Christmas is over, it's depressing. There's just nothing to look forward to between New Year's and April.

I think what I like most about Christmas are the preparations and the magic of it getting close and closer. Baking, decorating, the decorations in stores and the town, listening to christmas music, cozy up in bed or the sofa with a Christmas movie or a good book. Thats the real magic of the holidays.  

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I've never had a big birthday party either, when I was a child and young teeanger. It'd be a couple of classmates (but I was always nervous). Nowadays I don't have any friends who live nearby (who aren't considered family), so I don't have a party anymore for friends or anything. I don't like parties anyway :blush2:. I just have closer family visiting and such.

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I get anxious about time - I cannot stand the thought of being late or of other people being late - it can actually make me physically sick on occasion. It's a big part of my OCD and it can stop me enjoying an event if I think there's even a chance I might be even half a second late. If I'm meeting someone and they're running late but don't let me know that they're running behind time and give me a new ETA, I get very panicky, especially if I'm waiting for them so that we can go some other place together. Before we had mobile phones, friends who were late would find me either shaking like aq leaf when they arrived, or, in extreme cases, puking in the bathroom.

 

I actually dumped a very nice guy because of his chronically bad time keeping, As it was, he was more than 40 minutes late for the date I had set up to finish it with him and I ended up having to do it on the phone because I couldn't face waiting any longer! That's how I ended up with Dale - he's always on time - LOL!

 

It's funny, because when I fell pregnant with Xan, everyone said, "Oh, once you have kids, you'll start being late for things all the time and you'll learn to stress less about it," but the truth is, I got even worse. Even now, with a 6 year old and a 1 year old, I've never yet been late for anything and I feel dreadful if I feel we might be falling behind schedule. One example is that we currently live a 40 minute walk from Xan's school, although if we really motored, we could make it in little over 30 minutes (but we'd be very out of breath when we got there!), so we leave for school little over an hour before school is due to start. I know, I know - it means we have 20 minutes or more waiting time at school before he goes in, but I cannot help it, and even leaving the house a few minutes later than usual makes me feel anxious and ill.

 

Fortunately, we'll be moving in the next few weeks, to a house that is only a few minutes from school (I timed it already - it's exactly 4 minutes from the front door to the school gate, and that's walking at my regular pace), but you can bet we'll still leave the house a minimum of 15 minutes before the school bell!

 

I've been known to show up to job interviews more than 30 minutes early (actually, anything up to an hour early is standard for me!), and pace up and down the pavement for a good 20 minutes or so before going in and sitting down to wait the rest of the time inside.

 

When I was working at a Bookies in Aberdeen, I lived a 20 minute walk away from our branch. I would leave the house an hour before I had to be at work, then have a cuppa in the cafe directly across the road for 30 minutes, before going into work 10-15 minutes before my start time. There was one time Dale was home late from work and had to give me a lift into town (there was nobody to leave Xan with, so I couldn't go till he got home!), and I arrived at work 5 minutes before my start time. My colleagues had been on the verge of calling me to make sure I wasn't ill, even though I wasn't late, because I NEVER cut it that close to time!

 

The last couple of years, we've had Xmas at home with just me, Dale and the kid(s), as it means we don't have to run to anyone else's schedule, we don't have to be any other place at a given time, and we don't have to expect any visitors at a particular time. Any visiting is left till Boxing Day.  It means I actually get to enjoy Xmas with my family, and the kids get to play with their toys without being torn away to visit someone when they're just getting into their games.

 

I find it next to impossible to work without a schedule, and make a loose plan of attack for every day, with a to-do list. I fell a lot better if I can cross things off a physical list - it helps me feel more in control!

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Yeah I am the same. I don't like to be the center of attention so I never really celebrate my birthday. I always find opening gifts really awkward and I don't do Christmas at all. I'll get my mother something as she will get me something but everyone else I tell them not to bother as I'm not. To be honest it works out great as there is no stress for Christmas (except the family dinner) and I don't have to frantically trying to buy people something when I have no clue what to get them anyway.

 

@Kell - I'm the same about being late, I hate it and often arrive very early for things. I do get anxious about it. Your description about job interviews is me too, arriving well ahead of scehdule and pacing outside the building for half an hour or trying to call someone to calm myself down. I don't eat on the interview day either until it's over. I do quite well in interviews though but nerves before hand are terrible.

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I'm also the same with being late. It's so nice to hear / read I'm not the only one! Thanks for your posts, Kell and Melodious. I always worry I'm late somewhere and thus very often arrive quite a bit earlier than necessary. I used to often arrive 45-60 mins early at university and spent the time reading or studying.

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I enjoy Holidays (I don't consider birthdays a holiday). I especially enjoy Thanksgiving as it is a time of relaxation, good food and wine, endless football on TV, and especially....being with family to enjoy their company. Cooking is not stressful in our family as I buy, already cooked, a rotisserie turkey and a Honeybaked Ham for the meal. Many of us pitch in to do the other cooking, i.e., mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, baked corn casserole, pumpkin and apple pies,.....and on and on. It is simply a time of enjoyment.

Edited by muggle not

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I can understand why many get anxious. If your head is programmed to believe birthdays and Christmases are these big events, of course you will get nervous. Who doesn't get nervous before a big event? My dad always gets nervous about going somewhere. Even if it's just the city closest to ours. He always starts to complain about an upset stomach. So travel, no matter how short the distance, will get his anxious level up. 

 

I get anxious about other "big events", like calling someone. Seems like a no big deal, but I am so nervous and anxious about making one simple phone call (not to my parents though). I have a call I have to make this week. I should have done it last week. But I keep pushing it forward. It's just a simple call to a union to tell them that I have not yet graduated, like they obviously believe I have. Just a quick phone call saying "I don't want to me a full member just yet". I'd much rather visit their office with this errand, but the flight there takes one hour.......... ;)  

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I get anxious about other "big events", like calling someone. Seems like a no big deal, but I am so nervous and anxious about making one simple phone call (not to my parents though). I have a call I have to make this week. I should have done it last week. But I keep pushing it forward. It's just a simple call to a union to tell them that I have not yet graduated, like they obviously believe I have. Just a quick phone call saying "I don't want to me a full member just yet". I'd much rather visit their office with this errand, but the flight there takes one hour.......... ;)

I can fully understand this! I get nervous too if I have to phone people I don't know well, I really dread it. My boyfriend has the same thing. Good luck with the phone call, I hope it went okay :).

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The other thing that always bothers me excessively is to do with travel. If I have to go somewhere on a bus or train alone for the first time, even if I've been there before by another method of travel, it makes me very panicky. I remember the first time I got the bus from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh. I'd got on the train there many times before with others and alone, but I'd never gone by bus. I was terrified. I wasn't exactly sure where the bus station was in relation to other places and I was petrified I'd get lost as I didn't (and still don't!) know Edinburgh particularly well (basically Prince's Street, Cockburn Street and The Royal Mile are about the only areas I'm confident about - that and the two train stations). I was nearly in tears the whole journey and by the time I got off the bus I was shaking like a leaf.

 

Even a very short journey to an unfamiliar place is fraught with tension in case I get on the wrong bus/train or get off at the wrong stop. I'm better if I'm with the kids, because I tend to be braver with them than I am alone (putting on a brave face for my kids is a life saver for me sometimes - it's even led to my partially conquering my very severe arachnophobia!).

 

Once I've done it that first time, it gets easier, but that first journey is always a nightmare. If I've done it even once before with someone else, even if that person is traveling there for the first time themselves, I feel quite safe and almost completely unconcerned.

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I can fully understand this! I get nervous too if I have to phone people I don't know well, I really dread it. My boyfriend has the same thing. Good luck with the phone call, I hope it went okay :).

 

They did. I ended up having to make 3 calls. I think it's all about creating a secure environment around you when you make a call. I was in bed with my dog next to me. Anxiety level = low. 

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The other thing that always bothers me excessively is to do with travel. If I have to go somewhere on a bus or train alone for the first time, even if I've been there before by another method of travel, it makes me very panicky. I remember the first time I got the bus from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh. I'd got on the train there many times before with others and alone, but I'd never gone by bus. I was terrified. I wasn't exactly sure where the bus station was in relation to other places and I was petrified I'd get lost as I didn't (and still don't!) know Edinburgh particularly well (basically Prince's Street, Cockburn Street and The Royal Mile are about the only areas I'm confident about - that and the two train stations). I was nearly in tears the whole journey and by the time I got off the bus I was shaking like a leaf.

 

Even a very short journey to an unfamiliar place is fraught with tension in case I get on the wrong bus/train or get off at the wrong stop. I'm better if I'm with the kids, because I tend to be braver with them than I am alone (putting on a brave face for my kids is a life saver for me sometimes - it's even led to my partially conquering my very severe arachnophobia!).

 

Once I've done it that first time, it gets easier, but that first journey is always a nightmare. If I've done it even once before with someone else, even if that person is traveling there for the first time themselves, I feel quite safe and almost completely unconcerned.

 

I'm like that too. I need to make the journey quite a few times before I'm comfortable with it. Preferably the first few times I make the journey with someone else. When I had to cycle to my secondary school, I cycled it back and forth at least 10 times with my parents so I would know the way (I get lost quite easily on my own :blush2: my sense of direction is terrible).

 

They did. I ended up having to make 3 calls. I think it's all about creating a secure environment around you when you make a call. I was in bed with my dog next to me. Anxiety level = low.

I'm glad it went allright, Emelee :).

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I have anxiety about being late too. I show up for exams 1-2 hours early. :o I just can't relax until I am there (for an exam, or interview, or whatever), so I usually leave far too early. I've tried to leave a bit later, but I usually end up so anxious, I get stomach cramps. :o

 

I also have a bit of phone phobia. I absolutely hate making phone calls (unless it's to people I know). I feel so nervous and keep rehearsing what I am going to say, and still delay making phone calls for days. :hide:

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Procrastination is my worst problem.  I always think I have more time to be ready than I do.  lol   So, although I'm better than some relatives of mine, I still have a tendency to run a bit late.  Hmmm, could it be genetic?  :D

Yeah........I'll blame "them". :P

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I used to get nervous at Birthdays and Christmas because I was kinda nervous about my presents. I was always really grateful for what people got me, but being a teenager, I used to feel embarressed about my interests and things I liked (nerdy stuff like manga and video games), so I used to feel anxious about opening them in front of my parents, even though I knew they'd never say anything.

 

I found out a few years ago that I have OCD and Anxiety, and have since been able to work these kinds of worries mostly out, even if they bother me now and again.

 

The thing I found most helpful with worries about reactions to gifts and stuff, was to be polite, but just let myself feel embarrassed. It did feel very awkward, but I didn't try to fight it. After a while those feelings started to fade.

 

I think sometimes it's good to ask for specific presents. That way people know they're getting you something you will use and really love.

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I think sometimes it's good to ask for specific presents. That way people know they're getting you something you will use and really love.

I agree :). I also sometimes feel embarrassed for my interests, particularly in the past. Well done for working out your worries for the most part :).

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I posted somewhere else on here yesterday, the only anxiety I get over Christmas is usually a mild stress over whether I've remembered everyone's presents or I've got them good things. I like to get the majority of the presents brought and out of the way by the end of November, as It's easier for me to budget for it. As luck would have it, I went supermarket shopping last night and found an ideal present for Ruth when I wasn't even looking for one!

 

Other than that, we've got a good plan for Christmas sorted, that avoids all of the usual stress points, so that we can have a nice, relaxed family time. The worst point of Christmas was getting to be the Boxing day visit to Ruth's parents house for dinner. This used to be very enjoyable, but over the last few years it's been a bit of a chore. A combination of too many people with not enough seating and genral arguments. The tipping point for me was the one year we were invited up to find that my brother-in-law, who was meant to be doing the cooking, hadn't turned up, so Ruth & I had to do it. As I'd done the cooking the previous day, I was looking forward to the break. The tin hat got out on it when brother-in-law turned up just as I was finishing the cooking with all his family and proceeded to help themselves to the majority of the food, leaving me and Ruth with the leftovers. I was fuming, as he'd obviously done it deliberately. So now, we go out for a meal on Boxing day, which gives us a nice excuse not to go - we just go for a little drink ayt some point over Christmas instead and it's much better.

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I'm the total opposite. Having spent YEARS trying to be in control and only getting put in the hospital for chest pains, I learned to, as the Frozen song goes, Let it Go! I stopped writing out long lists and making concrete plans. I've learned a few lessons and one was that if you want to see God laugh, make a plan. He has gotten some HILARIOUS laughs off of me and my plans. :giggle2: !

 

While I do get to most places on time, I know longer sweat it if I'm late. I guess this has to do with my time with the sheriff's office, when I was a deputy (police) my life was regulated by time, when I arrived, when I left, what time this happened, what time that happened. It was vital and I I did it well but it had a profound affect on my life when I left. I took my watch off and don't wear one to this day. The children bought me a locket with a little clock inside and while I wore it, I never opened it to check the time. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't deliberately arriving late and I have a good sense of timing and know the distance and amount of time needed to get where I need to go.

 

Having gone through some traumatic upheaval in the past few years, (think of some of the worst things that could happen and they happened) I learned that life will be chaotic no matter what so no need for me to give it more power by stressing it. I tell our daughter all the time that her freaking out (and trust me, she can really freak out) only stumps her ability to sit down and work through the problem and drains necessary energy. I know everyone can't do this but thinking that its as bad as it can get won't stop it from being as bad as it can get. We've lost family to gun violence (niece and nephew murdered by her boyfriend and I spent a week in NICU with her two year old who had been shot by his father and was fighting for his life, and yes, he's alive and smart and adorable!) death from cancer (two brothers in law and I was there with them) job loss (9 months) ripe in the family (we didn't see our daughter and grands for several months because of her issues) trouble with our teenaged son (very stupid thing which changed his life) and I could go on and on :blush2:  so, when I say I have learned to let it go, I know from experience!

 

As for the holidays, we enjoy Christmas, New Years and Easter and the kids birthdays. Having lived through so much drama, we have learned to quietly enjoy these days simply because we're alive and life would be too dreary without some special days to celebrate. We don't break the bank with gifts but we do love to put on a spread even if its just a couple of us to eat it. We love watching Christmas movies and I can tolerate the music (only if I don't hear it til after our Thanksgiving Day and in small doses, otherwise I might become homicidal).

 

We call the part of South Carolina where we lived at for the past 19 years the Lowcountry (surrounded by water and islands) but we natives lovingly refer to it as the "Slowcountry" as we tend to take everything in its stride. Northerners always get frustrated because we don't rush to do anything! :giggle2:

 

But seriously, after having spent several weeks in and out of the hospital because of stress, I learned to let it go. I told my family that if they drove me crazy they were riding shotgun and that they were not going to cause me to stroke out because if they did, no one will get a DIME from my life insurance policy, I'd leave it to a nursing home first!!! :giggle:  They think I'm walking the crazy line any way so they pay me no mind :giggle2:

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Wow Virginia, I'm so sorry for all the hurt in your family :(. I'm proud of you that you deal with everything so well :friends0:.

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