When An Introvert With Anxiety & Depression Hosts Thanksgiving

You’re invited to Thanksgiving dinner.  You ask the host/hostess what you can bring and they say “nothing” or “Just yourself”.  There might be several reasons for that .  Maybe they really have everything covered, maybe enough people have offered that there is really nothing else to divvy out. Or maybe your hostess is an introvert with  anxiety issues and feels inadequate if she asks or thinks of a several reason it might inconvenience you if she asks you to bring something.

I’m that Introvert Thanksgiving hostess with anxiety and depression and I want to tell you why I volunteer and why sometimes I don’t really mean “nothing”.

 

Why do I do it? 

First of all I like to host Thanksgiving dinner at my home.  It’s my safe place.  I don’t have to leave my house.  I don’t have to feel like I need to find an excuse to leave because I’m mentally drained or overwhelmed at another place.  I know everyone that will come through the door here.  I don’t have to worry about being around several people I don’t know.

I’m in a position where I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family so I may as well do it where I feel comfortable.  It helps that we have a big enough house to host everyone.  Even at that, it’s not always easy. We usually have a minimum of 16 people here and we’ve had up to 23 for Thanksgiving.  I still get drained with all the socializing, requests, work,  did I mention socializing?  I have to smile when I really just want to run up to my room, be by myself, and close the door to recharge.  If I don’t find some time to recharge, you’ll see it on my face.  You’ll hear it in my voice.  My patience, my socializing energy, will be depleted at some point.  Don’t get mad at me if I disappear for 15 minutes. Rather, you should be happy I did because I was refilling that well so I can carry-on and not be a crabby hostess.

I host it at my house because I feel like I have some control of the situation.  More so than if I was somewhere else.  Because, well, it’s my home, my safe place.

I get overwhelmed fairly easily.  Having too much on my to-do list can make me shut down and not want to do any of it. If I host it I can plan ahead and do things on my time until Thanksgiving.  Make pies today, tomorrow make deviled eggs, etc.  I can set the time. Certain times of the day I function better than others.

But why would I say “nothing” when you ask what to bring?  When you ask if you can help why do I say “I got it” if I get overwhelmed so easy?!

I know people like me are complicated. For that you’d have to understand the anxiety and depression part.  When my anxiety and depression is bad it can say ugly things to me.  Things like:

  • “Your house isn’t clean enough, you should have spent more time cleaning”
  • “Don’t tell them you need help, they’ll think you can’t  handle it”
  • “Why did you tell them to bring scalloped potatoes when you’re already making mashed potatoes that was really stupid”.
  • “What if I tell them nothing but realize later I needed something?  That’s too short of notice for them”
  • “I know they’re having a harder time financially I just want them to enjoy and not worry about anything. I can afford to do everything. OH? but wait, what if they think I’m doing that to be a snob?! Like what if they think I don’t like their pies or their mac n’ cheese or what if they think I don’t even want them here?!!!”

I wish I could say I’m exaggerating but there’s probably uglier things than that my mind has said to me because of anxiety.  It’s just easier for me to say “nothing” than deal with the negative chatter in my head.   The same goes for when people ask what they can do to help.  So I just do it all.

@pleasantandy has a lot of anxiety quips I can relate to

So what can a guest do to help?

  • Don’t point out  negatives.  If there’s not enough forks just use a spoon or wash a couple forks to reuse.  If you see the sink is overflowing with dishes just start doing them.  If you know the hostess forgot the green bean casserole in the kitchen just go get it and bring it in.
  • Don’t point out that the hostess forgot something.  Chances are your  anxiety-ridden, depressed Thanksgiving host is probably already thinking she didn’t make enough, her house isn’t clean enough, she probably forgot something, something probably doesn’t taste right, or it’s not as good as someone else’s.  About two years ago I ended up running out of forks.  I had people keep asking where the forks were.  And it was a running joke, still a joke.  While I try to laugh about it it made me feel like I failed.   You know what i did?  I bought another set of flatware and have a hoarders stash of forks now because I’m worried that will happen again.  I still beat myself up about that.  About forks! FORKS! Even I know how ridiculous that sounds and how trivial it really is in the grand scheme but this is anxiety.

Another year I made a whole spread for Thanksgiving. Hosted 23 people at my house.  I made several pies from scratch, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, delegated some sides to some people to bring, stocked up on a variety of drinks (because I was worried someone wouldn’t like  something or couldn’t have something).  I was proud of myself then someone askes “Where are the deviled eggs?”  I realized I didn’t make any. Several people agreed we usually have deviled eggs.  All the work I did, everything I planned seemed like nothing because that was now the focus.  How could I have forgot to make deviled eggs? Why didn’t I think of that!?  That’s what people were looking forward to, now they’re disappointed.  This is what anxiety sounds like.  It’s not usually rational.

  • A compliment can go a long way:  No your host/hostess with anxiety isn’t mad at your or ignoring you.  They’re either recharging or just taking in the conversation.  Or they’re lost in a world of worry or feeling overwhelmed.  A simple, “thank you for hosting dinner” or a comment like “This is a really nice spread, I know it was a lot of work”  Can really change the negative mindset of the anxiety monster.
  • Don’t Overstay:  Trust me I’m happy you’re here.  I enjoyed spending time together on Thanksgiving but I need recharge time otherwise I just become mush and not much of a hostess anymore.
  • Don’t say things like “just try to be more positive” or “you’re being ridiculous”: Really there are a number of things like that that don’t help.  If a person could just be “happy”.  If a person could just shift their mind and “be positive” they wouldn’t need medication, counseling, they wouldn’t be writing posts like this, and there wouldn’t be so many people turning to suicide.  Instead  help your friend or family member by using the happiness you have to encourage them.  Don’t point out negatives, don’t remind them that they are negative.  If you have enough light, shine it on those who don’t don’t make their world darker by pointing out their negatives.

 

 


Cheesy Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Tired of the same old same old for Thanksgiving? Wisconsin cheese makers have some ideas for your Thanksgiving gathering that are sure to please and definitely aren’t boring.

 

Harvest Rind Cheeseboard: Greet your guests with a beautiful Thanksgiving cheeseboard, featuring the best of the best Wisconsin Cheeses, assorted meats and nuts – the splashes of fall colors and mix of flavors are sure to be a crowd pleaser this holiday.

Make the Most of Your Leftovers

Black Friday Breakfast CasseroleFeaturing Wisconsin’s delicious Maple Leaf Fontina Cheese, this Black Friday dish will have your whole family rushing to the breakfast table, even after last night’s dinner! Make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers with this quick meal that will leave you ready for shopping in no time.

 

Kid-Friendly Holiday Recipes

Mini Pumpkin Cheese BallsMade with only a few ingredients, including Wisconsin Bucky Badger Creamy Garlic Cold Pack cheese and rolled in crushed cheese puffs… these holiday treats will be not only be a crowd favorite, they are easy to prepare and will make cooking exciting for the little ones!

The Best Host/Hostess Gifts

Wisconsin’s Fromagination’s The Cheesemonger’s Gift Set ($60.00 – $140.00)

This Wisconsin Cheese gift set contains three fine cheeses: Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar, Red Rock – a Cheddar/Blue mix, and Hook’s Eight-Year Aged Cheddar. With Potter’s Wisconsin Rye Crackers and a small jar of Fromagination’s Signature Cranberry Relish, this is a truly fine Wisconsin gift set for your host or hostess to ensure you’re invited to next year’s holiday get-together!


Decorating to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget with Versatile Decor from Oriental Trading

I received the below mentioned products at no cost in order to complete this post.  Any opinions expressed are my own. 

 

I host Thanksgiving for a party of 20+ frequently.  I’ve gotten the food, desserts, and seating down to a science.  The one things I didn’t have down was the decor. Did I really want to spend extra time decorating for Thanksgiving when I’m making 4 pies from scratch?  Would anyone really even notice the decorations anyway?

I’ve learned that the best way to get 20+ people their food is to have a buffet line so to speak.  We finally found the best spot for it.  For this buffet line I wanted something small that wouldn’t take up too much room (there’s a LOT of food)

I thought these were simple and cute and could be placed just about anywhere.

Since we do a buffet style I wanted to do something to dress the table up a bit. I do have this big ceramic turkey that I think my mother-in-law had given us that I used but it’s not real eye catching. I got these super cute fall gourds from Oriental Trading and had a bunch of ideas to use them!  Oriental Trading has such fun Thanksgiving decor.

Which one did you like better?  I ended up going with the cornucopia look and turkey sat on the counter that wasn’t being used.

I had also received these super cute crafts.  They were pumpkins with a pocket and they each came with large paper pumpkin seeds.  I had all the kids make one and they were supposed to write down the things they were thankful for on the seeds. Unfortunately, I didn’t think too far ahead.  I was far too busy to help all the little ones that needed help to spell and write.  Being the cook and hostess I tried but it didn’t go well because I kept getting pulled for other things. I tried to get my brother to help them but without enough help the kids lost interest and moved on.  It’s a shame because they were really cute.

All in all Thanksgiving went well. Hey nothing is perfect right?  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving Day HOT Cash Back Deals: 20% Cashback at Dell, 25% at eBags, and 20% Dell Small Business

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. I can’t share my turkey with you but I can share some awesome Thanksgiving cashback deals from TopCashBack!

Today’s HOT cashback deals:

20% cashback at Dell

25% cashback at eBags

20% cashback and Dell Small Business

 

PLUS if you’re new to TopCashBack you can earn $6 cash back after spending your first $10!  All kinds of savings to be had!


Recyclebank point opp: SC Johnson Green Choices Challenge

Another chance to earn Reyclebank points, 60 to be exact.  Learn how to make your home an eco-friendly home in November and show how thankful you are for Thanksgiving.  You need to be a member of Recyclebank to earn points but don’t worry it’s free, sign up for Recyclebank here.

Earn points for learning opportunities like this one, (or one of the many others here on Luv Saving Money, just search the term recyclebank in the search bar in the upper left corner of your screen) and trade your points in for things like coupons and gift cards.

SC%20Johnson_Rewards_Points_Recyclebank 

 ***I will receive recyclbank points for post this point earning opportunity.  No other compensation has been received***

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