Christmas Fears

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by anakinkaid, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    I am wondering how I can get through this first year with CFS and Christmas. I have two teenage children and a wonderful husband. But I am the family organizer-event planner. Now I can barely walk across the room. How have others handled this? How to manage all this when brain fog is my daily 'environment'? Help!!!
  2. sfrazier

    sfrazier New Member

    The best advice is just to take it slowly and cut back on things. Get everyone to help with the tree and the decorating and the baking and only do what you can. Christmas is special because of who you spend it with not what you do when you are spending time with loved ones. Remember being told as a child that it's not the cost of a present but the thought behind it. Well now for you it's not what you do but who you do it with. Good luck.... Sue
  3. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Dear Sue,

    Thanks for the words of supportive direction...helps. Sometimes it all feels so confusing. I am corporate woman not used to not being able, very able to do what I want/complete tasks with speed and grace. Everything has changed so and it is a struggle to adjust to the limit, the boundaries that daily surface. Yesterday I just did the mantle display and it blew me out for the day. I try but everything has become such effort, endless effort. Well enough of the 'poor me' stuff. Thanks again. I will keep your kind words close by. Ana
  4. karatelady52

    karatelady52 New Member


    You may want to have a "family meeting." That always gets the teenagers eyes rolling (I have 18 yo twins).

    It seems as many times as I tell my kids how I feel, they still don't understand (I have lyme although I thought it was FM/CFS for years).

    Have a meeting about Christmas in particular, tell them your fears, ask them for help and maybe assign certain duties to each family member. Explain you can't go shopping like you have in the past. Teenagers especially love money, gift certificates or you can always order on the Internet. Mine love gift certificates to Starbucks, eating places like Subway and clothing stores like Old Navy.

    When the day arrives, be real specific about who does what with the food. I always think my family should know what I need and what will help me but they really don't so its best to spell it out, write it down and then don't feel condemned about what you can't do.

    I know its hard for you. Holidays and visitors are hard on me too. I'm hoping by next year at this time to be a lot better!

  5. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Dear Sandy,

    Thank you - I like the idea. I think a family meeting with 'activity cards' added (who does what this year) would really help the family be involved in a positive way. I hadn't thought of that until just now: working out from your suggestion here. I find that one thing that is hard for my family is not knowing what to do to help - this would let them feel they are doing something positive to help with this illness. I could relax some then knowing who is doing what (I can't stand insecurity right now) and that it isn't going to all fall back on me to do (no strength to do it with). I could do the same with cooking all those favorite holiday cookies, treats, etc.: 'cooking cards'. Tell me what you think of the above....
    Many Thanks - Ana

    LISALOO New Member

    By doing less, I'm actually enjoying what I'm doing. I'm not so stressed! So far we just put up the tree.

    I'm realizing that I may not make it to Christmas with my husband to the in-laws. That's the worst. So I'll just have to enjoy Christmas Eve more!
  7. Kinsie

    Kinsie New Member

    For several years I would get so "up tight" about Christmas, that I didn't enjoy it. My family is hard to buy for since there are no children, and we still had our elderly parents at that time, and it was impossible to think of something they didn't already have ( when you don't leave the house, and have no hobbies it limits how much of anything you need!!)

    I worried about not having the right presents, and I don't know why, because my family is not picky. But, for the past 3 years I have ordered the main gifts over the internet, then all that leaves me to buy are some small extras. You can't imagine what a burden has been lifted from me. I can shop and shop, and never have a pain!

    All the walking thru the mall, and looking, and looking trying to find something appropriate would almost kill me. I've wondered how I was going to walk to my car after shopping for no more than an hour.

    We don't do much decorating, so I don't have any suggestions about that. I just know I've found help with shopping. It costs a little extra for shipping charges, but I take in consideration the convenience.

    Your friend,


  8. Empower

    Empower New Member

    I hear you loud and clear

    We both have large families and I used to be the Energizer Bunny and was Kris Kringle. Now I am Ebenezer Scrooge, Bah Humbug

    I cannot do malls, so I do a lot of ordering on the internet

    I used to have Christmas Eve dinner but I don't do that anymore
  9. justlikemom

    justlikemom New Member

    Take some time to think about what Christmas is really about.

    It's not supposed to be about making the house look fancy and cooking enough sweets to put the local candy shop to shame. And presents do not need to be fancy either.

    If you are feeling lousy (and I know I am), focus on what is most important to you. For me, it's first of all about celebrating the birth of Christ... so attending church on Christmas eve is a goal I have for myself. Secondly, I want to spend time with my family. I don't care if we have a big meal or just eat popcorn... as long as we're together (and I have my meds).
  10. karatelady52

    karatelady52 New Member

    Now you have the ideas flowing and maybe even get some input from the family so they will feel like a part of it too. Maybe they could have choices of what to volunteer for (one may want to fix a certain meal over another.)

    They will feel a sense of accomplishment for contributing to the holiday and you will hopefully get some relief from trying to do it all yourself.

    Let us know how it works out.

  11. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Dear Sandy and All the Wonderful Other Replies,

    Wow! Thanks for all the great ideas and support. I have felt so alone in all this - just me, pushing the rock up the hill, etc. Just the communication with others who understand the 'wow-I just walked across the room without falling down' sensation means alot. What a holiday gift you all have given me - many, many thanks.
    I'm going to do the family meeting and 'task cards' plan with everybody having a say (and responsiblities). I think having some task due dates on the card will keep everything on track (and cut down the 'will it get done?' stress down for me). The meeting will be this weekend - so watch for the 'minutes' of the meeting. Thanks again.

    Ever - And still Trying,
  12. sues1

    sues1 New Member

    The VERY VERY best part of Christmas is having people you care for around. We all do not have family or such around, but invite a co-worker/neighbor or church member that you like.

    What you have does not matter if you enjoying being with others.

    Gifts are not a biggy either. That is not all Christmas is about.

    My family get together will be 2 days before Christmas and I have redone the menu several times and have it down to where it will be so easy and others will bring something.
    But that is not everyone's Christmas meal. My DH and I will go to our son's on Christmas Day.

    GREAT HINT.....I have not tried it, but MANY has told me that the deli take out dinners are really good.

    You can get a ham or turkey.....mashed potatoes and gravy,,,
    cranberrys a veggie.........rolls.......a pie....(I think I am forgetting something).

    And you can change around your side dishes that goes with the ham or baked beans, macaroni salad, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and so forth. Also can order an extra pie or baked beans.....whatever, Whoever comes for dinner can bring a relish tray or such......Enlist help in heating all up per directions.

    You aso can enjoy the day this way! We are not who we were, but we are special to others and we can still give out Christmas joy.............Blessings
  13. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Greetings to Everyone Who Had Such Great Ideas,

    The family meeting went very well and I handed out cards with holiday tasks on them. There were lots of positive suggestions, comments and some rewrites. But lots got done. And I found that my two stepchildren (teenagers) took new prides in how everything looked when finished. We (kids and hubby-me only 'supervising' gently) just did the outside of the house (Lights on bushes, reindeer in the yard and wreath and garlands up). The inside of the house has my stepdaughter's Victorian Village up and a garland on the fireplace mantle. The tree will have to wait until next week.
    I think it all looks as good as any other year and I personally did the least I've ever done. Yet, I find I am wiped out even from this small effort-which amazed me. I keep thinking that if I rest I will get 'all well'-be the ol' me again. I'm glad (thanks for everyone's help and suggestions) that I limited my usual creative efforts, but internally feel shaken that so little can take such a heavy toll on my strength.
    I try to smile and move forward, but I find the unsecurity of every day hard to accept. Does anyone have supportive ideas/thoughts/suggestions for the 'internal' stuff?

    Many Thanks in Advance,
  14. cczub

    cczub New Member

    This is my first christmas with possible fibro(meet all the critera agording to the doctors but not labeled yet).. For me xmas is a 3 day event starting xmas eve and ending the night after xmas. We have my wife's grandma's on xmas eve(luckily it's on a saturday) which me and my wife do much of the cooking and setting up for her. On xmas we have my house with my 6 year old son, my parents house in the am then her parent's house in the pm...LONG DAY.. Then on the day after we have my son's godfather's house then over to some more family members' houses to exchange gifts with them...

    I'm not looking forward to it. We've had 2 deaths in the family, my wife's grandpa on the tuesday before thanksgiving then her uncle just passed away on tuesday with the wake and funeral on friday!! My son's b-day is this saturday so we have to do too!

    My wife wants to do new years at our house this year but I just don't know..

    I just plan on taking things slow and steady and making it to 2006 in one piece hopefully! I've had a family meeting and givien out letters to my coworkers and family/friends but that has only helped a little. I guess a little is better than nothing.

    Hang in there and we'll all help each other get through the holidays.

  15. KimDC

    KimDC New Member

    I would recommend seeing a therapist to talk about the devastating emotional impact of CFS. I recently started seeing a therapist and I think she's going to be helpful. We've already identified that I have a deep sense of loss and failure caused by CFS and that I'm going to have to learn to think differently about my life/goals/dreams. I have no choice but to redefine what I think is a successful life, and hopefully, she's going to help me do that. I also have a great deal of shame about having CFS, which I know is ridiculous, but I'm hoping she can help me get past the shame, too.

    I like how you addressed the holidays with your family. I have an 8 year old daughter and this year I let her decorate the tree all by herself as I layed on the couch. She was very proud of herself and hummed and smiled the whole time. I worry constantly about her having a sick mom, but this showed me that in many situations she's happy to do it on her own!
  16. petesdragon

    petesdragon New Member

    I have a six foot cactus that is a start from my grandmothers. It gets a small string of lights and velvet bows. I put out my sisters navivity set and put a teddybear and tall candlestick in the living room. Christmas Eve is with my husbands side of the family and everyone brings finger food. I buy meatballs and dump grape jelly and chili sauce on them in the crockpot.
    Gifts are bought by mail order --limit of 10 dollars each.
    I put them in gift bags. This year it is candles and cookie mix already pre-packaged, All easy. Christmas day both of our children are home with their own families and we sleep in. New Years Eve is Christmas for my side and consists of two crockpots of soup and finger foods. We give our children money to buy for themselves and their children. Also checks to neices and nephews under college age. I've had two complainers (both outlaws, wouldnt you know) but when I announced I had a HERITAGE cactus it became something wonderfull. LOL One outlaw did not like to get checks for Christmas but I think she is finally realizing I cannot shop and a check is better than coal in your stocking.
  17. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Dear Cczub,

    Thanks for the supportive understanding. Your life seems a lot fuller than mine - and I'm dead on my feet already. In the past I would have said something like "Wow! Wonderful look at all you're doing!" Now, I kinda hold back and think that all that looks like alot- alot of motion, effort, interaction. I don't know about you, but it would be beyond me. I've have to tighten plans, cut down, go at it from a new angle or I won't survive the day (much less the holiday). Hard, hard lessons for me to learn though.
    Like for New Year's, we're not going out or having others over. Instead, we are having a purchased smoked salmon (no, I'm NOT smoking it this year-but I will call the shop and arrange for something close to what we used to have made here at home), great French cheese and champagne (husband will round these up with the kids) along with a movie marathon from netflix (not an ad here, just easier to select and get the DVDs from them than a local rental shop). My film is first, so if I tire out, I can crated easier without feeling I missed my movie. Friends are invited to call or send greetings by email which I can answer from bed (if need be) on the laptop or cel.
    I just don't think I could survive a traditional New Year's Eve (noise, lots of people, late hours, more food, drinks, driving), so we've come up with this new holiday plan.
    What are your thoughts? Do you think it will work?

    P.s. The kids also came up with the idea of writing 'Wish Letters' for the coming New Year, again, so if I have to go to bed early, I/we can read them the next morning at breakfast.
  18. cczub

    cczub New Member

    Ana... It is alot but it's my first year with it and I'll live and learn. One of my side jobs is snow removal and I've lucked out on the past 2 storms but am dreading this winter. It's a real good source of income for me so I"d hate to give it up.

    On top of all of this I'm looking at starting a side buisness of working on computers and networks since it's more mentaly challenging than physical which I can tolerate better.

    Good Luck with your holiday plans!

  19. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Dear Petesdragon,

    Had to smile - check or coal: take your choice.
    At first, I felt bad about suggesting gift cards to/for my teenage stepchildren, BUT it has turned out to be just fine for everyone involved.
    Let me explain: first, I'm not dead (I can get them easily at the grocery store). We have the kids Xmas afternoon and the week after Xmas this year. Their Dad will be home then. So....instead, of an expensive "we want to go ski weekend" (Read: Me-on skis? Oh No! Not this year!) Dad will be taking them shopping-great bonding time etc with father downtown-lights, sales, fun; low, low after Xmas bargains so they will get more for their $s AND I can rest, only having to have a fun warm dinner on their return home (Pizza ordered in, anyone?)
    So it all works out well: Dad has fun, we save money, they feel empowered and I rest! (BUT I will hold the 'coal' in reserve, just in case). Thanks

  20. anakinkaid

    anakinkaid New Member

    Dear Chris,

    My first year, too (plus a few months): so many adjustments.

    I'm having to move my business/talents to the internet, so I can (1) work from home, and (2) work on a schedule I control to match my efforts with my energy level more effectively. All the changes are hard when I feel so weak, but I remind myself that it is my body that is effected, not my core mind or spirit. If gently and wisely supported, I can still plan and create, I just need new mediums to do it with.

    Have you seen the movie "Seabiscuit"? It helps me to stay brave on bad days.

    Ever - Ana

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