Here are a few things to help you survive the next "gathering"...
- before you go...sit down with yourself and have a good talk with you...pump yourself up if you need to by reminding yourself that you can do this...yes you may not want to go...but you can do this. Talk positively and encouragingly with you okay? if your thoughts are negative going in they will stay that way while you're there and you won't have a good time...so go with a good attitude okay?
- set a time limit if you need for how long you can comfortably stay knowing your needs, limits and abilities...you don't have to keep to the time limit either...you can always stay longer if you'd like but have an idea how long you can stay before it becomes too uncomfortable or triggering for you...your limits may change from function to function and that is okay too...be patient but learn your social limits...go socialize within them...it's a feel good thing
- bring along your portable coping skills...whatever calms and soothes you bring it with you and use it when you need...even if that means leaving the group for awhile and finding some quiet space...go and find it...if it means leaving and going for a walk...yep...you got it...go! do whatever you need to soothe yourself when you need it
- be comfortable okay? wear comfortable clothes...something that makes you feel good...bring a change of shoes or slippers if it will help...or even layers that you can easily remove and put on as needed...try a pillow for extra support and comfort on your back or other hurting areas...it's hard to enjoy something if you're uncomfortable right? so go and get comfortable and be okay using whatever that takes to help you (even your coping skills too)
- practice your meditation and visualization either before you go to relax yourself or while you're there in the washroom...finding time to breathe and gather yourself before you lose it...practice the thoughts and memories that make you feel good and that can bring you down safely...focus on your breathing and positive thoughts
- if you find you're being told what you need to do in your life...smile :)...listen...and remember you're loved. You may hear unasked for opinions but it's your life and it's your choice to choose what if any advice you follow. Smile and thank them for the advice and leave it at that okay? don't let it push you around. Take a break and walk away if you need to...take a deep breathe..but don't let this stop you from enjoying the people and things in your life
- when you've had enough...leave...every good party needs to come to an end and if you feel your time has come...say your good-byes...give your hugs...and go home...simple as that...don't feel guilty for needing to leave either okay? leaving when you've reached your social limits is a healthy step in recognizing and caring for your needs
- and when you get home...remember this is not the time to start rehashing what happened or what was said by whom or for beating yourself up for going when you really didn't want to anyway...this is time for you to focus on yourself...to soothe your needs and to care for YOU...go take a bath...read a book...whatever you need...relax and remind yourself you're home and you're okay. You did well!
Whatever function you may find yourself at you can prepare yourself for what you know you will need. Bring along what soothes you and use it, but don't avoid what you like or who you love because you may feel more pain. Plan for and prepare for your needs...even the emotional and mental ones too...prepare yourself and get involved in your life and those around you.
take good care of you and I hope you enjoy your next "gathering" and may you make memories that will keep you smiling for years to come