Bipolar Disorder and the Thanksgiving Holiday part two…….

Continued from Thanksgiving part one…..


My friend Margery who has bipolar disorder just called and told me that her sister has decided to come down to Portland where she lives instead of staying in Seattle.  Margery said, “I cooked her dinner a few years ago, Julie. I’m not spending days cooking for something that is gone in a few hours. It’s too stressful!” I agree. Margery just reserved a full Thanksgiving dinner from Whole foods.  She picks it up Thanksgiving  morning! She said it was so cheap when everyone went in on it.  These stores have great and inexpensive salad bars as well. 

Good idea:  Say no to cooking if it’s too much for you. Let others do it or buy dinner from a store and bring it home.  Or, eat out!

I’d like to say I’m immune to the whole Thanksgiving thing- but I’m not. I have to make sure I have something to do that day or I know I will get depressed and lonely.  It’s my nature. The concept of Thanksgiving has been burned into my American brain.  My dinners were so wonderful as a child- that is what I remember.

Here are some tips if Thanksgiving is important to you:

1. Plan now. Where do you want to be? Start hinting to the people you know that you would be a good addition to the party.

2. Send out an email to friends saying you are looking for a fun dinner. You will get replies. Yes, you can do this the day before Thanksgiving. 

3. Volunteer for the day. Many people do this and you meet new friends.

4. Crash a party!

5. Go to Target to check out the Black Friday specials. Oh – this just sounds terrible…  but people love it! Buy a TV the next day! 😉  Guys…. this is a joke. I’m joking! I’M JOKING! 

6. Go to the movies with a friend. Pay for one and then sneak into the others…hehe

7. If you’re going to order a dinner from a place such as Whole Foods, do so ahead of time. They do sell out.

Or… you can be like me.

8.  Tell your family you’re not going to do anything to prepare or clean up, but you will pay for food. That is the ONLY way I can survive the hullabaloo around the holidays. If you are cash strapped, offering to do the dishes is worth its weight in gold! 

Get creative.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have firm plans yet, start making them right now.  It’s hard to be lonely on the holidays when you have bipolar disorder.

If you are filled with bounty and you know someone who could use a good time in a kind setting, send an email.

There is a place for everyone.




8 comments to Bipolar Disorder and the Thanksgiving Holiday part two…….

  • Julie you have one invite to Soquel, CA!

  • Susan in Alaska

    Hey Julie, this posting just inspired me to call the Salvation Army. I’m going to deliver meals on Thanksgiving and be a bell ringer (I’ve always wanted to do that!) You gave me the reminder I needed to get out and do something, because I’m not sure I have anyone to have dinner with and, like you, I don’t want to stay at home alone. Every year I’ve forgotten to sign up far enough in advance and many times have ended up spending a very depressing day by myself. I’m not very good at hinting for dinner invitations, I guess.

    After volunteering (even if I’m alone that night) I’ve got a “date” with James Bond at the movies to look forward to!! And if I am alone that just means I get to eat ALL of the popcorn by myself, which is good because I usually hog the whole thing myself anyway, HeeHee!


  • Julie, we’re having a turkey and lots of stuff. We’re far from family so it’s usually just the two of us, but we love to have the whole thing. We’d have more people over if we knew any people who 1) didn’t have other plans, and 2) wanted to come watch football and eat turkey. We would LOVE to see you!

    Of course, we’re way up in Vancouver, but IT’S NOT THAT FAR!

    • If I didn’t have plans, I would be there in a second! A calm day with football sounds amazing! I just wrote you on Facebook as well. Your offer is so very appreciated! Julie

  • Frannie

    I had family over for Thanksgiving. Really enjoyed shopping for the ingredients, deciding how to set the table, and spending time with my new greatgrandson. All went well until the end of the day when everyone except me and my siblings had went home. They do not see me as truly disabled–think I went on disability to get out of working. My sister made a comment that she was working to pay for me to get better medical care than she could afford. This is hurtful–and while I understand that she and my brother have no idea how bipolar has impacted my ability to work or how necessary it is for me to have proper medical…it makes me angry to be judged. I am taking credit for the fact that I remained appropriate with them, while making a mental note to no longer share any medical issues with them. This is the second time this month that someone I trusted (the first was my best friend) voiced this opinion. I have no idea how to handle this…I’ve been working hard at rebuilding relationships damaged by my untreated bipolar symptoms in years past yet I also feel disrespected. Any sugesstions???

    • Deb

      Oh my Frannie I can so relate with how things are going with your family. This is the first time in my life my sister’s have stopped speaking to me since becoming homeless. My mom also did for awhile but we have patched things up. She knows better than them how hard bipolar has been for me and as I get older it just seems to be harder to bounce back when depression strikes me. As for suggestions, I have just recently wrote an email to my niece who has always been like a daughter to me to apologize for whatever I have done to have her and family stop speaking to me since August. I have done my part I feel the rest is up to them. Good Luck Frannie

  • Deb

    This is the first year that I choose not to be around family pretty much, well except my mom. She and I will be going out for dinner which I look forward to. Since I came out of the crisis center in June and became homeless my family has shunned me more or less. They think just because I “look” ok etc that I should just be able to go back to work and it will just all be fine…. So I have tried for them but as we know doing it to make others happy just makes it worse on us. So this year as I said I am doing what I feel will be better for me! Oh and Julie you really inspire me with your writings.. Thanks

  • Jesse

    This is my first year approching the holidays knowing I have BP disorder. I have not been a fan of American holidays since I was a kid. What I mean by that is I always thought Christmas could be awesome if it wasn’t over hyped and commercialized. I always thought Easter could be awesome if it was actually passover, and I have a special appreciation for Hanukkah and Rosh Hashanah.

    All that to say that Thanksgiving is a good day to focus on what I am thankful for in a year that has been unbelievably difficult. This year has been hell with all the psychiatric issues and the heavy doses of medications. The reality is that I should be extremely grateful to be alive after two suicide attempts. I am thankful that I didn’t put my children through the hell of losing a parent. I am grateful that I know what I am dealing with now and can fight it.

    I am most thankful for my friends and family who have bore my burdens with me and walked with me through the fire. I owe them my life.

    – J