There are a number of posts that circulate at this time of the year featuring quotes about what people with anxiety, depression, bipolar, or just mental health in general would like others to know during the holiday season.
When asked what BFRBers would want others to know during the holiday season, here are the responses they gave. So if you are a loved one of a BFRBer who has invited him or her to come join in some holiday festivities, these might be some things to keep in mind.
- “My trich (and derm) is stress related, and yes you’ll probably see me doing at least a little here and there but that DOESN’T mean that I’m not happy or enjoying the holidays. And it doesn’t mean I’m ruining anything if I happen to do so.” – Dorothy C.
- “Don’t take off my Santa Hat, no matter how funny you think it is.” – Katy T.
- “One thing that’s always bothered me is that families tend to bring up someone’s mental health issues during a holiday gathering. Family is supposed to be a safe space and a lot of the time that’s not the case.” – Annalee F.
- “You don’t need to talk about it. We’re very aware (and self-conscious), so it doesn’t need to be discussed.” – Kendyl H.
- “Please don’t make comments about our sores or offer us beauty/make up tips. Understand if we need to leave an event early because it’s too overwhelming.” – Beth W.
- “That you’re not doing it for attention or because you don’t like certain people. Also people can see it as rude or improper like ‘do you have to do that here?’ Ugh.” – Sara L.
- “Holidays are stressful to begin with. I tend to be triggered by different lighting and different mirrors (at someone else’s house) and can just lose myself completely to picking. A gentle reminder to come back to the world wouldn’t hurt.” -Lisa G.
- “‘Oh, you changed your hair again.’ I KNOW! Someone’s appearance shouldn’t be a topic of conversation. It’s just not polite.” – Iris P.
- “Saying ‘just stop it’ does not help at all! I feel horrible enough that I can’t just stop it.” – Zoë J.
- “If I’m wearing my mitts inside the house, please don’t comment or make fun of it. I’m wearing them to help stop me from picking.” – Jenna H.
- “That if we don’t come to an event, we may be home crying and wish we could come but we are too filled with shame. It doesn’t mean we don’t WANT to go. Please don’t berate us for the absence.” – Karen W.
- “Give me privacy at overnight stays involving a pullout sofa. Just don’t ask, gesture, question or mention it.” – Diana R.
- “Please don’t comment on my nail biting ‘habit.’ You have no idea it’s a subconscious reaction to trauma” – Arden M.
- “We may not feel very festive or ‘in the holiday spirit’ because we’re mentally exhausted from dealing with our BFRB(s). Many of us have multiple mental health issues and we’re doing our best not to damper the holiday experience for others.” – Christina D.
- “I’m not doing this to hurt myself or feel pain. I go into a bit of a trance and don’t feel the pain until after I’ve torn away the strips of flesh. This isn’t self-harm.” – Theresa R.
- “Please treat us the same as you would normally when we are not struggling. The more you are concerned and ask about it, the more self-conscious we become and the more we stress/struggle.” – Brianna S.