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Why Family Gatherings Can Make Me So Anxious

As you may know, if you follow this blog, my grandma is having open heart surgery on Monday. She’s scared. I’m scared. The family seems to be coming together. People are making peace – however temporary – with others in the family. Invitations are being extended to her for visits,etc.

My mother and I have been asked to take care of her for her 3 weeks. My uncles will, of course, visit too, but the main responsibility rests on my mom’s shoulders – I am just the relief.

But all this has nothing to do with the title of this blog – let me explain. I have severe anxiety disorder in addition to bipolar 1 and OCD. Put me in a group of people, especially a group on edge, and I am a mess. One Thanksgiving, maybe 6 years ago, I burst out crying before I even made it to the table with my family because I was so overcome with anxiety.

I guess what I fear is the judgement. They have known me all my life – how does my weight compare now to then? Why am I not dating anyone? Why did I choose to live where I did? I just feel scrutinized and the thought of not living up to someone’s expectations, let alone my family’s, makes my skin crawl.

I think anxiety is akin to invisibility. You just want to disappear; have no one notice you. You don’t want to stand out. My family loves me and some members I don’t see often so they want to pay attention to me. Thus the anxiety.

Photo by chefranden

Why Family Gatherings Can Make Me So Anxious

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2017). Why Family Gatherings Can Make Me So Anxious. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Jun 2017
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