While a certain new gadget or that perfect getaway might come to mind when someone asks, “What do you want for the holidays?” this year, we’re asking a different question for people in our community who deal with anxiety disorders:
6. “To enjoy the moment as it is, here and now. The food, smells, sights, friends, family and laughter. For my mind not to lead me astray into my worries and fears and cut me off from memories to be made. I wish to genuinely smile again without the anxiety monster attached to my head feeding off my energy, personality and ability to learn and concentrate.” — Kyle D.
7. “To finally quiet the constant conversations going on internally, so I can enjoy life, not kind of have a good time as I worry about the next thing, what people think, etc. Maybe I’ll be full of energy too, so I can do more than the minimum to get by.” — Lauren G.
8. “Some of my friends have anxiety disorders as well and so I’m making them ‘self-care kits’ that include things like tea, coloring pages, journal, warheads, mellow mix CD, etc. Things that I think can help in moments of crisis. Things that can distract and calm and ground. So I think that kind of stuff is helpful, things that show you care and maybe can help in crisis even if you’re not physically there.” — Olivia I.
9. “Peace. Peace from worry. Peace from having to have everything constantly planned to perfection, therefore under my control. Peace from being terrified of meeting new people. Peace from being afraid to make new friends. Peace from thinking I’m a terrible person. Peace from a mind that never slows down and is always looking for something to stress over. Peace from always, always being afraid.” — Rachael C.
10. “I already got it: an open-ended invitation to visit family during the holidays at any time, whether it’s during a large gathering or just myself and my dad and step-mum. On my terms. So that it’s the healthiest and happiest for me.” — Chriss T.
11. “To be able to embrace my social anxiety/phobia instead of always trying to erase it. It’s a part of who I am, and it has helped me to understand myself and others so much more than I could have ever though. Also, being able to reach out to those and understand where they are coming from and going through.” — Elizabeth G.
12. “To find the inner strength to face the fears instead of running away from them no matter how small or big they seem to others. That way I can learn I am not my anxiety and that I am my own safe person.” — Samantha H.
13. “To be able to stop overthinking everything around me, from school work, to people talking about me when they aren’t. I just want a moment of rest from the wild ride within my head. I want to be able to enjoy the holiday without feeling anxious with everyone around me.” — Samantha M.
14. “Understanding and bravery. I hate when people get mad for not being able to make a decision right away. You know, when someone says, ‘Hey, let’s go there’ and I can’t say ‘Yes!’ I need time. And I need understanding that if I say ‘No’ it’s not because I don’t want to go, because I really do want to.” — Kristina M.
15. “My mom’s compassion and sympathy. I genuinely believe she thinks I’m making this stuff up.” — Kristin D.
16. “I want to live in the present. I want my husband to not feel like I could break down at any moment and feel frustrated with me. I want to stop clenching my jaw. I want to be able to fall asleep in less than two hours and stay asleep. I want to not feel panic first thing when I wake up. I want an end to nervous digestive issues. I want to be able to feel compassion for myself. I want to go a whole day without saying ‘I’m sorry.’ I want normal breathing to be something that comes naturally. I want to stop having fake fights with loved ones in my head. I want a nice, peaceful Christmas.” — Gillian S.
17. “To feel like someone outside of my family truly cares. My family is wonderful, but I need my friends, too, and it feels like they’ve all given up on me because my anxiety has pushed them away. I want them to care enough to call or text just to ask how I’m doing. I want them to realize that when I don’t respond right away, it’s not because I don’t want to; it’s because I physically can’t at the moment. I want them to be patient and try to understand that I am trying to get better, and need their support.” — Nikki H.
18. “A full night’s sleep. A brain that can calm down, and the ability to sit in silence and not think of everything that needs to be done, that I did wrong yesterday and five years ago, and that is wrong with me.” — Stephanie H.
19. “I would love to be able to go out to Christmas parties without panicking and having to leave within the first 10 minutes. If there are more then five unrecognized faces, I panic. I don’t want to feel my airways close and feel like I’m on the edge of crying for no reason.” — Jessica H.
20. “That look from somebody that shows they understand and I’m not as ‘crazy’ as I feel sometimes. That my fight is going to be worth it in the end.” — Katherine W.
21. “I wish I was freed from the restraints my brain put on me, so I could use some of my talents, live out some of the dreams I hardly dare to think about and never speak of, and move forward in life and be a productive member of society.” – Line P.
22. “To get into grad school for psychology, so I can help others now that I’m finally managing my symptoms well (specifically would appreciate working at a residential OCD facility). Oh, I know… I’d also like to gain back confidence lost.” — Samantha M.
23. “Enough courage (…and money) to take a serious step forward next year and do something I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because of anxiety. Top of the list would be travel, or maybe go back to grad school.” — Sarah R.
24. “I would like to be able to give my friends and family presents with out being so anxious that they’ll hate them I just don’t end up buying them — and then feeling just as bad that I didn’t get them anything…” — Gabby E.
25. “Mine would be for anyone who is battling any mental illness to know how loved and special they are to their friends and family. Remember yesterday, live for today, and dream for tomorrow.” –Heather C
26. “Adult coloring books!” — Kylee C.
27. “I want to feel happy. Like really feel it in my bones. I want to be so happy it consumes me and there is no other room for any other emotions.” — Louise W.
28. “Independence. To be able to do everything nice that is is my mind and in my heart, to face life and to achieve goals and to not feel like a failure. — Karina H.
29. “I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and see this amazing women my family, boyfriend and friends see, because all I see is someone who is worthless.” — Tammy Z.
30. “Just a hug from someone who really cares. In my case my very understanding wife. She saved my anxious heart and life.” — Uwe H.
31. “To make it through my children’s holiday concert without a panic attack.” — Marybeth B.
32. “I wish this holiday to gain more control over my anxiety. To be able to use my coping skills without too much trouble. Also for friends support and understanding. I also wish this on others who are struggling as well. Happy Holidays.” — Kayla G.
What would you add to the list?