I've dreaded going home for Thanksgiving every year for so many years, but always felt obligated to go out of "family duty." Since learning of my misophonia last year, I realized that a lot of my stress over the holidays had to do with all the triggers that bombarded me during the major family gatherings. From the discomfort of being smothered by the family dogs to the torture at the dinner table caused by a combination of all the eating noises and chairs constantly bumping into mine as well as other tactile triggers resulting from being smooshed in the middle of the table instead of at a corner seat where I could get some elbow room... My anxiety levels are always sky high during holiday gatherings and this year I knew I wouldn't be able to tolerate it anymore. (The last time I was home was in May for my birthday and I wound up wearing my earplugs 24/7 for an entire week!!!)
On top of the usual trigger stresses from family gatherings, last year's hell also included my aunt having to drive three hours to get from their apartment to JFK airport to pick me up and then an additional 2+ hours of me driving us in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get from the airport back to the apartment. On any non-holiday day, that trip would normally take about a half hour each way. I just didn't see the point in going through all the travel stresses flying through multiple airports and then dealing with insane NYC traffic just for a few hours to be with family in more stressful situations. It winds up taking me over a month to recover from a couple of days visit home for Thanksgiving. So, as much as I knew that I didn't want to put myself through that nuttiness again this year, it was still hard telling my aunt my decision when she asked. I knew she would be very disappointed, but I said I'd try to make it up to her by coming home another time.
To be honest, I'm actually looking forward to a quiet couple of days to myself to take a breather, regroup my thoughts, and hopefully make a big dent towards completing my memoir.