I have a wee bit of a reputation as something of a curmudgeon who isn’t slow to anger on the important issues of the day like beans on a fry up and backpack etiquette on public transport. There are occasions when I, unashamedly, play up to it on social media. Those two subjects aside the reality is that I am not actually like that, most of the time I am quite cheery and not that unpleasant to be around.
I say most of the time as life rarely travels in straight lines and there are times where my mood is low , and I am pretty sure I am not alone in this. With that in mind I decided to write something as there are times when my favoured social media platform, Twitter doesn’t really lend itself to nuance and getting something serious across in 280 characters is a challenge. As a medium Twitter is great for knob gags less so for mental health issues.
The festive season is upon us with all that entails, Christmas being a time of happiness, peace and goodwill where people spend time with family and loved ones and New Year where new opportunities and hope abound. Except for many it’s not like that..
The family aspect of Christmas can be a huge blessing but it can also be a time where the absence of a loved one is felt more acutely than at any other time of year. The same goes for New Year and with the subtext of reflection on the past year it can mean that people focus on the negative experiences which rarely leads to anything good.
I am not trying to harsh anyone’s Christmas buzz, I know people who utterly love this time of year, I salute you and absolutely fill your boots. This is just a reminder that there are many who either don’t really care for the festive period or absolutely hate it. When you appear to be swimming against a tide of perceived jollity it can take its toll on your mood and in some cases your mental health.
All I am asking is that you bear this in mind, don’t “force” anyone to enjoy the festivities, many see this as a time to be survived and would prefer the normality of the other 11 months of the year to be restored. Feelings of loneliness, personal failings and heart stopping grief can be particularly acute, if you want to embrace the spirit of Christmas keep an eye on each other and be aware of and respect the feelings of those around you..
For those who are really struggling there are people out there to talk to, the Samaritans and CALM are fantastic resources that are even more vital at this time of year. On Twitter the very wonderful Sarah Millican will again be championing her #joinin campaign where people who are alone on Christmas Day can chat to each other using that hashtag, it’s a beautiful thing.
I don’t want anyone thinking I’m trying to make people feel guilty or come across as a pious prick, my life experience just means that I don’t particularly enjoy this time of year and just wanted a reminder out there that I am not alone in that
I wish you all as happy and peaceful Christmas as possible.