Coping with Christmas || My Fear of the Festive Season

This is a letter from my heart to yours.

I don’t pride myself in having it all together and hope not to create an impression that I do. I certainly don’t. Every fluctuates and changes the tides of emotions for me, often leaving me feeling lost, confused or conflicted. Living with anxiety is hard and is amplified around big events with high expectations.  This year has brought along so many challenges that have thrown me off course several times and this year Christmas is not excluded from that evergrowing list.

Usually, around this time of year, I am typically on the hype of festive spirit because it is a chance for all of the people I love to come together and celebrate the love and joy we share, offering token gestures of gratitude through great food and thoughtful gifts.

However, I sit writing this, I feel disconnected from the season of goodwill. I am not feeling merry and bright, to be honest, the light inside me right now is not even remotely dim. It is as though my entire being as switched off from the wonderful things that Christmas has brought me before and left me feeling like an empty vessel that is not being filled with mulled wine or hot chocolate.

We are inundated with advertisements, shows, stories, and media that evoke a picture-perfect postcard of how Christmas should be. We are told this is a time of joy, happiness, and love. Yet, I know that right now I am not the only one who really could do without this ideal image of how it ought to be. We get this idea that if we do certain things that we will get that perfect Christmas however you started the month. You see it on your feeds, in magazines, and on the TV all images that aren’t really showing the true reality of how Christmas is for the majority if not all of us.

It isn’t smooth or easy-going. It’s hard no matter what your physical or mental health might be like. Though time after time, build up a distorted view of the real world we live in, often our own. But we can’t paint over the truth. Cracks will begin to show at some point or another.

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Life is not planned, it happens. Changes in circumstances, relationships, environments, emotions, and feelings can occur without much warning. They also don’t come with a ‘how to overcome’ manual. We learn through time and patience which quite frankly I don’t have the energy for.

Though over the years of living with mental health problems, I always remind myself of one of the biggest lessons I have learned; this will pass.

Just because it is Christmas does not mean things automatically switch to match the spirit of the season. We don’t need to pretend that we are in the full festive mood, singing Christmas songs every day, eating mince pies, pulling crackers and laughing at the cheesy joke.

We are still human.

We still go through difficult periods no matter what time of year it may be.

Personally, these past few months have been amongst the overwhelming I have had in a long time. There are many parts of my life are unstable and frightening to deal with. It has been difficult to come to terms with the fact that this Christmas isn’t going to be as wonderful as I hoped for.

So my message to you reading this is to just be. 

Don’t think too much. Don’t pile on any unnecessary pressure. Don’t complicate things further by pretending to feel anything other than how you are really feeling. Try to acknowledge that it is okay to not be okay, that it doesn’t have to be dazzling fairy lights shiny decorations. You can be yourself and that is enough. Surround yourself with the things that really matter dearly to you, hold on tightly to those that you adore, be in a place that offers you comfort and space to breathe.

Make this season be however you can make it be.

To all those facing their own battles this year; you will get through this. Have faith in yourself. You have all that you need. Never forget that you are not alone.

With love

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