Christmas is all around us at the moment. Lights. Tinsel. Adverts. Shops. Presents. Food. Christmas Trees. It’s a happy time. It’s a family time. It’s a time to be thankful. It’s a time that everyone looks forwards to. It’s a time to spend money on those we love.
So many messages and suggestions everywhere, and yet, that’s not the reality of Christmas.
Yes, Christmas can be all those things, but Christmas can also be about other things too.
Christmas can be about feeling lonely and alone, if you don’t have family/friends, or don’t talk to family, or don’t have the people around you you want, or don’t have somewhere to go and someone to see.
Christmas can be about being terrified about all the food, either feeling forced to eat too much, feeling pressured to eat, feeling watched while you eat, or having to miss out on treats and things you want to eat.
Christmas can be about loss, and person or animal missing from your life at that time
Christmas can be about ‘firsts’, the first Christmas without someone, the first Christmas separated, the first Christmas alone, the first Christmas with an illness… or any other kind of first.
Christmas can be about anxiety and panic at going somewhere that feels unsafe, or going in crowded places or unknown places.
Christmas can be about the challenges of lack of money and yet wanting to buy things for people, or needing to buy things for people, and the stress of working out how to fund it, or the shame that you can’t buy what you want, or guilt for not giving what you want to.
Christmas can be about hibernating into your home and desperately waiting for that intolerable day to pass because it feels so overhelming, in whatever way.
Christmas can be about dreading meeting up with people you don’t want to, but feeling that you should, because it’s Christmas.
Christmas can be about being confronted with what you don’t have but want or wanted by this Christmas, like a partner, or child, or remission from an illness, or in a specific situation.
Christmas can be about the fear or terror of having to connect with people who have previously hurt you, or of the sadness of how fragmented your family is, for whatever reason.
Christmas can be a time for loneliness, for fear, for sadness, or shame, for guilt, for desperation, for overwhelmingness, and for so many other uncomfortable feelings. The reality of Christmas is that is an incredibly difficult time of year, for many, many people.
If you relate to anything I have said, you are not alone. Experience tells me that equal, if not more people feel these uncomfortable and intense feelings about Christmas and find Christmas incredibly difficult.
If Christmas is a hard time for you, for whatever reason, then please be kind to yourself. Think about what you need to survive it and try to give yourself the space to meet that need.
Reach out if you need to.
You can contact the Samaritans should you feel overwhelmed or desperate or just need to connect with and talk to someone.
Remember though, Christmas is just one day. It will pass quickly. Then it will be done.
You can do it.