What Christmas is like when you’re mentally unwell.

Today I posted my latest Mental Health Monday video “How to get through Christmas” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2eUks0j6vI

This time of year is extremely difficult for me, you may say ‘but you have a job, you live with your family’ etc, and that is very true but there is a lot more going on in my personal life than I like to let on. At the moment I’m the most mentally unwell I have ever been, every morning I wake up upset and angry simply because I am awake and have to face the world. I am a recluse, I am all ‘let’s do something’ then when it comes to doing said plans, I don’t wish to do it anymore. Ever since my extremely traumatic experience in Bournemouth on the 28th October, I have been in an intermittent state of psychosis and dissociation, I can barely recognise myself, before this I was extremely sociable and up for any social gathering. Whereas now I am simply only leaving the house to go to my part time job. I have sought help and we’re trying to create a care plan.

But anyway, I’m meandering away from the topic.

The festive season, particularly the build up towards it is extremely hard for some people, be it because of loneliness, family difficulties, bereavement, Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as “Winter Depression”) or many other reasons.

Christmas symbolises togetherness, although sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. Prior to 2011 I loved the festive period, I loved ice skating, walking through the German Christmas market and breathing in the delightful sounds and smells of the Oompa bands and mulled wine. But every year since, I have fallen out of love with Christmas, this is because every year since 2011 I’ve either been recovering from major surgery or chronically unwell or having the life sucked out of me due to mental illness and when these events happen, you lose friends, always, whether you like it or not.

I’m an extremely anxious person, the thought of going to a pub or Christmas market when there is loads of Christmas work dos and late night shopping happening makes me physically sick, I don’t do crowds of people, especially drunken people, I am also experiencing a lot of psychosis and dissociation and I only feel safe at my home, since November 1st I have only ever been at home or at work and haven’t been anywhere for leisure.

This last month or so I have watched many people post on social media with pictures of them at social gatherings, surrounded by Christmas lights, smiles plastered on their faces, or on beautiful city breaks such as Prague or Amsterdam (I think everyone has been to Amsterdam this year haha) or enjoying a nice hot chocolate after a spot of Christmas shopping. I long to be part of those things one day, instead I sit in bed with tears stinging my eyes and a lump in my throat. Call it the fear of missing out if you will. For the last year my social gatherings have been the same, I tire of doing the same thing, going to the same place, I just feel like I’m not good enough to do anything else.

Christmas when you are young is full of happiness, my happiest Christmas memories are those of when my late Nanny and Grandad came over on Christmas morning every year with our presents so they could sit with smiles across their faces as we excitedly opened and played with them. Even now 11 years on, it doesn’t feel right. I feel so deeply for everyone else who has lost a loved one and grieves their loss every year.

If you know someone who is having a tough time this Christmas, let them know you care, send them a message or start a conversation, just 5 minutes of your day can make someone else’s day a whole lot better, we understand the festive period is a lot more busier for some than others and that you may not be able to see us until it is over, if you are able to, arrange a date and time with the person so that they know they have a set time to see you and they will not worry about you forgetting about them.

Last but not least, don’t forget to treat yourself, they say that Christmas is the season of giving, well why don’t you GIVE yourself a break and GIVE yourself a treat?! Self care is so important, make sure you look after yourself before everyone else.

I’m not sure this blog made any sense, but if it did, great!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas,

Abbie xoxmas-doggos

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