It's OK not to be OK at Christmas

Hello,

This year has me feeling very differently about Christmas than I usually do. I don't know if it was the loss of my uncle this year, the recent bout of insomnia that knocked me sideways, or even another year dealing with Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and depression, but my usual rabid enthusiasm for Christmas has vanished.


I haven't wrapped a single thing yet, other than presents I had to post. I've only put 2 small (2-3 feet) Christmas trees up and there are no lights on the trees. I only opened all the Christmas cards I'd received 2 days ago. For some reason I'm just not feeling it this year, and you know what? It's OK.

It's totally OK to be not ready for the 'season of goodwill'. It's totally fine to be 'Oh hell no' rather than 'Ho ho ho!' It's perfectly acceptable to see Christmas day out under a haze of G&T if that's what it takes for you to survive. It's all OK. It's OK to be you, to be fragile and complicated and to not be able to turn on the happiness like a tap when the time of year demands it.

I think a lot of the sadness that comes about at Christmas time is because we beat ourselves up for not being as happy as everyone else, but you know what? A lot of people are faking it. There are more people out there struggling than you might realise, so please don't beat yourself up if you're immune to the charms of Elf and Love Actually and Christmas carols make you want to punch someone in the face.

I'm always open about my feelings (I have emotional diarrhoea) and since I've been sharing how NOT ready I am for Christmas, a lot of other people have too. So please, if you're feeling overwhelmed, tell someone, or lots of people, and I bet at least one person will say 'Thank God it's not just me!' If you're not feeling the joy of Christmas you're not alone, so please don't feel like you are.

If there are feelings which don't get better after sharing with someone, or if there's no one to talk to, please don't suffer alone. Here's a list of UK helplines, thoughtfully compiled by Sian from Sort Out Life Buy Milk and posted here with permission.

Mental Health:

MIND
www.mind.org.uk
0300 123 3393

Samaritans
www.samaritans.org
08457 90 90 90
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Write: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK,
Chris,
PO Box 90 90,
Stirling,
FK8 2SA

Hearing Voices Network
www.hearing-voices.org
0114 271 8210

SANELine
www.sane.org.uk
0845 767 8000

Papyrus: Preventing young suicide
www.papyrus-uk.org
0800 068 4141

For people in Northern Ireland
www.lifeline.info
0808 808 8000

Depression alliance
www.depressionalliance.org

No Panic
www.no-panic.co.uk
0808 808 0545

National Self Harm Network
www.nshn.co.uk
0800 622 6000

SupportLine
http://www.supportline.org.uk/
01708 765200
info@supportline.org.uk
(Confidential emotional support for Children, Young People and Adults. Also keeps details of agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout the UK)

Addiction:

National Alcohol Hotline
http://www.drinksmarter.org/drinkline
0800 917 8282

NACOA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
http://www.nacoa.org.uk/
0800 358 3456

Talk To Frank (Drug information & advice) (ENGLAND)
http://www.talktofrank.com/
0800 77 66 00

Know The Score (Drug information & advice) (SCOTLAND)
http://knowthescore.info/
0800 587 587 9

Dan 24/7 (Drug information & advice) (WALES)
http://www.dan247.org.uk/
0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066

Addiction NI (Drug information & advice) (Northern Ireland)
http://addictionni.com/
02890 664434

LGBTQIA:

Stonewall
www.stonewall.org.uk
08000 50 20 20

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
http://www.llgs.org.uk/
0207 837 7324

Age:

Childline
www.childline.org.uk
0800 1111

Age UK Advice Line
www.ageuk.org.uk
0800 169 6565

The Silver Line (Free information, friendship and advice to older people.)
http://www.thesilverline.org.uk/
0800 4 70 80 90

Abuse:

Refuge
www.refuge.org.uk
0808 2000 247

Rape and Abuse Line
http://therapeandsexualabusehelpline.co.uk/
0808 800 0188
Eating Disorders:

Beat Eating Disorders
http://www.b-eat.co.uk/
Helpline: 0845 634 1414
Youthline: 0845 634 7650

Housing and Homelessness:

Shelter
www.shelter.org.uk
0808 800 4444

Crisis
http://www.crisis.org.uk/
 
Bereavement:

Cruse Bereavement Care
www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk

Child Death Helpline
http://www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk
0800 282 986

Miscarriage Association
http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/

Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
http://www.ectopic.org.uk/

Thanks for reading, and hugs from me to you if you're feeling a bit crappy this Christmas. If you know of any more helplines or want to add helplines for your country in the comments, please do.

Leah xoxo

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