It's OK not to be OK at Christmas


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:

0300 123 3393

08457 90 90 90
Write: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK,
PO Box 90 90,

Hearing Voices Network
0114 271 8210

0845 767 8000

Papyrus: Preventing young suicide
0800 068 4141

For people in Northern Ireland
0808 808 8000

Depression alliance

No Panic
0808 808 0545

National Self Harm Network
0800 622 6000

01708 765200
(Confidential emotional support for Children, Young People and Adults. Also keeps details of agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout the UK)


National Alcohol Hotline
0800 917 8282

NACOA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
0800 358 3456

Talk To Frank (Drug information & advice) (ENGLAND)
0800 77 66 00

Know The Score (Drug information & advice) (SCOTLAND)
0800 587 587 9

Dan 24/7 (Drug information & advice) (WALES)
0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066

Addiction NI (Drug information & advice) (Northern Ireland)
02890 664434


08000 50 20 20

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
0207 837 7324


0800 1111

Age UK Advice Line
0800 169 6565

The Silver Line (Free information, friendship and advice to older people.)
0800 4 70 80 90


0808 2000 247

Rape and Abuse Line
0808 800 0188
Eating Disorders:

Beat Eating Disorders
Helpline: 0845 634 1414
Youthline: 0845 634 7650

Housing and Homelessness:

0808 800 4444


Cruse Bereavement Care

Child Death Helpline
0800 282 986

Miscarriage Association

Ectopic Pregnancy Trust

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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