So its almost here. Consumerism heaven. Sorry, I mean Christmas. That time of year which can make you or break you.
People fall into three categories at this time of year. The insanely enthusiastic, with their gaudy Christmas jumpers, dazzling cheer and houses bedecked with a million sparkling illuminations. The middle of the road, can’t really be arsed but plodding along as its what people do, or those who really wish it wasn’t Christmas at all, and are having a really hard time coping, without all the festive shenanigans.
I fall into the middle category. Years ago, before I got ill, Christmas was a magical time for me. I was a social butterfly. The holidays were all about the kids’ concerts, the breathtaking carol concerts with the Halle Orchestra and choir (I was a soprano) and the yearly performance of Handel’s Messiah. This would be topped off with a fun-filled, jollity laden Christmas with my good friends in their country home.
Now, life is very different. Friends are few and far between and I do not stand on a stage in the spotlight. The children don’t sing and I do not quaff champagne whilst dining around a table full of frolicsome company. I play along with the festivities for the sake of my son. Santa does come to the house but that magic will soon die as my son is only a half believer this year. The Christmas cards end up in the recycling bin as my son is Autistic and likes to tear them down during meltdowns. The Christmas music, so gaudy and commercial, that so intrusively invades my senses, falls on deaf ears. I have gone through the motions. The cards have all been dutifully written, presents beautifully wrapped. We will have dinner at mum’s with my family.
I have a good friend who is very depressed and struggling at this time of year. She has barely been out of the house in weeks, and is trying to cope with three young children. My heart goes out to her, and all the other people who are coping with mental illness, especially at this supposed festive time of year. I remember being hospitalised for many months due to a severe mania, and feeling very alone at a time when others were together. I truly hope that they have someone to look out for them, to reach out and care. There will be many people who are hurting inside, but putting on a face for the sake of their loved ones.
As I try and recapture some of the lost magic of Christmas by playing some soothing classical Christmas music on the radio, and maybe even listen to the Messiah, I will hold in my thoughts those who are suffering at this time of year. If you can hold them in your hearts, that would be wonderful, and if you can reach out, that would be even more beautiful.
Happy Christmas, everyone!