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This Christmas, you're not alone

December is challenging, Christmas even more so. I thinks it’s the same for most people, whether you have depression or not. It certainly reminds me that one person’s pleasure is another person’s pain.

I called my sister last December 25th. She sounded harassed. The oven had stopped working. Her extended family were due and they were expecting turkey. My niece had just got Play Doh all over the carpet. To me, that sounds like heaven. I adore the people I have in my life, but I know they’re busy with their families at this time of year and spending time with them somehow holds a brighter candle to my own loneliness. So I will shut myself away as much as I can. Am I a coward for doing so? Probably. Am I selfish for seeing my life in this way? More than likely. But depression is selfish, lonely and frightening and I am a depressive. Christmas makes me feel more different than ever.

I hope that in writing this my friends and family don't see me as ungrateful. That is not my intention. I do hope that in writing this, one other person will feel less alone. A little less of an outsider. You’re not alone. There’s quite a few of us. Some of us will be sat on our own when December 25th arrives. We’ll be pretending it’s just another day. Others will have a house full of people and wish for the day to end for very different reasons. But we are here. We exist. And we’ll do what we always do – our best, under trying circumstances.

That’s the thing with depression – it makes you doubt yourself and your abilities. But we can get through the toughest of days – the kind of impossible day that other people can’t understand. So what it’s December 25th? My worst day this year was February 27th. Or May 23rd. Or June 17th. It’s just another day and we have got through worse. We can get through this.

It’s hard to share something so personal with others. I do so because if depression is ‘selfish, lonely and frightening’ (yes, I just quoted myself) then it can’t survive when its consequences are shared. By writing this I’ve had to think about what Christmas might mean to others – screw you selfishness. By telling you why I loathe Christmas so much I’ve reached out and loosened loneliness’s grip. By seeing these words in front of me I’ve realised that they are just words, just feelings – that’s not so frightening is it? Maybe I’ll see a few friends after all. Not for long, just a quick catch up. It’s a start.

For those of you who can, I wish you a joyful Christmas. For those of us who can’t quite bring ourselves to hope for that, know that you’re not on your own. I’ll go for a long walk with the dogs. Maybe I’ll sit down to watch the most unseasonal film in my collection. I would raise a toast but it’s not a good idea on these bloody meds. Whatever I do, I’ll be thinking of you.

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske

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