This blog is a slight deviation from what I usually write but I feel that it is important to share.
December is a time for festive cheer, Christmas parties, catching up with friends and spending time with family. It is a time to unwind and put the pressures of work and everyday life on hold. This is what a perfect Christmas looks like; but is this reality? The run up to the 25th December for many indicates stress and anxiety. Overspending, chasing the next ‘in’ toy, gift or gadget or fretting about sprouts or arguing about where to sit the mother in law at dinner can all take the enjoyment of what the day is about.
For many, Christmas is a time of sadness or loneliness, it is about hiding your feelings of mental illness from others, simply because you want to fit in to what society tells you to. There will be people out there sitting around the table struggling. They say 1 in 4 suffer from a mental health illness, but I believe it to be more like 1 in 2. Therefore, there is a distinct possibility that someone close to you may have other things on their mind.
What about the colleague who does not get involved in secret santa or avoids the Christmas party, festivities or other social situations? Do you just think they are ‘unsociable?’ They maybe, but are there any other underlying issues?
What can you do about it? How can you recognise it?
This is a simple one to answer. Just look out for each other, ask your friend, colleague, family member how they are and if you detect something you ask further. I do not want to take the fun out of Christmas, but you only have to look at suicide rates to see the real story.
As for me, two years ago on Christmas Eve, a friend and colleague spotted I was in a bad place and would not let me leave the office. Whilst everyone came in to wish me a Merry Christmas, all I wanted to do was curl up and die. I hid this as best as I could and returned the complements with a smile. My friend took me out in the car for two hours before feeling reassured and allowing me to go home. I decided to spend Christmas day alone. This is what I wanted. I had offers from family but I needed time out for myself. I could not face my own head.
If it was not for my friend / colleague who took the time to ask how I was and probe further I do not know where I would be.
For me, this year, Christmas will be different and I intend to enjoy it and have a good time.
Look out for each other and enjoy the December festivities x