I’m sure I’m not the only person on this planet who suffers with their mental health, especially when the Christmas period is approaching! I thought I’d write a blog, which may or may not start a discussion. Feel free to give it a read if this interests you.
I’m in no way looking for attention or suggesting that everyone who suffers with their mental health will also ‘dislike’ Christmas. This is general discussion and opinions. We are all allowed to disagree 🙂
I personally really do struggle with my mental health around Christmas time. Usually from around the 22nd of December right up until maybe the 3rd week of January. That sounds like a long time doesn’t it?
I do actually really enjoy the process of buying gifts, and giving presents – as much as I am a bit of a cheap skate through-out the rest of the year, I am pretty good when it comes to getting everyone’s presents. I love scrolling through places online, and purchasing gifts that people wouldn’t have thought of, having a look around the shops and the Christmas markets in town, to see if I can find something that someone will really appreciate etc. I love sentimental things as well, as I like to make things or write something really special in a card, and then wrapping everything up – I just get a lot of joy out of that part of the festive season.
What about the food? Everyone loves the food Jodes! I do, I do love the food. The traditional roast dinner, the mince pies, the Christmas pudding (specially purchased from Waitrose, just for the giant orange in the centre), the cheese board, the turkey sandwiches, will you have a Christmas cake, a yule log or a stollen… oh let’s have all 3! It’s Christmas after all! Oh and how can I forget about the selection boxes of chocolates!!
The food, is probably one of the best parts of the season, am I right?
Got to love a good ol’ Christmas cracker as well!
Oh and the tele! I’m a sucker for the Christmas episode of EastEnders – do we still get our Doctor Who Christmas special?
Oh and the movies – usually the classic Disney movies, with a couple of cheeky Christmas classics thrown in. We have our Christmas comedy specials as well…. oh the TV is something to be gathered around at Crimbo isn’t it.
And of course the booze! Who doesn’t get a little tipsy when they are feeling merry and bright? Can’t say that I am huge lover of the Mulled Wine, but I am partial to a snow ball occasionally 🙂 I don’t know if it is the same for everyone, but we seem to stock up on alcohol we usually never drink! Bottle of whisky, bottle of rum, bottle of vodka just for good luck, throw in a bottle of port just because it tis the season to be jolly, of course we must have every colour of wine – white, red and rose just in case, can’t forget that advocaat for the snow balls, why not throw in a bottle of bailey’s just for good measure…. all drinks we never even think about during the other 11 months of the year, but for some reason, at Christmas time… we drink everything!
Christmas doesn’t really sound so bad does it? What could be so bad about the festive season?
The food is divine, we get gifted with presents that make us smile, we decorate our houses with cards, lights and trees full of tinsel, we drink all the alcohol we can possibly consume whilst watching crappy Christmas tele, which actually isn’t always crappy.
What about feeling lonely? In a house full of people. What about not getting invited to the family Christmas party on Boxing Day? What about not getting a secret Santa present? What about not having anyone special to share the festive season with? What about having no family to spend your time with? What about having no plans? What about not being able to afford Christmas as a whole?
Christmas was great when I was a child. I’d see my cousin, and usually get all the toys I wanted, and I’d get 2 whole weeks to just play with them all day long, as a kid I was far too busy with the latest Barbie and Nintendo game to worry about how much time it took my parents to wrap and hide the presents, for my Mum to cook our Christmas meal, I was too busy playing with my Tamagotchi with my cousins to watch TV. Christmas was the best time of year when I was young! Suddenly, when you get to about 14, the toys seem to slowly dwindle… and you end up being gifted with an infinite number of socks and pants, that somehow turn into spare Tupperware lids throughout the year.
Then there’s the Christmas songs. The songs that are played on repeat in every single store you go in. the songs that the second you hear them during the first week of November, you are instantly reminded of the depressive state ahead, the stress of getting everything ‘just right’. You can’t escape the commercialised joy of Christmas that is forced fed down our throats from the end of September… although, as soon as January 1st rolls around, it might as well be Easter! We get told how we should prepare our dinners, what gifts we should buy, what festive foods we should be eating, the secret to wrapping the perfect present, how we should decorate our tree, how to have the BEST Christmas… when really, all we care about is who will win ‘I’m A Celebrity…’.
So, why am I personally not a fan of Christmas?
For me, I don’t have a lot of friends, and I have next to no family. I always feel extremely lonely, and Christmas day is one of the toughest days of the year for me. From the second my eyes open, everyone seems to be filled with the Christmas spirit, I start receiving texts from people who haven’t contacted me all year, but for some reason on Christmas day I always get the generic “merry xmas” message. The infinite posts on social media of people with their families, looking all happy and merry, opening their presents and just generally being cheery. Honestly, I get incredibly jealous. The people on Instagram having the ‘perfect Christmas’. What is the perfect Christmas?
I spend Christmas with my Mum and Dad, which is no issue at all. My parents are 40 years older than me, so they most likely prefer a quiet Christmas – which I probably do as well. However, the gift exchanging process is always awkward – I know that no matter what I buy my Mum, she won’t like it, and she will let me know. It’s always a bit disheartening when you gift someone with a present you spent time and money on, and they can’t even manage a cheeky little smile – just a look of disappointment. Then there is the traditional argument on how you cook a turkey… and why it takes so long. Should the meat be left to rest to be nice and tender? Or shall we just cook everything at different times so the turkey is all nice and hot, but the vegetables are stone cold. Shall we have wine with our dinner, even though Mum will only have a sip because she doesn’t like alcohol – or shall we just drink whatever we want with our meal? Who’s pulling who’s cracker? What shall we watch on TV? Well you have to schedule in your programmes. Mum will want to watch Emmerdale on ITV1, which will clash with the classic Christmas movie on BBC1, while Dad will happily be drinking his bottle of Glenfiddich he’s been gifted while listening to music with his headphones in, knowing he can catch the classic ‘Carry On’ and ‘On the Buses’ films whilst everyone is sleeping.
What about a Christmas game? The tradition of a quiz or the dreaded Monopoly… oh no no no, that means we’ll actually have to communicate and somewhat tolerate each other!
Meanwhile, all my pals are having a delicious meal with their extended family, wearing their freshly unwrapped Christmas jumpers, perhaps even their other half is joining them, they’ll play a few rounds of scrabble whilst drinking their favourite tipple, maybe snack on a few cheeky chocolates before settling down in front of the box to watch a Movie… maybe even one on DVD! *sigh*
Then there is the horror of Boxing Day! The traditional… ‘visit the rest of the family’ day. Well, I’m not invited. I’m completely disowned by my Mum’s side of the family, so I don’t even get to have the option of an awkward, depressing, but somewhat fun little mingle with the blood relatives. In fact, I don’t even receive a Xmas card. They’ll write my Mums name in them, but not mine or my Dads. Sure makes me feel wanted!
Anytime I have made an appearance at a Family Festive dinner, the food has usually been awful – you see it is only made for the upperclass (for some odd reason, cinnamon and ginger goes in gravy…? and a Christmas pudding, is actually ginger cake…? And the roast potatoes are a no go, they are far too common. Dauphinoise is the way to go.), I will probably drink them out of wine, just so I can bare the awkward stares and sh*te conversation. I usually get those grotesque looks of “she has tattoos!“, “did she just down that whole glass of rose“, “oh god she is wearing fishnets“, “dear oh dear she is just like her father“, and dare I mention a band……. I may as well walk round with duct-tape on my mouth. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind an invite though? Maybe I would even like to go. Maybe I would like to be awkwardly stared at, and quizzed over my body art and why I think Motley Crue should do a reunion tour. Maybe I would like to drink too much alcohol and have a Merry time with my Cousins and Uncles. At the end of the day, I grew up with my cousins, and even if the adults hate my guts… those cousins were my best friends at some point in my life, and maybe, just maybe, I’d like to sit around a table with them, all of us in our 20’s, talking about things we shouldn’t talk about at a dinner table, sipping on our merlot, tucking into a strange slice of cake and having a laugh! Maybe, I’d quite like that.
Do I now sound spoilt? So what, you have no family? Poor you, some people don’t even have a home.
Trust me, I understand – I do. But I am allowed to feel how I feel.
And I feel lonely and left out, not included, I feel desperately lonely. Seeing everyone else have a great Christmas – it hurts.
I have to take a sleeping tablet on Christmas Eve to make sure I sleep until at least 9am (they are prescribed), and then I just cannot wait to go to bed Christmas day and Boxing day so it can all be over……… and then there is something even worse…………. NEW YEARS EVE.
Oh New Year’s Eve is like the big black dog, but in the form of the day! Hopefully this year will be different, because I have plans with my other half, and some friends. So I should be okay this year.
But my typical NYE usually consists of me not being invited out by friends, my Dad is usually working so I can’t even go out with him – it is typically me and my Mum sat watching Jools Holland on BBC2, whilst I’m trying my hardest to neck any spirits we have left in the house from our disheartening Christmas, waiting for the countdown so that I can chase my dog around the living room in the hopes I’ll get a kiss, then my Mum goes swiftly off to bed…. and I am left all alone thinking… “why me“.
I’ve never ever had a New Years kiss. I’m 23 and never had one.
I guess, I have just never had a festive period where someone has included me or put me first (since I was a child). I’ve never had a boyfriend to spend Christmas with, and when I have he was taken away and not allowed to see me again, I’ve never had friends over or had friends invite me out, everyone seems so busy with their own families… including MY family – and I think, maybe, I would quite like to have a proper family. That would be the best gift I could receive.
Tell the people that you love, that you love them. Do a good deed that will be appreciated by someone. Say Merry Christmas to that man in the street. Smile at a stranger who looks like they need it. Give your last penny to someone who needs it more than you do. Send a card to your neighbour, invite them round if they are spending Christmas alone. We are told so much that Christmas is a time for joy, love, sharing…. yet, how often does that really happen? Perhaps, just the movies?
We get penalised for being ‘The Grinches’ of Christmas… but maybe we are all a bit guilty of that.
I guess the point I am trying to make, but making quite a hash of is, you never know what someone is going through at Christmas. You may be having such a wonderful time and feeling grateful for everything you have been blessed with… whilst someone else could be in tears, wishing they were you. Be kind to people at Christmas, invite your friends out, check on them, even if you are busy with your own festivities, just 30 seconds to say hello and wish them well, lets them know you are there.
Maybe surprise them and turn up on their door step on your way home, invite them over for a drink and a game, I’m sure there is plenty of leftovers to go around – their usually is in our house (especially as we don’t have guests). Just be there, and be aware.
And if you are feeling alone, like me, reach out, make a plan with someone, plan a phone call if you have someone you want to speak to and they are not too busy – and be grateful that you do have a family, and a roof over your head. Make the most of it, even if it is hard.
If all else fails………. that Waitrose Christmas Pudding, is totally worth it 😉 Joking.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog – sorry it’s been a bit rambley and has defeated the point of why I started writing this, and it’s gone a totally different direction – hopefully it is still readable and enjoyable!
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Many festive returns!
Jodie x ❤ x