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Christmas cheer and overwhelming fear (mental health)

I’m Autistic & I remember Christmas magic with all my senses:

🎁 the smell of pine needles & cranberry sauce.

🎁 The taste of a delicious array of food.

🎁 the sight of lights & angels as I pad out of my bed room to see the Christmas tree towering up in all its 14ft glory, from the ground floor hallway.

🎁 I remember going down stairs & touching the spiky leaves admiring the decorations saying hello to my favourite fairy that sits on the moon.

🎁 I remember being enchanted by the delicate sound of jingling bells, the gentle tingling & swaying of clinking decorations in symphony  together.

🎁 I remember the magic of gifting and choosing gifts

🎁 l remember the magic of cardboard boxes filled with silky scarves, balloons & tinsel, which provided hours everyday of fun & entertainment, glitter all over, forever.

🎁 I remember family fun & laughter, long walks in crisp cold air, protected by forest canopy’s, & dips in the freezing sea on Christmas morning with a hot cocoa to warm us through.

🎁 I remember being amazed at how lucky we were-to be surrounded with such love, good fortune & hospitality. 

 

🌟I remember Christmas magic🌟

 

💫I also remember the fear that would tremble within me, the anxiety buzzing just below the surface that things could change, that I would be in trouble, that I would get something wrong… because when it comes to Christmas cheer, there’s so much change and fear too.

 

Whether or not Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, for you- the spirit of Christmas will still find a way to impact you.

The raging crowds, the price surges, the sensory onslaught & unavoidable tidings of great joy wherever you venture. Christmas is overwhelming & 

often puts extra pressure on us.

 

For example, you might:

💫feel alone because everyone else seems so happy & you’re … not

💫You may wish Christmas time would be perfect- but feel that ‘now’ is a REALLY bad time for the Christmas magic to happen-therefore you may feel guilt or shame at not ‘thriving’ for not creating the Christmas spirit.

 

I adore Christmas & the magic everywhere even though it is pure struggle.

 

Yup, I’ll happily go out & do some carol singing, marvel at the lights & even peruse the shops for gifts for loved ones…

 

But goodness; I struggle with Christmas a LOT.

I want to recapture the Christmas magic of my youth, but adult hardship just gets in the way… I feel a bit numb to it all, so I try to put myself into the Christmas spirit as much as I’m physically and emotionally able… but it doesn’t always light the spark, like I hope it will.

 

No matter the colour, the lights, the good cheer & festive good-will, I’m still grieving, still crying, still so lonely, still challenging my own stigma. Still wrapped up in that ‘gift’ of Christmas fear struggling to find a cheerful bow. 

 

The Christmas period could impact your mental health in other ways too. For example:

 

💫Your mental health issues might make it hard for you to spend Christmas how you want. 

💫Difficult & stressful experiences at Christmas can make your mental health worse. 

💫Enjoying Christmas might be really tough because accessibility is a nightmare for anything this time of year- but if you need support, it’s harder than ever  to access services, & some will be closed.

 

TW-Christmas & mental health

If Christmas is a hard time for you, it's important to remember that you are not alone, & there are things you can try that might help. 

 

🧚🏻‍♀️it may make you feel less alone, and understand your own difficulties, to try to learn about why Christmas can be a fearful time, and why people struggle with Christmas - find an online community; if it’s safe to, you could share you story & listen to others-not to reply, but simply just to understand. This may help you understand your hidden needs and the roots of your fears or struggles, to best action plan to support yourself.

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ There’s plenty of helplines & websites to discover - such as mind.co.uk, Samaritans, Beat

0808 801 0677 (adult helpline)0808 801 0711 (youthline) 

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Give yourself time & Be patient with yourself

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Prioritise your needs when you can. It's ok to prioritise what's best for you, even if you have a mounting to-do list or if others don't seem to understand

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Consider talking to someone you trust about what you need to cope.

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ find a moment to yourself, & write yourself a letter-one you’ll never read again.

Include your emotions, your anxiety’s, your wildest Christmas dreams & ultimate Christmas wish- even if these are all reallly dark or frowned upon.

Write the letter.

Feel your emotions, either scribble all over it, crumple it up & rip it apart,  or throw it away.

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Try to let go of your emotions for that present moment, & then write another letter- include 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you smell, 2 things you taste & one thing you wish for. Add to the letter everytime you feel scared. Then, write a letter reminding yourself of your emotions, what you think caused it, and importantly - how none of this impacts your worth or efforts. Write letter to remind yourself of your positive attributes. Learn to love yourself again. Reading the words work a type of magic in convincing it’s real. It’s like a type of placebo or self fulfilling prophecy. If we try to convince ourselves of something - it becomes reality. Just like how we feel fear, we can try to feel more positive. It’s not easy, but we can try. 

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Avoid the unnecessary Christmas fears. try to imagine what makes you struggle & consider avoiding it just for the holidays, just for an hour, just for a minute, if it’s safe to

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ take grounders with you wherever you go-If you sometimes experience flashbacks, panic attacks or depressive disassociation episodes, make a note of what helps during these moments, & keep it with you. Use your grounders.

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ try to get out in nature, going at your own pace. Admire the flowers, trees, the wind, the rain. Allow yourself to connect & ask questions about nature. Maybe find a hill & just scream into a sunset? You do, you-I don’t judge! 

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Look for a class you'd like to try, such as yoga, Pilates or gentle stretching. Maybe even an educational or hobby thing! Go for it!

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ don’t forget to breathe-literally!

Learning to breathe more deeply can help you feel a lot calmer-it can even lower your blood pressure if done right!

- 1 Sit or lay down in a quiet space. Make sure you’re completely comfortable. Close your eyes & relax your muscles.

  1. Inhale through your nose, counting to four.

  2. Pause briefly after inhaling & allow the air to rest in your lungs.

  3. Exhale through your nose, counting to four.

  4. Pause briefly after exhaling to feel the emptiness in your lungs.

  5. Repeat, if comfortable.

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ See loved ones who make you feel safe. If you can't be with the people you want to see in person, you could arrange a phone or video call to catch up with them on the day.

Or try to arrange a visit around Christmas, if there is a time when it's possible to meet.

 

🧚🏻‍♀️ Try to plan something nice to do after Christmas. Having something to look forward to next year could make a real difference – even if it is screaming into the skies at night, reading a good book, or sleeping! Whatever works!

 

Christmas is all light & joy, everywhere- but life can be a storm during the festive season-

so when you are sailing the storms, search for the lightening strikes that light up the skies, even just for a second.

Search for the light, & try to have faith in the ‘power of yet’; you won’t feel this bad forever-you just don’t feel better YET. You don’t have answers YET. Let the power of yet, light up your world, and let you see that you are a seed growing through storms in darkness. Light is coming- even if it’s not Christmas lights!

 

Christmas can be so hard for so many people. Not everyone has a loving family or a support network where they can safely be, let alone be themselves. If you don’t have access to a loving family, friends or support network over Christmas…

…If you feel a tad bitter or guilty for not feeling the magic when you see all the sparkle and relentless love all around you…Please try to believe that you don’t have to feel anything. Nothing is expected of you. Just exist. Just be you.

Christmas is just a day, a week. You can still give love and magic, even if you just focus on you.

 

Christmas cheer fear, will all be over in a few weeks: you can try again next year if you need to. You can always keep trying- you’re worth the effort.

 

Please try to remember you’ve got through every hard thing so far- you can get through this- no one else got you through the struggles before now - YOU did. Try not to beat yourself up, for not sparkling with love and joy. 

For not being festive with family or friends. 

For not being jolly and high.

Be you.

 

 

New year, new me?

When the new year calls for ‘new year, new me’

Do what ever you feel safe to do. Try and start afresh; turn over a new leaf with the blooming of spring. 

 

Change something in your life that was holding you back, try to find passion, try to find positive influences, Try a new hobbies, try to improve your mindset, try to find love within your faults.

 

If not, just survive.

Just try your best to treat the world kindly, even if it’s beating you down.

You may not succeed -we all act or communicate out of pain  by or negative emotions sometimes- but it doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us human-try to forgive  yourself. We are loveable regardless of these mistakes.

 

Try to learn to Love yourself-you’re worth it - especially if you make a million mistakes and accidentally harm, but keep trying to do good in your own way.

Just kept trying. Let go of expectations- trying is all that matters.

 

Whether you pursue a ‘new me’, just try your best and Either way, you’re making progress on the person you were last year. Whoever you are, who ever you become, just know there is a community of Hope and understanding that is waiting to meet you- and they can’t wait, to find out all about you!

 

If you are feeling unloved or lonely or sad, because your Christmas plans have been bleakened or changed or totally removed, this holiday season due to covid or illness or not wanting to get people sick or unexpected challenges…

 

please know that you have so much strength within you, so much resilience, peace and goodwill.

 

Please know that I love your strength to cope through these changes-even if you’re falling apart.

I love your endurance and determination to sacrifice for the greater good. 

I love you.

 

I wish you didn’t have to suffer, but I admire you.

You shouldn’t have to suffer to be loved, you shouldn’t have to put yourself through hardship to be loved, but you are loveable even so.

 

I know it’s really tough and such a huge struggle to feel as if you are missing out on what could be Christmas magic, for the greater good, but please know you’re getting through it! You are strong. You got this- and you can still make this new, changeable Christmas special-by taking care of YOU and giving yourself long over due credit.

 

Remind yourself you are loveable and special and magic, even without the Christmas plan you had hoped for this year. Remind yourself of why you’re loveable- especially if you don’t feel it.

 

🎁 If you’re feeling unloved, and are isolating or social distancing to avoid potential spread, please know… that I, and hundreds of thousands other strangers, love you so much for your justice seeking, empathetic and caring nature. Thank you.

 

🎁 If you are feeling un loved and bitter and are all alone, yet again for Christmas, please know that, if no one else loves you, I platonically love you.

Don’t give up on love.

Don’t give up on yourself.

 

If you feel in need of love, start within you-it’s hard to understand people can love parts of you, or all of you, if you struggle to see yourself as loveable.

 

🎁 You’re human; therefore you’re loveable.

 

Whatever Christmas cheer or fear, is for you, I hope you find a moments peace amongst the tinsel, to find support, wherever you may need it.

 

Christmas magic looks different for everyone, so make sure you create the magic and the cheer that works best for you! 

Peace x

 

 

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