17 Nov Blue Christmas
Written by a current Oakleaf client
So, it’s Christmas time again, shops full of people rushing to and fro, looking for that perfect gift. There’s the hassle of defrosting the traditional Christmas turkey, which probably won’t fit in the oven despite having left it in the bathtub overnight or having attacked it with the hair dryer. There’s the thrill of testing tiny little bulbs to see which one has blown. You hold on to that faint glimmer of hope that it will be the first one you check after unravelling several miles of cable you’re sure you had put away nice and neatly.
For many, Christmas represents a host of festive parties, visiting family and friends, and flurries of Christmas cards. A stream of Christmas cheer that tends to assault every one of your senses, from songs on the radio to displays in shop windows. We also can’t forget the adverts on TV. Filled with happy smiling families in jolly knitwear exchanging gifts like the latest must have gadgets. Reminding you that the big day is fast approaching and that Christmas is in fact the most wonderful time of the year.
However, for others, this is not the case at all. The word ‘wonderful’ is far from their minds. Christmas can be a time of loneliness, stress, and hardship. Maybe it’s the thought of waking up alone with no friends or family close by or hearing some gibbering idiot on the radio wishing everyone yuletide cheer. It’s hearing friends and colleagues talking about their plans for the special day or worse, having them ask what your plans entail. Maybe it’s the feelings of anxiety and hopelessness that come from the ever-increasing mound of debt – after all, no one wants their loved ones to miss out.
One in five people are likely to suffer with depression, especially at this time of the year. Older people are particularly vulnerable, with many likely not receiving a visit or even a phone call on Christmas day.
If you are suffering from depression, Christmas may seem like just another day. If that’s the case, it is important to try and reduce stress. Try doing something that you enjoy, even if it’s something simple like having a luxurious bubble bath, lighting a scented candle, or flopping in front of the TV with a favourite film and a box of chocolates. Pick up the phone or visit a close friend or family member and talk to them about how you’re feeling; being listened to can help you to feel much better. Remember that you don’t have to please everyone. Take a deep breath and ask for help if you need it. It is just as important to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing.
If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression, please do try and talk to someone. Whether that be a doctor, work colleague, family member or friend – help is always available. For more tips and resources, please see the links below.
Mind: How to find a therapist
Samaritans: www.samaritans.org / 116 123 (24 hours)
Citizens Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk / 03444 111 444 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
Guildford Safe Haven: 6-11pm, 365 days a year