Christmas obligations / by 3.1

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Not everyone enjoys Christmas. I certainly don't (I tend to tolerate  it), and being an anxious post-PTSD assortment of behaviours, I feel that suffering from PTSD in the run-up to Christmas has made the hypocrisy of the season shout out at me in a much louder voice than usual.

I always save up my energy at Christmas time to make time for my close friends and loved ones (and I make a point of categorically stating that none of whom are family - and that's OK for me). The worst thing about the last couple of weeks however  has been the looming sense of obligation to strangers and those that do not know me as well as my nearest and dearest (e.g. family); you are expected to feel merry and bright, even though you are in no way religious, even though family gatherings induce anxiety, and even though your Christmas party with work colleagues turns out to be a complete festive nightmare laced with harassment and being touched inappropriately.

Let's spare a thought for the 19-year-old man that decided to take his own life last week by jumping in front of a train. I'm sure his friends, his family, the Metropolitan line driver involved, will all enjoy being told to have a Merry Christmas.

For every Merry Christmas and associated post that I see on Facebook, I don't hit "Like" or "Share". I don't even comment. So I don't see why I am not allowed to express an anti-Christmas view without it being implied that I am being miserable, or to have someone making light of that misery. What a hypocrisy Christmas really is. 

I respect that for a lot of you, Christmas is a happy time, so of course, please enjoy it. Just remember that not everyone does and not everyone will. It seems however that awareness for the mental health of others falls by the wayside at Christmas to make way for cracker joke retorts and Scrooge comments.

This year, consider supporting:

  • Mind
  • Samaritans
  • The Maytree

Restrain yourself from making pithy, unwanted remarks; use that energy to help and support those organisations I've mentioned. It's quite possibly the best gift you could give someone this year.