Christmas is a lovely time for many – but these words are for those feeling on the wrong side of fortune.
To everyone reading his who is about to have/is having a lovely Christmas period, I wish you nothing but the best. This article isn’t really aimed at you, but I do appreciate you taking the time to read it. I truly hope your festive season is a wonderful one.
This piece, though, is for those who aren’t having the best of times. And who approach the seasonal festivities with a sense of dread.
[One quick note ahead of that: I’ve tried to take as many adverts off this page as I can. Apologies if any pop up, but know this article isn’t about trying to sell anyone anything.]
If that sounds like you, then may we pass you a virtual cup of coffee, and just say a few things?
You don’t need us to tell you that Christmas can be tough. Not every family gets along. Some of us are dealing with – and continue to deal with – loss. Health may not be great. Finances may be incredibly difficult. There’s the sense that the world isn’t on your side. That bullies win.
One article isn’t going to change all of that, of course. But however the world feels to you at the moment, please know that you matter. That you – like the rest of us – are a flawed, three-dimensional human being. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Quite the opposite. Nobody – however their social media account may make then look – is perfect. It’s easy to measure ourselves against the perceived successes of us, but we don’t know what goes on behind everyone’s closed doors. We don’t know who is putting on a front, who is struggling but can’t say so.
Bottom line: everyone is human, no matter how bulletproof they may look. Mental health in particular is thankfully more talked about. But that doesn’t always make it easy to find a way through.
If you’re particularly struggling, then might I make a suggestion or two?
Firstly, if you can, just find someone to talk to. Oftentimes, friends of acquaintances or family would be happy to help, but they can’t if they don’t know there’s a struggle going on. It can be easy to assume that they’re busy with their own lives, and of course they are. But that doesn’t mean people don’t want to help. I know if can be a hammer blow if you open up to someone and it doesn’t go well, and that brings with it a tendency to not try again. But please do. You do matter. You’re as much entitled to the world’s oxygen as everyone else, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
If you can’t talk to someone you know, then please consider talking to the groups listed below. They want to help. They really to do. Also, they are as happy to talk to you if you’re at the start of your tether as they are if you’re at the end of it. Even if something just feels a tiny bit off, try and address it as quickly as you can.
If all of that seems like a stretch too far, just say hello in the comments below. I’ll bet someone says hello back. And that’s not an algorithm at work. That’s a human being. As much as the internet makes us all look anonymous sometimes, it’s easy to forget that it’s human beings on the other side of the world’s screens.
Here are some of organisations that may help. They are all brilliant.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM, has a free and confidential helpline that opens from 5pm-midnight every day. It’s 0800 58 58 58. It also has a webchat service via its website: https://www.thecalmzone.net/2016/12/you-can-talk-to-calm/
If you’re struggling with bereavement, then Cruse is wonderful. It has a free helpline at 0808 808 1677, and you can find its website here https://www.cruse.org.uk/
If you’re older and struggling, then The Silver Line is a helpline for senior citizens. You can contact it on 0800 4 70 80 90, and it’s open all over Christmas and New Year. Its website is https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/
Conversely, if you’re young and struggling, then Young Minds is a brilliant organisation. You can find its website here: https://youngminds.org.uk/. Young Minds also has resources for parents, too.
If things are really bad, and you’re considering ending everything, then firstly, please just take a pause. Don’t rush. Stop. Take a day. Go for a walk. Talk to someone. Again, we recommend the Samaritans for a quick chat too. They are wonderful people, very much on your side. Again, their details. Its freephone number is 116 123 from the UK, and you can email [email protected]. You can find its website at www.samaritans.org
Also, if you’re worried about a friend or relative, then this wonderful article offers far better guidance than we ever could.
It can be a sod at times, can life. But don’t give up. Please keep battling on, and finding a way through. And I hope that even in the darkest moments, life will find a smile for you somewhere.
You all take care x
Simon & the Film Stories team.