First time mum/referee to a wild toddler. Self confessed rum enthusiast. Aspiring writer but hell of a procrastinator. Blogging about Mental Health and this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest perspective.

Christmas Isn't a Quick Fix

Oh, I know. I know. You're reading the title and thinking, Jesus wept, here comes The Grinch.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, after all.
But, Christmas and the holiday season can be an extremely difficult time for people.

Everywhere I'm looking, I'm seeing advent wreaths hanging from every home, Christmas cards and stockings and candy canes filling every mantle piece. Mini reindeer's and mechanical talking Santa's swarming every shelf in stores. The same 12 overplayed yearly Christmas tunes on loop. Christmas decorations and wrapping paper and harassed shoppers scurrying the supermarkets like the world is in chaos. Fretting and cursing, "We should have been more organised."

Christmas truly is a magical time to spend with loved ones. And I love this time of year, I really, truly do. I love the atmosphere on the run up to the big day. I love how people seem kinder. I love the nights spent snuggled under a blanket with hot chocolate and Christmas films that never tire. I adore itchy, over sized, hideous looking Christmas jumpers and screeching Fairytale of New York for all to hear.

However, I feel at Christmas there is this unwritten rule, this bestowed expectation to flaunt our happiest selves and how grateful we are. It's a time we are to present our brightest smile, our cheeriest, merriest possible version of ourselves. There's so much pressure to conform to this pantomime affair of Christmas cheer and overspending.
The smile should not slip, we should not feel handicapped by despair or pain or anger. 
But we do. 

It's always a time where we think of the less fortunate, and how lucky we have it.
I think of homeless people on the street who beg for nothing more than a home, a warm meal and my heart aches. The children who long to feel the love of a mother that will be nothing more than another wish this year. The elderly who spend the holidays feeling exceptionally lonelier.
And we do take these things for granted. Its easy to not appreciate that which comes to us so easily, or that we've never had to live without.

It creates immense guilt. Why do I still feel sad when I have a roof over my head? Why am I anxious when I will go to bed with a full, satisfied stomach? Why do I feel lonely when I have a child who will make my Christmas sparkle? Why does anger boil when I have everything to feel at ease about?

And that's just it. Sometimes the struggles going on in a persons life is too painful to simply mask, even if only for a day. It's just too difficult.
There are so many troubles plaguing people - piling debt, money struggles, terminal or chronic illness, mental health, estranged families. The bereaved mother who won't be awoken by her child's beaming face on Christmas morning. The elderly mans first Christmas eve without his beloved. The woman hiding a broken heart. All of which will not take a holiday just because the occasion demands it. 
Christmas is not an elixir for a persons turmoil.

It doesn't mean we are not grateful for the blessings we have. We are not deliberately trying to take the little moments for granted. It's just that life and sometimes celebrations like Christmas or birthdays can feel like an added pressure for a person to feel forced to maintain a happy exterior when they are really suffering.

For the sake of those who are finding this time of year difficult, I'll confess, that last year I didn't enjoy Christmas one single bit.
I was only just fourth months pp after having Arthur and I was, to my own obliviousness, in a very bad place. I was exhausted, worn out, totally cream fucking crackered. Arthur's colic had peaked. He spent 9 of the 12 hours he was awake, crying and writhing in absolute agony. He could not be consoled. I spent each and every day (no exaggeration) walking around my cramped flat singing soft lullabies, cradling and shushing him in an attempt, to no relief, to console him. I couldn't get five minutes to go for a piss or make a bite to eat because every time he was lay down, he would scream to the point he was blue in the face.

I felt helpless, frustrated and useless and all I wanted was for him to stop crying. For him to be settled so I could recoup, have a shower, find my sanity. My anxiety that I had spent so long trying to manage had spiraled out of control. My moods were erratic and manageable.  I was painfully alone, depressed and lost.

Despite this, I excitedly wrapped presents, and picked the perfect gifts I knew would make people smile when they opened them. I religiously filled Facebook with smiling baby photos (when I could get them), forged the happy smiles for Instagram I decorated my tree, dug out my bright red Rudolph jumper, repeatedly, in disbelief, gushed, "Where has the year gone?"

I went along with the pretense because I felt like I had too. Because I didn't want to let anyone down. Because Christmas is all about being appreciative and content so I couldn't possibly admit I was fed up and miserable. I pretended I could convince myself into being happy.

I'm a little more welcoming toward Christmas this time around although still hesitant. I have my first own home. Arthur is at the stage where although he doesn't understand, he will still get excited for new toys. I'm looking forward to decorating my home and filling Arthur's stocking. I'm looking forward to making memories I can reminisce on in the years to come and just embracing this precious, fleeting time with Arthur while I still can.

So, for those of you dreading the holidays this year. Those who are feeling lonely, or spending Christmas alone. Those whose demons are gripping on tight or the hearts that weigh too heavy. Those who are having to deal with troublesome families or those who will feel the silence without their children's laughter to fill it... I hope the holidays are not too painful. I hope you don't feel the need to hide behind a slipping facade. I hope that your struggles give you some respite. I hope you are surrounded by love and support and I really, hope you know that you're never alone. 

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