This may be a bit of a ramble or it actually may make some sense but I want to talk about Christmas and I’ll be mentioning spending it on my own and about having a mental health problem but, chances are, yours will have nothing or something to do with either.
The problem with Christmas is bloody Charles Dickens and his unrealistic portrayal of a white Christmas and all jollity and forgiveness and happy families. Charles Dickens was wrong of course because we rarely have a white Christmas, it’s not all jollity, forgiveness may not even rear its awkward head and families often feel they have to be happy when they’re really showing their teeth in a rictus grin.
That’s a bit more than on the cynical side but it’s a lot closer to the truth than the experience of a lot of people. We all have that friend on Facebook who has the perfect family and they cook a perfect meal before they exchange perfect gifts and have a perfect evening before they go to their perfect beds and have a perfect sleep. I mute those people at least for the day (they usually have a perfect Boxing Day too) because I do not need their living up to hyperbole. I live in the real world all year round at that includes at Christmas.
I also mute those people who post status updates or tweet about how they imagine how people who spend Christmas alone feel. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW WE FEEL. Sorry for shouting there but it’s incredibly frustrating when people do the social media equivalent of the head tilt and feel sorry for me. I have, in the past, hated being on my own at this time of year but, as I’ve got older (and hopefully wiser) I’ve learned that for me it’s a positive thing.
There have been times that I’ve sat alone at home and cried my way through Christmas Day and Boxing Day and avoided seeing people so that they couldn’t asking me if I’d had a good Christmas. I thought that I wasn’t invited because I was awful but after a few conversations with “friends” it turns out that people can be insular, self-centred, feel a little awkward or just don’t have a clue about what friendship is. One particular male friend told me he couldn’t invite me to Christmas lunch because we weren’t having a sexual relationship. I still shake my head over that one.
I don’t cry over being on my own these days and it’s been a long time since I have. I have a long walk in streets that are almost deserted then come home to eat a meal of my choosing whether it’s a roast or a curry or baked beans on toast. I get to sit and watch my choice of television all day and I don’t have to consult with anybody else.
I put up Christmas decorations if I feel like it and if I don’t feel like it then I don’t. It’s my home and I do as I please. If I want to send Christmas cards then I do and I don’t particularly worry if I don’t get any back.
There is lots of advice for people with mental health issues on how to cope with Christmas (take a few minutes to yourself etc.) but they can apply to anybody whatever your circumstances. People with health problems aren’t necessarily destined to have bad experiences at Christmas. If you don’t presume you will be ill or stressed then you may well not be ill or stressed.
I tweet if I want to and post things on Facebook if I choose. I don’t join in hashtags on Twitter especially those aimed at people on their own or in poor circumstances. Nine times out of ten some noble figure with a horde of followers declares that they will join in and defeat the object of the exercise. If anybody is having a hard time they’re welcome to tweet me for a chat (@WeirdSid) but, be aware, I’m likely to be enjoying sat on my sofa in my underwear watching soaps on television.
I hope that you get the day you need (which isn’t necessarily the day that you want) and remember, if you want to vent do so and curse Dickens because he’s the bastard that started off the tradition of the unrealistic Christmas.