It’s been a while. Life has been relentless and I’ve hardly had time to think about things, reflect and it’s nearly Christmas. Can you hear …. the Jingle Bells?
You might of (infuriatingly) heard them as early back as September … but shut them down. They surely have been jingling a little louder and a whole deal closer to home throughout October. By now, we are half way through November and the Christmas extravaganza is in full swing, even if we like it or not. I won’t go on about the fact that Christmas is incredibly difficult for a whole deal of the population, we all know that, right? It’s difficult for families who have lost, families who are nursing relatives, the homeless etc; I could go on, but it’s pretty fair to say that behind a good proportion of the jingle bells coming our way, there are also shaky silent bells, muted by their dread of Christmas and all its expectations.
I have struggled with mental health issues for the last five years – with depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. One (at any particular time) can feed barbarously into the other. Obsessive thoughts can come from far and near to plague my mind and twist my spirit to distressing depths. Before I know it, I’m a sinking Christmas cake (the one ridiculed and tossed into the bin) before ‘take two’ becomes the luxurious dream promised in the latest must-have Number 1 Baking bible. With all the will in the world, it sometimes doesn’t matter how hard we try, Christmas can make us feel wholly inadequate. Parties can make us feel lonely and the mere thought of conversing and meeting friends we haven’t connected with in over a year can completely overwhelm us.
This year will be one of the very few in about 5 years for me to manage staying out of hospital during this season. This year, I’m hoping – will be the beginning of a new kind of Christmas. A Christmas that we can all adopt, on our own emotional terms. A Christmas where unrealistic expectations are quashed right away. A Christmas that happens, simply, the way it does – on our emotional terms – but still a Christmas that we can be thankful for, with our loved ones and the closest people to us.
Can you hear … the bells jingle? I think we can all hear them. Let us be a little different this year and hear those silent bells. Let’s welcome them around our Christmas table – no expectations attached.