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The unquiet Silent Night
Being Alone At Christmas
Member Name: dawnfrancis
Being Alone At Christmas
Date: 18/12/01, updated on 18/12/01 (172 review reads)
Advantages: great time if everything's going your way
Disadvantages: hard for so very many people
You might be able to save a life this Christmas.
Christmas is a dangerous time. Any policeman will tell you that. But whereas we are bombarded with drink-drive adverts at this time of year, no-one bothers to tell you that the biggest danger might not be in a bottle. It might be in your own mind. Or in a member of your own family.
Many, many people are silently dreading the 25th. They probably won't voice their feelings to anyone for fear of being called a 'killjoy', for fear of being compared to people who have 'real problems', for fear of simply not being understood.
Christmas is a desperate time for many people. People who are alone for some reason, even in the company of others.
My best friend was widowed in terrible circumstances two Christmasses ago. She joined the masses of bereaved people who can never enjoy this festival again.
People with mental health issues are dreading the requirement to be happy and be sociable when they are too ill to do so. The end of another year is too much for them to bear as it highlights what they haven't achieved and the many losses in their lives. The suicide attempt rate will rise dramatically over this time.
All over the country there are broken families with their own private heartache who turn on the TV only to be bombarded with images of the ideal family Christmas.
Children from violent families will ask only for peace from Father Xmas as domestic abuse rises dramatically over the next few weeks. The shops are shut, the doors are locked, and the home becomes an isolated inferno of physical, sexual, or emotional cruelty while the rest of the world carries on.
I could go on.
All of the above situations are highly distressing. But when they reach the point of being unbearable you need practical advice on what to do. And because, if you're in one of these situations, you'll probably n
ot feel like reading tonnes of advice, I'm making this short.
DAWN'S TWO-STEP SURVIVAL GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS
1. THE 'ONLY ONE DAY' MANTRA.
These days Christmas is very, very short. Think about it. After lunch on the Day itself they start advertising Boxing Day sales and New Year holidays on the TV! it's no sooner here than it's over.
CONSTANTLY remind yourself of this fact. Plan to visit the shops at the earliest possible moment to prove the fact. One especially difficult year I went down to Woolies first thing Boxing Day. All the Christmas stuff was half price and they were already stocking up easter eggs! That's how quickly it goes these days. I left the shop feeling a sense of relief - 'it's over - and I survived'.
If necessary stay in bed for the whole day. Sometimes we need to retreat from the world in this way when our pain is unbearable. Forget the accusations of 'killjoy' by others. they do not have to walk in your shoes.
Keep reminding yourself - it's only 24 hours. You can do it. Keep breathing, go with every minute, don't try to rush the time. Whatever your personal tragedy, Christmas only has one day to highlight it. Let it run its course, do its worst. This time in 24 hours it won't BE Christmas any more. You WILL get through it.
2. GET THE RIGHT KIND OF HELP
If you are in ANY kind of danger you owe it to yourself to get help.
If you are in physical danger from anyone - family included, phone the police. Don't feel a misguided sense of loyalty or pride.
If you are in emotional danger phone the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. or if you prefer, email email@example.com
If you are a child in any kind of danger phone Childline on 0800 1111 (0800 400 222 for Minicom).
Don't rely on friends, however well-meaning, to help you. The wrong thing said or done can sometimes b
There are many of us who find Christmas difficult or even intolerable. We each have our own reasons and those reasons are as valid as anyone else's. There is no 'league table' of suffering.
If you feel this op is too gloomy, depressing, and pessimistic, be grateful that you haven't experienced these depths of suffering. Maybe you can try to support someone who has. There might be someone close to you who is clinging onto life, and you never even knew. Christmas might literally be a life and death crossroads for them. Can you make that difference?
With the right 'emergency plan' in situ, you will get through. I wish you all peace of mind for Christmas and the coming year.
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