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  • Writer's pictureBrighten Well-Being Centre

Christmas Isn't Always Easy

As we roll towards the end of December there is a lot of talk – through the media and online – for how to have a Covid-safe Christmas and how to protect your family and still see loved ones, spend time together, have family events and even how to ensure you can manage gifts on a tighter budget.

What’s not been said in many places is that, for many, Christmas is already a difficult time. Some don’t have family, some have family who simply aren’t fun or safe to spend time with, some have fractious family relationships or aren’t happy or safe in their homes, and others are dealing with other issues and trauma which totally outweigh the desire to spend Christmas with anyone.

There is such pressure, every year, to make this a joyful time, to make merry and bright, and to throw ourselves (and our wallets!) into the ‘spirit of Christmas’ – and this year people are more eager than ever to turn from the struggles of the year, and to be festive and merry with loved ones.

This isn’t what everyone needs, or wants – and for some there’s simply no access to this merry making, and life is still overwhelming or difficult in complex ways which make celebrating Christmas an alien concept.

For those in abusive or damaging relationships, Christmas is a frightening time. More drinking, less routine, time away from school or work, all bubbling in a time of extreme pressure. For those with controlling or abusive families the fear of time alone together is overwhelming.

Some people simply don’t want to celebrate, and feel like they are ostracised for that – the need to focus on themselves being ridiculed, scorned or dismissed by others who want to push you into joining their celebrations, and running roughshod over your needs.

I know that there is noise everywhere about celebrating and Christmas festivities – so I wanted to share this message to say that if this is a difficult time of year, and if you are struggling to get into ‘the spirit of Christmas’ for any reason, that’s ok. Your feelings and needs are completely valid, and you owe nothing to anyone that you don’t feel able or ready to give.

If this time of year leaves you feeling cold, or you have worries and anxieties that are preventing you from feeling able to celebrate, you aren’t alone – and you don’t need to cope alone.

There are many helplines and charities that you can reach out to if you are in fear:

Refuge have a free helpline for those suffering domestic abuse (and remember; abuse doesn’t have to be physical; if your partner is controlling, cruel, intimidating, mentally or emotionally abusive, it is still abuse)

The freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247


Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Childline – for any children who want to seek support – 0800 1111

And if you would like some confidential, ongoing support with an experienced, trusted and compassionate counsellor please do reach out to me – you can speak to me via phone or whatsapp on 07849 037095 email me or contact me through this website or Facebook Messenger – I can help you to process the difficulties you have at this time of year, the events in your past or present which are causing you pain, and help you to move through them towards a happier, more contented future.

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