1. Montpellier was great
2. I briefly got marginally better
3. I then deteriorated rapidly and now I'm the worst I've ever been.
However, I'm still here to tell the tale and I still intend to use the medium of blogging to aid in my recovery.
I've gone on to become an editor of the student newspaper, where my co-editor and I are using the platform to our full advantage in terms of raising awareness of mental health issues and eradicating stigma.
For now, here's a compilation of reasons why I hate Christmas (taken from The Gryphon Blogs et al.)
Right don’t judge me, just hear me out.
By the time Christmas comes around I’m already in a foul mood due to having my birthday two weeks prior (yes, I hate my birthday too), and I’m absolutely dreading the ultimate anti-climax of all – New Year’s Eve (like, who even wants to go to a club which will be overcrowded and overpriced?). And in the middle of these two monstrosities is Christmas.
Now, if I was religious and I wanted to commemorate the birthday of baby Jesus who was born all those years ago and who still may or may not be keeping tabs on us from beyond the pearly gates, then I may be more enthusiastic about having a world-wide HBD shindig for Jesus Christ our Saviour.
However, a Christian I am not. There is a strong probability that if I set foot in a church I would go up in flames.
Also, at the young age of 22 I have already been exposed to Christmas present politics. You bought me one last year so does that mean I have to buy you one now? Because that’s going to prove to be a problem due to the fact that I don’t like you. Oh, and I’m also always poor. I’m not going to spend what little money I have on a shit gift that I know you won’t use. Christmas is just our consumerist society gone mad.
On the other hand, I do have time for Secret Santa (so long as there is a funny theme or a ridiculously low budget so that comical gifts are a definite).
Another thing that pisses me off is that I, by taking the moral high ground and being a vegetarian, am also grilled this time of year by you carnivores who scream in my face saying “so what DO you eat on Christmas day?!”
Nothing. I eat nothing. I go on hunger strike because this is the one day of the year where there is no alternative food on the planet except roast poultry. By 10pm I’m so hungry I eat my own arm and then die.
I’ll have a nut roast, idiot. Get over it. (P.S. Quorn exists xoxo)
Furthermore, I condemn all Christmas songs that aren’t The Fairytale of New York, and all films that aren’t Love Actually because I love turtle necks, Dido and Alan Rickman.
Deck my halls with what now? I’ll do what I want thank you – don’t order me around. Stop screeching demands in my ear.
Now then, this all may be the result of the fact that my pessimism and ‘glass half empty’ mantra is currently being teased by a cocktail of Prozac and Valium… or maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m just a cold hearted monster who is the lovechild of Satan and Katie Hopkins. You decide.
Joking aside, if anyone else is struggling with mental illness during the festive period, and is finding it difficult to buy into Christmas cheer, it’s okay. You’re allowed. My GP recently told me, and I quote: “Mental illness can be a bit party pooper-esque”.
And he’s not wrong. Is it the most wonderful time of the year? Not for everyone.
Unfortunately, it’s not all tinsel and fairy lights for 1 in 4 of us. Mental illness doesn’t take a time off for the holidays.
So on the 25th December, spare a thought for those a bit closer to home. For those who may not want to eat, drink or be merry but may simply just want to battle their demons and win for one more day.
.... x .....
The most wonderful time of the year? Is it?
Not when you’re suffering from acute mental health problems. Now, don’t be fooled – the word acute has nothing to do with actual cuteness. There are no rainbows, fluffy teddies and unicorns in my periphery (although dear god – I wish there was).
No. The word acute in this case refers to the intense degree of your mental illness, when you pass the point of no return where no amount of mindfulness and colouring can save you now. It is, to put it candidly, when you go bat-shit crazy. When your head is like a washing machine on full power. When your hallucinations are coming thick and fast and you become so desensitised to the idea of ending your own life that nothing shocks you anymore.
And yet, around each corner there are carol singers ready to ambush you, recipes for the ‘perfect’ Christmas dinner are all over the telly and all of your friends (if you have any left by this point) are drawing names out of hats, excited to see who they have to buy a present for in this year’s Secret Santa.
The truth is, though, the last thing I want to hear when my mind is already filled up to the brim with different voices is your pitchy rendition of Silent Night, the thought of that much food makes me ill and it’s debatable whether I’ll have the strength to beat my social anxiety in order to leave the house and purchase someone a gift.
There’s so much pressure on this one day to be perfect; harmonious families, Michelin star cuisine and state of the art gifts. Yet, for approximately 25% of the population, it’s just another day. Another day fighting with our biggest nemesis: our ill mind.
Eat, drink and be merry?
More like calorie counting, drowning your sorrows and fighting to survive another day.
There’s only a certain amount of benzodiazepines that can get one through this charade, so don’t be offended if this year there’s a family member or friend who has to sit this one out, who simply cannot cope with the idea of maintaining the cheery façade for a whole 24 hours.
To the 25%, don’t be ashamed. Do what you have to do to get through the holidays. Tell your family and friends that the expectations and pressure of “the most wonderful time of the year” really isn’t that great for you. Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to fit into a mould of a happy person for the day.
Just do your thing, and try and make it to the 26th.
Best wishes and take care,