Christmas can be a really lonely time of year. What is meant to be one of the happiest, most joyful times can have the opposite effect. Especially for those already struggling for other reasons. The addest pressure not only on our mental health but our finances too can be a lot but that doesn’t mean you are alone.
I have written, in the past, about my struggles with my mental health. When I was younger I suffered from depression and honestly, it is a cloud that I think never goes away. The sun might be shining now, but in the back of my mind, I can feel those overcast clouds waiting to sweep in and cover that sun. I know the feeling and I can recognise the signs.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I have become adept at self-preservation doing what I know is best for me to help me be me and on top of my life in the best way I can. But to other people, I know this can look odd and may not paint me in the best light.
- The constant need to be looking at my phone (to avoid social situations I may not be up to dealing with),
- Keeping my social circle small and eliminating anyone who I feel may be unsuitable to my life (to help keep out negative thoughts and behaviour patterns)
- Staying home a lot on my own/with Olivia or refusing to go out as a big group (socialising is hard and draining at times and I work in retail so some days take their toll and I NEED to be alone)
One way I have found to help me express my feelings is in my writing.
I didn’t realise it back then, but when I started to publish my writing, I noticed that there was a lot of darkness, pain and sadness. I could see the light shining through as my pieces ended but in hindsight, I was struggling with something I needed to express and this came through in my words.
But I know I am not alone and there are people, maybe you are reading this, who needs a little bit more help and understanding at this time of year? Mental health is not something to be taken lightly or dismissed off hand. I know this and so do Virgin Trains who recently told me about their campaign with Rethink Mental Illness, their charity partner.
They have teamed up together on a campaign for this holiday season called It’s A Wonderful Line. Virgin trains asked me to visit my nearest station to check out the campaign myself and see what it is all about. I visited Liverpool Lime Street, which is one of 14 stations to have quotes from the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life. The text can be found at the following stations too.
- London Euston
- Birmingham International
- Birmingham New Street
- Warrington Bank Quay
- Liverpool Lime Street
- Manchester Piccadilly
It’s a Wonderful Life is a film about love, family, hope and redemption following one man’s struggle to adjust to a life that hasn’t gone to plan.
I have to be honest and admit I haven’t seen the film! I know, it is a classic but it is one of those films I know I should watch but haven’t yet! But despite it being over 70 years old, it is still not only a much loved classic but relevant today. I know a lot of people can relate to this struggle, I know I can!
Alongside the quotes are links and text to let people that support is out there for themselves or anyone they feel is struggling with poor mental health over the Christmas period. This is available all year round not just during the festivities.
About Rethink Mental Illness
Rethink Mental Illness is a leading charity provider of mental health services in England. They support tens of thousands of people through groups, services and advice and information. They train employees, employers and members of the public on how best to support someone affected by mental illness. All of this work guides their campaigning for the rights of people with mental illness and their carers.
Rethink Mental Illness runs an advice and information service for people who are affected by mental illness. Lines are open 9:30am-4pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) and the number is 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at local rates) or you can email email@example.com
Together with the charity Mind, Rethink Mental Illness also runs Time to Change, a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems. Rethink Mental Illness is part of Mental Health UK, a network of four charities, together with Hafal in Wales, Support in Mind Scotland, and MindWise in Northern Ireland.
If you or anyone you know is struggling this Christmas season, please help them to get the help they need. The Samaritans lines are always open and you can call them on 116 123 for free anytime. My email is always open and I will reply as soon as I can. Alternatively, you can get in touch via any of my social media channels over the holiday period.