Less of a reflective New Year’s post, more of a rambling preamble

I’ve read an avalanche of Facebook NY/NYE posts reflecting on 2015 and planning for 2016 – which can be a bit irritating when it’s so many of them. Especially if you’ve been battling with your health, and someone’s most pressing ambition for 2016 is I really must wear more red. I don’t think anyone’s was quite that vacuous, but you take my point.

And worse than any Facebook statuses posted by people I mostly still speak to, was receiving an essay-long mass email from an old acquaintance listing their professional achievements of 2015. YUCK! Insensitive, at best. (Modesty wasn’t in their achievement list, in case you were curious.)

Essentially, it’s just another day, week, month… year. And every year has shit bits, better bits, and if you’re fortunate, a few awesome bits.

Having said that… I do have one phrase I’m going to stick to from now on. Which is (aside from being slightly hypocritical as it sounds a bit like a NY resolution) more realistic than resolutions after a bout of severe depression and anxiety. The phrase is ‘Self-care’.

I’ve haven’t written here for ages, and I don’t want to harp on about this one phrase considering how I feel about the whole NY resolutions thing. I’ve been racking my brains trying to think of how to break the silence in this post. What to cover? So what you’re getting is me just pouring out what comes to mind, in no particular sequence. Normal service (particular topics, etc) will resume shortly (hopefully).

The festive period was stressful this year. I won’t lie, at a time where everyone’s all ‘YAY Christmas!’ it can make you feel even more isolated for being constantly depressed and anxious. And this was following on by all the stress of employment vs. mental illness stuff, including an awful Occupational Health assessment in mid-December.

Pile the booze-fuelled gatherings of people you rarely see (ending up in a fall out with a family member this year who then stormed out), £200+ of spending, having to find that money, having to find presents in time when you’re sick & can’t face the outside world & all the other organising on top of that – and it can be a really stressful time for ill people.

It’s worth my pointing out, that I recognise it’s actually a stressful enough time even if you’re in good health. You’re just not allowed to say that in case expressing it gets met with phrases like ‘Bah, humbug!’ or being called ‘the Grinch’. ‘C’mon, it’s Christmas, WHY AREN’T YOU HAVING FUN? SMILE!’ ARGH!

Ahhh, the tyranny of festive cheer! 😉

There were good bits; chilling with my fiancée at home, watching fun stuff on TV. I cooked a lot – which I really love (it allows me to ignore the constant negative chatter in my head by providing sufficient distraction). Having time to do that regularly, and experiment with it, has been amazing.

I also decided at the last minute to swing by my friends’ NY gathering too. This was a big step after being such a hermit recently, and after having to abandon my family gatherings mid-way through because of such bad anxiety after the aforementioned fall out. So glad I attended NYE. Small group, friendly faces, nothing too overwhelming – and fun/relaxed. Also my first NYE in my hometown instead of the stressful round trip to London. It felt like a step in the right direction.

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that the worst of this bout is over. It’s getting lighter earlier, I’m well rested, and starting to make a few social arrangements. Not going to push it though, just ease myself in gently. I’m also not drinking in January, and maybe beyond, to help my mental health recover as best it can.

Next year, I’m seriously toying with the idea of ruling out all family adult Xmas presents (which I’m sure will not make me popular), and disappearing abroad for the festive period with my fiancée. The idea is, somewhere sunny, to combat the Seasonal Affective Disorder & avoid all the stress.

I hope ‘looking after yourself’ is at the top of your list of priorities, too.

~ MCL x

P.S. My view of Xmas being a giant ugly consumer fest is a WHOLE separate blog post. I’ll save that treat for you for next year.

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