A few words for those in a tough place over Christmas

If the festive season is a particularly tough time for you, could you just spare us a minute or two to read this?

For the lion’s share of people, the festive season is a happy time. The world around is certainly suggests so as well, and to the people finding happiness and warmth in the midst of all of that, the very best to you. Everyone here wishes you a lovely Christmas and New Year.

This post, though, is for those who are finding life particularly tough, and are struggling to find much light in the midst of the season. All are welcome to read this of course, and we’re happy to hand you each a virtual coffee and biscuit as you do so.

We’ve been doing a post like this, each Christmas, for several years now, and the first thing we learned is that there are more of us than you might think going through tough times. Be it feeling alone, unhappy, stuck and/or in a very dark place at this time of year, the societal pressure to be jovial and happy and full of the joys can be troubling in some cases, even crippling in others.

Firstly, then, it’s okay not to be bowled over with joy at Christmas. You’re not abnormal for feeling like that, and there’s more of it about than you might think. If things aren’t right then things aren’t right, and no amount of nice tinsel can cover that up.

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Secondly, you are allowed to be happy. Life can throw some pretty shitty stuff at you, and there are times when it may feel that there’s simply no way out. One of the other things we’ve learned in the years we’ve been running pieces like this, though, is that sometimes light comes when you least expect it. That a small thing can start to affect a positive change.

Thirdly, even if you’re just feeling a little bit off, or you have a slight niggle that something isn’t right, please don’t ignore it. It’s a bit of a cliché to say that it’s better to deal with things when you’re closer to the start of your tether than the end of it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Unfortunately, many of us ignore early warning signs – just the frantic nature of life has a habit of getting in the way – and don’t talk to someone until we’re a bit further down the line.

If you aren’t in a great place right now, or maybe you’re feeling on the wrong side of happiness and fortune, please do consider talking to someone. Even if it’s an anonymous comment in the comments below this article, try and get some of those feelings down. It’s a friendly bunch who frequent this site, and please remember that every post here, and every comment below, is written by a human being. There are no clever robots or bots. We’re not on a Facebook budget. Rather that in spite of how anonymous the internet may feel, it’s still human beings. If someone replies to your post saying hello, that’s a real human being saying hello.

We’re going to sign off this post with a list of organisations who we recommend regularly, and we do so because they’re good, and want to help. A few Christmases ago, someone wrote to us having read one of these posts on the brink of ending their life, and opted to ring one of the numbers instead. Gradually, their life has started to turn for the better. You don’t have to be feeling the same to ring one of the numbers, and we know that people who have just felt a bit off have got in touch, and for the better.

Folks, if in doubt, do give one of these groups a try. It can’t do any harm.

Young Minds is dedicated to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Parents concerned about their youngsters can call 0808-802-5544. Here is its website.

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CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, aimed at young men feeling unhappy. It has a web chat service, and freephone phone lines. You can find its website here.

MIND is an organisation that aims to make sure nobody has to face a mental health problem by themselves. You can find its website here. The MIND infoline is 0300 123 3393.

SANE does amazing work too in battling the stigma that seems to go with mental health. Between 6pm and 11pm, you can give them a call on 0300-304-7000. They welcome calls from anyone affected in any way at all by mental illness and challenges. Here is SANE’s website.

The Samaritans do such wonderful work. You can talk to them around the clock on 116 123, a freephone number in the UK and Ireland. Or drop an email to jo@samaritans.org – you’ll get a reply within a day or two.

The Depression Alliance can help those around you gain a better understanding of what depression is, and how it affects you. It has a directory of support groups around the country, here. It’s merged with MIND, but for the minute, has a separate website.

PAPYRUS is a group that supports teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal. You can call them on 0800 068 4141.

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If you’re dealing with a bereavement, or struggling with grief, then CRUSE Bereavement Care can be found here.

If you’re struggling with a relationship, then RELATE is a great organisation. You can find it here

We post these links a lot, too, but for those worried about a friend, a relative, or someone they know, The Samaritans has two excellent posts that use far better words than we could cobble together here. There’s what to do if you’re worried about someone, and how to start a difficult conversation.

If we can just say this: you matter. You, as a human being, matter. We hope you find a glimmer of happiness over the festive period, and we hope that life smiles on you a bit more than it may have been doing. Either way, we’re here. The community behind this site is here. Jason Statham is still making films. And we’ve got a warm virtual hug heading your way.

You all take care x.