I’m not sure if I’m the only person who feels this way but it’s crazy to me that 2021 is already here, through all the challenges that 2020 offered due to Covid 19 and the ensuring pandemic, I still feel as though the year literally flew by, Christmas and New Years came and went and although those times for many are seen as a time of celebration, they can actually be quite difficult for myself and many other people who suffer from mental illness.
Now I don’t want to seem like I’m against the festivity of the Christmas and New Year period because I’m not, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate and spend time with your loved ones, however the festive period can also bring along with it, a sense of loneliness to certain people, me being one of them. If I’m completely honest, I probably haven’t been myself for the last month or so, because of this feeling.
Whilst I am one of the lucky people who have a large family around to celebrate, as I’ve gotten older I have found the sense of loneliness has become a lot more common, attributing to this may be the fact that I am living alone, waking up to yourself on Christmas Day is never fun but also my family now have there own families, both my brother and sister have partners and kids who they celebrate the festive season with, whilst obviously I am so very happy for them, I cannot help but have a small sense of jealousy to a degree, as I don’t necessarily have that for myself, being single has it’s advantages but I’m not gonna lie, it would be nice to have someone to share those intimate moments with.
Along with loneliness, it can be quite difficult for individuals with anxiety specifically, to navigate the new year period and everything that comes along with it. What do I mean by that? Well with the new year approaching, often the same questions are commonly asked, for example, what are you new year’s resolutions? Do you have any goals that you want to achieve? What are you going to do differently this year as opposed to last?
Now all are very innocent questions and to be honest, most people probably don’t even have a proper answer for them but for someone who may struggle with anxiety such as myself, what I can tell you is that often my mind runs at 1000km/h, so when all these questions are thrown at me and I don’t necessarily have the right answers, it’s quite common, for myself especially, to get lost in my own mind, I’ve often been told that I’m always full of different ideas which is 100% true, but often it’s because I am trying to “find” an answer instead of letting one naturally come to me.
That’s the thing with anxiety, it plays tricks on you, something that starts off as an innocent question, becomes a “must answer”. Often it becomes an exhausting process because you are constantly “thinking” and battling against you’re own mind, I know for myself personally, when I battle with my anxiety, I find myself very tired, not physically but mentally my mind cannot keep up, as a result I tend to withdraw and keep to myself, it’s a feeling I’ve experienced a lot over the last month or so definitely and whilst I’ve been able to continue my day to day life without it being very noticeable, there have been times where I’ve been so withdrawn from life in general.
So if you are reading this, I don’t ask that you stop the celebrations, all that I ask is that you be mindful, if you have noticed may be one of your friends or a family member has become a bit distant, withdrawn or may be acting slightly different than normal, please take the time to ask but also to communicate, asking if someone is ok is a great start but often that individual has a lot more going on than you may imagine, it may be more beneficial to create conversation as opposed to asking a question, meaning you may have to approach the situation in a different manner, for example:
- “Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been a bit withdrawn over the last little while, what’s been happening at home / work?”
- “You’ve just been a little bit different than your normal self, talk to me about what’s been happening in your life recently, let’s get things out in the open together”
- “You’re a bit quiet, let’s go for lunch and have a chat”
These are all very basic strategies but in my experience, they open up the lines for further communication and often that can be the catalyst towards getting an individual battling with their anxieties, in a position to express their emotions and move forward in a positive direction.
At the end of the day, what may seem like a simple conversation to you, could mean the difference between seeing a smile on someone else’s face or not, better yet, it may just save a life and that’s definitely a reason to celebrate.
Thanks for reading.