I didn’t spend christmas with my relatives this year. I’ve only dared doing so once before and then I was in Autralia so I couldn’t have dropped in just like that. Apart from that I have always rushed from one splinter of the family to the next – because: On christmas, the child has to be there, no matter what it takes, not a hint of contemplativeness. For me personally, christmas doesn’t matter, neither am I catholic nor do I like consumerism. So I had three cozy days at home with my partner and the cat. Sure, there are people whom I would have liked to visit but I don’t need christmas for that, I can see them at any time of the year.
In many blogs by people who fight against what happens in their heads like I do I haven’t read about joyful anticipation as the “feast of love” drew near but rather about stress, fear and insecurity. The hope of “somehow surviving it”, the attempt of mustering some strength in order to “appear normal”, days before christmas was even there. And it hurts to read that because especially we who have enough mental problems to deal with deserve a few peaceful days. For years I have put a brave face on for christmas as everything has to be merry – ideal family, ideal world, even in places where there’s war they have ceasefires on christmas. But at some point I started talking. I was so scared but after all, I want to enter my relatives’ houses with my head held high. It is so exhausting to pretend everything’s just fine.
And so I wish you the courage to tell people what’s going on, no matter if the time is appropriate (as far as I know, there is no appropriate time). Sure, sometimes it’s easier to answer a quick “How are you?” with “Fine.” but as soon as putting on a happy face starts getting strenuous we should start being ourselves. Also, and especially with people who are supposed to take us just the way we are..and if they can’t it might be time to reconsider those relationships. If I ever have to go to hospital because of my condition I don’t want to be the person where nobody could have suspected it – how does my family benefit from an unexpected panic attack of mine just because I was too proud or scared to tell them? How am I a good friend by lying to someone who asks me where a scar comes from?
I wish you all some people who don’t have a problem with you being honest. Too many of us hide behind false names in order to be able to speak up – is it not time to let our near and dear ones know who and what we are? I too have people in my life who don’t know everything yet but I try to find the courage to tell them about my demons because I owe them some honesty. And above all, I have made the experience that first reactions can be real blows but what people say after having had a little time to think is all the more beautiful.
With this in mind – honest christmas and an open new year!