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  • Writer's pictureTara Vaughan

Getting Through Christmas

For some, Christmas is the best time of year. The songs, the decorations, the smells, they bring joy and a warm feeling. But for others, like me, Christmas is a time of dread, guilt, and a sense of loss.

I haven’t yet managed to figure out how to get through the Christmas period. I do not know what a joyous Christmas would look or feel like. Maybe I did when I was a child but I don’t really remember that time.

I am always torn between what I want to do for Christmas and what I feel I have to do. I feel incredibly guilty because a part of me does not want to be with my family. I feel a sense of loss because of my family not being the kind of family I want to be with. And I feel selfish writing that, for having that feeling, but I should realise that that is okay.

I think about having it alone, acting as if it’s just another day but a part of me thinks that’s quite sad. And that part is stronger than the part that want’s to be alone. I think that part is also greedy and doesn’t want to miss out on all of the amazing Christmas food my mother makes.

Year after year, I walk into my family home over the Christmas period and I expect this year to be different. Then it’s all over, and year after year I feel let down, disappointed and confused by it all.

I, and many others, have old, painful memories triggered by Christmas. I feel a great deal of relief when it’s finally ended. For many years, I believed that I was the only one who dreaded Christmas, but last year I started hearing from others who also dislike it. I have learnt that I am not alone and that there are probably as many of us in conflict during the Christmas period as there are who feel at peace. I’m learning, through trail and error, how to take care of myself a little better this Christmas.

I hated Christmas so much that when I was 16 years old I attempted to take my own life. Every year I am reminded of this. And some years I question myself as to why I am still here.

I know that I must accept my guilt, anger, sense of loss and any other emotions that creep in. It is all okay.

There is no right or perfect was to handle Christmas. But I can try and do my best and hope that each year gets a little better.

So I say to you this Christmas, give yourself permission to take care of yourself.

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