It’s almost time to put on your stretchiest bottoms and eat more than you will all year. To sing loudly and proudly, argue with your family over a board game and most importantly spend time with your loved ones.
But as wonderful as the festive time is for many, it can be a challenging time for those with mental illness – it can be anxiety inducing, it can provide a wealth of negativity and isolation of the mind. For some it’s not as Andy Williams sings so wonderfully.
Now I don’t want to bring a downer on the season merely remind us all, myself included to spare a thought, some kindness, an action to those who might be struggling right now.
I was listening to my favourite podcast – Desert Island Discs and Kirsty Young was interviewing Bruce Springsteen and he was openly discussing his experience of depression and she asked whether he found it difficult, almost a mistake to open up about his weakness in a public arena. And it really bothered me because depression or any mental illness is NOT a weakness.
Sure it’s a pain in the ass and most people wouldn’t wish to have a mental illness, but to call it a weakness just shows we have such a long way to go to insure those with it don’t feel the stigma of negativity that others may feel about it.
So this festive season offer kindness, understanding where possible and remember that flaws are not weaknesses. That those managing mental illness are warriors, whose strength we should admire and support – All year round.