Christmas is this coming Friday…and the following week will be the New Year. That means most of us will be seeing friends and family that we may not have in a while. My oldest son will be coming over from America and he and his fiancee will be spending Christmas Eve here with us. I can hardly wait.
BUT I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone…this time of year is NOT wonderful for some people.
Suicide rates soar around the holidays every year as many people experience depression and anxiety. So I want to take a couple of minutes to suggest a few things you can do this year to make it a nicer holiday season:
- Be honest/transparent. Not in a cutting or sarcastic way, but quietly, one-on-one and genuinely…ask people that you know may be vulnerable, ‘Hey, man (or chica), how are you doing? REALly?’
- And more importantly…fucking LISTEN. Don’t belittle what they say with unhelpful comments like…’We all got problems,’ ‘Things will get better,’ ‘Just hang in there,’ or long winded stories about how you solved ALL your problems. People don’t need your fucking advice, they need your ears and arms for hugs…cuddles as Captain America calls them.
- But be careful what you say too. Tiffany, this week’s REAL Woman Wednesday, reminded us how painful casual remarks regarding reproduction can be for someone struggling to conceive. But there can be many stresses…my older daughter broke up with her boyfriend a few months ago so listening to me go on and on about Thor and Captain America is painful to her…so I have to curb my happiness a bit.
- Remember the forgotten. Maybe you have a neighbor, friend or you know my latest soap box…the homeless, buy a small gift, write a card and take it to them. Spend even a few minutes reminding them that someone does care this time of year.
The holidays can be hard for anyone. But certain groups find it especially challenging. So please be extra mindful of:
- Those who have recently experienced a loss such a death, divorce, or unemployment.
- Those you know who experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or self-esteem issues.
- Our men and women of valor, who have served in the military, whether in a war zone or not.
- Those in high stress jobs such as doctors/nurses/EMTs, fire fighters, police and the like.
- Those struggling to conceive or who have experienced a pregnancy loss…the men too, folks.
- Students…exams and papers are looming and that anxiety, insecurity and pressure can seem immense right now.
- Those with challenges, extra ones, like a chronic health condition, serious illness or mental/emotional issues such as Autism. AND their parents, folks. As the Mom of a beautiful little girl with Asperger’s, let me tell you…Christmas can be a REAL nightmare for us as well as them.
- The elderly…are more likely to experience isolation and depression.
My first ex, the preacher, told the story about his paternal grandmother. Any time that family got together there was a line outside the bathroom…of people waiting to cry.
And hell, my family ain’t perfect…my children or my poly tribe…having disagreements and issues is what happens between people, who care for one another. At the end of a big family event like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years…I do a HUGE happy dance if no one got mad or hurt this time.
So, folks, just be kind to one another…remember…