We are told that it is the season to be jolly, however for many Christmas is not the most magical time of the year, but the most difficult. Sometimes it brings back memories, it can be an exceptionally difficult time when we are grieving. For others the memories are of people they would rather forget. The obsession with family at Christmas is painful for those whose families are abusive, who have cut off contact, who have to remain apart for their own safety and sanity. Then there are those whose families have rejected them, who would love the Hollywood movie ideal of sitting round the table together, but for whatever reason are excluded from the list.
Those with chronic mental health conditions can find all the old clichés coming out. People asking them what they have to be depressed about, or telling them to cheer up, its christmas! As if an illness has a calendar and will go into remission when it notices the date. Comparisons between mental and physical health issues can be problematic. For one thing it reinforces the idea that one can only have one or the other. Even so it is telling that people in hospital for physical ailments over Christmas are seen as needing special treatment, visited by celebrities and news crews, while those struggling mentally are seen as letting the side down.