Battling Mental Illness Over Christmas - Five Things.

There's often a misconception about mental illness over the holiday season. "But you CAN'T be like that, it's christmas!" Sound familiar? Here's the truth.

Mental illness doesn't stop for the holidays. They don't fade away and leave you laughing with your family, and come back once the season is over. They burden you and bother you and they never truly leave. It can be truly hard to enjoy christmas time when you've got a little voice in your head worrying about everything, or trying to make things absolutely perfect.

This is the third christmas I've been through with anxiety and paranoia, so I thought I'd share some tips and reminders if you're worrying about spending time with your family or just going through christmas with a mental illness.

One - take things one at a time. - Take it easy. Don't try to help dinner, set the table and talk to family members all at the same time, it's bound to stress you out. Take one task at a time and don't forget to take rests in order not to get stressed or exhausted. Don't forget to enjoy yourself.

Two - it's okay to have alone time - I'm a big believer of alone time. Although your family are laughing in the living room, don't be afraid to sneak into your bedroom to have a rest or listen to some music for a bit to unwind. I often do this, and although people might wonder where you are, it is much more important to keep your energy up and relieve any stress you've built up.

Three - Don't let opinions affect you - This one particularly affects me, as I have a LOT of family around the house and my paranoia forces me to believe that they're all picking up on the things I'm doing wrong. Having older of less educated family members can often mean insulting. Without knowing it, they can offend you or make you feel bad about something in our life. Be it the way you look, your lifestyle, sexual orientation or whatever else. You need to try your best not to take these comments to heart as they will lower your mood and your confidence and with all the things you're going through this winter, you really don't need that.

Four - It's not your fault - Although your house may be filled with happiness and joy, IT ISN'T YOUR FAULT YOU FEEL THIS WAY. Please know that you can't help this mental illness and it isn't your fault you might not be truly happy. You can't get rid of the illness just because it is christmas, and you can't let people around you make you feel guilty for it. You can't help it, and you are certainly not alone.

Five - You aren't alone - There are tons of people battling mental illness over the christmas period. Don't be scared to reach out and talk to people. Contact friends, people you might not be seeing over the holidays and please please please, take care of yourself. It is far too easy to forget self care over such a busy season, but taking care of yourself and de-stressing is still just as important as ever.

So there's five things to remember when struggling the holiday season, merry christmas and please stay safe!

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