By Sylvia Mac

It’s that time of year again where many people find it difficult to celebrate. We all think everyone is going to be happy and enjoying the Christmas celebrations but there are people that struggle. This year will be my first Christmas and New Year where I won’t be hiding in my bedroom. I will be up with my family, laughing and enjoying every bit of the day spreading love and happiness.

Over the past years, I have tried to be happy and get into the festive season but found myself in my bed crying. Throughout December in the build up to Christmas, I enjoyed shopping for my children’s presents and buying the food to make everyone happy and see their smiling faces. When Christmas day arrived, I began to feel lonely even though everyone was sharing presents and kindness.

As the day went on I began to get feelings of sadness, loneliness and feeling depressed. I could never understand why I was feeling this way but it was only since I came to terms with my body and accepting my scars as a recognition of survival, I have been able to change my mindset.

No-one in my family understood what I was going through and just got used to me locking myself away from them. Unfortunately for me I found it difficult to talk to anyone as to why I was feeling this way and could only think everyone hated me. I realise now that this was because I hated myself. I had a tendency of upsetting everyone around me and pushing them away. I was battling with severe depression and even thought that this was me and this was how I was made. I often left my family in tears and then spent the rest of the day and evening crying because of what I had done to them.

Our mental health is something that isn’t a quick fix but I found talking about it to people who listened, understood and didn’t judge me made me feel so much better. It was like a release of pain and unhappiness had been lifted from my life. It’s not always easy to talk to family as they love us for who they are and how we’re made so I found that talking with others who may be going through the similar struggles would be a great start. There are support groups and charities that offer meet ups where everyone can gather and share their stories. I wasn’t able to find that for myself so set up an online social media fb group, where we are all able to make friends and get through these difficult months.

So, What am I doing this Christmas? This will be my First Christmas where I will celebrate with my family and be thankful for being alive to share it with them. I won’t be attending my bedroom until it’s time to sleep but instead having the best time of my life.

Merry Christmas Everyone, Safe and Happy New Year X