Between October and this day of December, I have written much on love and loneliness. I penned two letters “to someone”.
I don’t want to spend another Christmas alone
I wrote in the first.
I can’t help but wonder where you’ve gotten to?
I asked in the second.
Christmas, the magnificent MH community has taught me – in particular, the beautiful Hannah Rainey‘s phenomenal #TalkMH – can be immensely difficult for a number of psychological reasons, from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to the triumvirate of anxiety, large (festively-boisterous) crowds and the inescapable pressure to be unfailing happy because Christmas.
My chief concern, with regards to the difficulties this time of year can present, is the absence of romantic love and the sense of loneliness which accompanies it. The majority of Christmas movies show love to be a critical ingredient to a Merry Christmas; indeed, the flourishing of love is not only enriched by this season to be jolly, but altogether enhanced by it, and to be without it on the blissful hours between Christmas Eve and the closing of Christmas Day can consequently feel like the heaviest of burdens. On a personal note, however, something curious happened to me last week, which made me realise I am not presently as lonely as I previously felt myself to be. Loneliness though, is of course a moveable feast.
The point of this post is simply to acknowledge this feast, and to let others – who may be unhappily gorging on it – know that it is not an unending deluge. I think it is fair to say that those who have of late had their hearts broken feel love’s painful absence more keenly that those who – whether by choice or circumstance – have grown accustomed to the sensation. To those for whom such wounds are indeed fresh, I say simply:
I know how you feel – really, I do. The pain, the loss, the heartache, the betrayal: the goddamn longing for that picturesque dream you had planned for a perfect Christmas to piece itself back together, if only for a day or two; so that – all in all – you have lost only a piece of your heart and not, on top of that, happy memories which, in the end, never did come to pass.
I know how you feel. But please try and keep in mind that you are not alone in what hurts you. Such a fact is, in the moment, little consolation; and at the peak of conflagration, I was mercifully advised as such. But it is true. I, for one, may have been hurt before you, and may well be hurt after you. What matters, though, is that for the time being, I have come out the other side – and so will you. Picture Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda, who defied his tormentor – the tyrannical Trunchbull – by devouring that entire chocolate cake. He overcame that which at first seemed so daunting. He overcame, and so will we.
Feeling alone can feel like an eternity – but nothing lasts forever.
If you truly are feeling the pressure this Christmas, I am only a message away. I can sometimes be slightly slack in my replies, but I promise I will always respond (and if the urgency is apparent, I will make it a priority). I can most easily be reached on Twitter (@whateverwordsuk) or, following that, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).