5 … 4… 3 … 2… 1 … Ding, Dong strikes Big Ben followed by an overwhelming firework display celebrating a new year, with a strew of cheers, happiness and joy. 10000s of texts and calls are made to say “happy new year”
All of this brings necessity to be positive, happy, smiling to see a bright future.
What are the common words above?
Prior to that there has been the conversations of “what are you doing for new year” – with the expected answer that you are going to a party or gathering, somewhere to celebrate the New Year.
For many suffering with mental health issues this is the complete opposite; the answer to the question “what are you doing for New Year” has an awkward answer of something like “I am just having a quiet one” – the truth behind this answer is really “I am hiding under the covers, pretending it is not happening and being asleep before midnight to avoid the act of happiness.
((Though this year was slightly different as it involved me staying up trawling the Internet trying to fix my iPhone that had conveniently broken – I say convenient as it meant I didn’t have the added burst of happy New Year messages!!))
There has been nearly a month of plastering on that false smile which has been exhausting. Routines that are needed to get through the weeks have been shattered and the thought of getting back into them feels impossible.
Overall new year screams pressure. Pressure to celebrate. Pressure to look to a bright year ahead. Pressure to achieve. Pressure to be excited.
Seeing a positive can seems impossible.
I haven’t mentioned New Year's Resolutions. To those suffering it is the same resolution as it is all year around just to get up in the morning, leave the house, find motivation to do anything, to do what even what seems to most like the tiniest of things. To others just getting through another day or week feels like a huge achievement.
Then there is a resolution that which people wouldn’t think twice and that we are all guilty of, which is, ” I’ve eaten so much over Christmas I need to go on a diet and loose this weight". This message is also plastered all over magazines, tv, anywhere you look. How do you these reminders affect someone who is trying to recover from an eating disorder where they need to put on weight and they need to loose that control.
January for those suffering with poor mental health starts off exhausted, wanting to hide from the world’s excitement for the year ahead, hide from what feel like unachievable or triggering resolutions.
I am lucky this year that although New Years Eve had the same routine of hiding, for the first time in 4 years it has started off feeling positive and excited (which I shall write separately about). It is a feeling I am not taking for granted. I know there will be many periods of huge lows and wanting to hide. It has taken 4 years of beyond hard work to get to this point, so I am treasuring it while it lasts.