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It's okay not to be okay - an update from Claire

Around a year ago we posted Claire's story - Healings is not Linear. Now, 365 days later she is bringing us update. Thanks to Claire for sharing so honestly.

 

It's been a year since I started this blog to show what life was like in recovery as a musician with disabilities and mental health diagnoses.


So, how do I start this post? I guess to talk about the dips and dives of this year. There have been so many highs, and progress! I have started a community choir as part of my voluntary work. Because this ward is a rehab for ED/PD we get voluntary roles which we can pick when and if we're ready. My choir community has been such a protective factor for me. I've made good friends and love each and every one of my choir members. So proud of them too. We're a group of people who are veterans, have mental health issues, extra needs and disabilities, from many walks of life. I'm allowed to leave without staff to go to my voluntary job and it's become a tower of strength. Therapy is going well, though it's challenging.


This being said, December once again has given me a dip so I'm building back up again slowly. The point of this post was to update but also touch upon the difficult month and festive period with mental health challenges. Christmas is hard for everyone for different reasons and for me and my peers this is no exception. Most of us won't be around our family through the festive period. Food and social events are a huge part of Christmas and have so so many pressures that come with them. I struggle with the food aspect of Christmas. I think for anyone with any mental health challenge, this time of year can be so hard. There's a pressure to be 'happy' and 'joyful'. With this comes the expectation of telling everyone you're fine and ok so you don't dampen the Christmas spirit. I think if everyone was honest and said 'actually I'm finding this festive period really difficult and I can't manage the X,Y, or Z', things may be slightly easier for people. And having the knowledge that other people aren't ok, wouldn't feel so isolating. 


The BPD side of me doesn't like being out of routine so the nightmare of shops changing opening times, schedules changing, having days where the structure isn't that of a normal day on the ward and other changes find it really challenging. The few days in between Christmas and New Year to me feels like the grey slush of snow. If you feel like this too, then that totally is ok and makes sense as the festivities are like recovery, dips and dives. 


So if you're struggling this Christmas, you're not alone. If 'Happy New Year' feels too much, that's ok too. If you can't face buying presents and sending cards, that's totally understandable. If you want to hide away in your Pjs with the door shut and your small comforts, then do it. 


Whatever Christmas is for you, just breathe and take it hour by hour. Whatever you're doing or going through this Christmas I send you all my love. 


Hoping 2024 will bring some updates as a musical artist and my career with disabilities and extra needs. 


Love always,


Claire x

 


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What you say is so very true, Claire. One vicar I spoke to (I am an organist) says that for Christmas 2024 he is organising a Blue Christmas. It is specifically for people who find it all too much, or have sad memories around Christmas. It sounds like such a caring idea, as so many people find the whole thing so difficult. I hope you are recovering, and all the best going forward.

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