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A Lighter Way To Reach Out This Christmas
Posted by clairerpb
14th Dec 2017

Christmas is a season of joy for many which makes it especially hard for those suffering with mental illness. Much as they would love to, sufferers can’t switch off their emotions and anxieties in the name of being festive with family and friends. Furthermore, seeing so much Christmas cheer can often only emphasise feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and inferiority.

So, if you’d like to reach out to someone struggling with their mental health this Christmas, and you can’t quite find the right words, perhaps you could use some of the verses below. Each one has a theme and could be sent on its own; or you could pick and choose the verses that are relevant and create your own poem. Let’s reach out and show support for those suffering with their mental health this Christmas!

GENERAL
Hey, I know Christmas will be tough for you this year,
Surrounded by those full of Christmas cheer;
I just want you to know that I’ll be thinking of you
And I am willing to help with anything I can do.

I DON’T FULLY UNDERSTAND BUT I DO REALLY CARE

I don’t truly understand what it’s like to be in so much pain,
But you’ll hear my offers of help again and again;
I’ll make up for my ignorance with how much I care,
Please allow me to support you so we can face this as a pair.

YOU TELL ME

But before I make suggestions, perhaps you can tell me,
Exactly what will help, whatever it may be;
I don’t want to be well-meaning and then get it all wrong,
Or to suggest that you are the weak one and that I am strong.

HOW I COULD HELP

I am available for anything, it’s completely your call,
Consider yourself the most important person at this Christmas ball;
A walk, a hug or an idiotic text,
Just let me know what you need, even if its complex.

NEED FOR SPACE / TIME

We’re so happy you will join us but please also believe,
We’ll completely understand when you decide to leave;
Your space and moments alone are important at this time,
Early departures won’t offend, they’ll be absolutely fine.

ROUTINE

With parties and late nights, your routine will be disrupted,
But how about I help you stick to what’s been instructed?
Your therapist reminded you to eat, sleep and take meds,
If an invitation prevents that, I’ll come with you instead.

NOISE / LIGHTS

If the noise of the crowds or the flickering of lights,
Is overwhelming and makes you want to take flight,
Just give me the signal and I will be there,
Guiding you to a calmer spot that you’ll be able to bear.

AVOIDING ALCOHOL

I know it’ll be hard to stay off wine, spirits or beer,
As you’ll want to join in with the festive cheer;
Well how about I join you, we’ll be tea-total together
And laugh at others’ hangovers when they’re under the weather.

ANXIOUS ABOUT FOOD / EATING

I know it’s hard for you to eat, especially when you’re tense
And it annoys you that to others it simply does not make sense;
Don’t be afraid to ignore them and to eat what you like,
Even if your Gran thinks you’re too thin and on hunger strike!

PANIC ATTACK

If you lose it, freak out or have a panic attack,
Know I will be there, I will have your back;
I’ll soothe you until you’re calm and feeling steady,
Then take you home to recover once you feel ready.

DEALING WITH ANNOYING COMMENTS

We both know that everyone will not be empathetic,
They’ll want you to be cheerful and always energetic;
“Cheer up,” “Smile,” “Eat up,” or “Take part”
Will be the constant advice they choose to impart.
How about we decide to turn their comments into a game,
Trying to understand for their ignorance they can’t be blamed:
For every annoying comment we hear anyone say,
That’s a dollar in the jar to spend on your next difficult day.

ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT

If it all gets too much and you really can’t cope,
Please, please don’t give up – never lose hope;
Know the professionals are out there, ready for you,
Doctors, nurses and therapists will help at Christmas too.

YOU WON’T RUIN MY CHRISTMAS

Don’t even suggest that all this will ruin my festive season,
I am sending you this for a very special reason:
I know you are struggling and I know it will be tough,
And I just want to help you so it won’t be too rough.
I love you more than you will ever know,
And if you tell me what you want, together we can grow;
So open up this Christmas, demand exactly what you need,
That way it will be time together that will be special indeed.

IF YOU ARE ALONE THIS CHRISTMAS

I know you’ll be alone during this festive time,
But I hope you know I’m here if you’re not feeling fine;
Just pick up the phone, or text if you can’t speak,
You can cry, scream or rant – to me you’re no freak.
I’ll come over if you feel ready, as soon as you ask,
But don’t think that that will create endless tasks:
I won’t want to be fed and I don’t mind a mess,
I just want to hold your hand through this hopelessness.

Please feel free to use as many verses as you like and to tweak them according to your audience. We all know that mental illnesses are as unique as the individual that has them.

I hope that using verse to converse helps someone this Christmas!

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