It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting in my hospital bedroom typing this post. I was admitted one and a half weeks ago, and in that time I’ve made many positive changes.
I’m well again. I can think clearly. I can make decisions in line with my values. I’m talking, not avoiding. Life is back on track, but I’m sad.
It’s Christmas tomorrow. For me the day has no religious significance, although I do understand it has significance for some. It’s a day I’d usually spend with family or friends. We’d make delicious Christmas food, eat until we were full, and spend the day relaxing, laughing, and playing.
This year is different. This year I’m spending the day in hospital. A couple of friends will visit in the afternoon, but the rest of the day will be quiet and low key. No plans aside from taking my medication, chatting to nursing staff, eating the delicious food the kitchen staff prepare, and resting.
There’s no escaping the sadness that lingers. Complex family dynamics mean that I won’t be spending the day with the family members I adore. We celebrated Christmas last weekend, and did all the gift giving then. It was enjoyable. I enjoyed playing with my nephews, and spending time with other family members, but Christmas Day?
There’s sadness. I’m satisfied with the decisions I’ve made about how to spend Christmas day. I understand my choices, and family members support them, but I’m still sad.
I’m not the only one though. So many of my fellow patients are struggling with Christmas. There’s a huge expectation to present as being happy and well, even when you’re not. I won’t doing that this year.
I’m feeling sad about the holiday. I know that, and I’m okay with that. I know I need to sit with the emotions, and not run from, or avoid them. It’s okay to be sad. Feelings are valid. I’m choosing to spend the remainder of Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day being kind to myself, and treating myself with respect.
What will it looks like? This afternoon I’ll curl up in bed and watch a movie I enjoy. I’ll eat dinner, and chat with other patients, then spend the evening quietly reflecting on the day – sitting with the emotions, and exploring them gently.
I will treat myself with understanding, compassion, and respect. I hope that you will also be able to do that for yourself.