MHM Recovery 16: Saying No At Christmas

This can be a tough time of year for people with anxiety and social difficulties, as well as for people who are alone. I want to address the latter first as it’s more difficult for me to truly understand as I haven’t real experience of being alone at Christmas. And honestly, when I am alone I don’t mind it about 95 percent of the time (yes I said I want more friends/going out etc – it’s a contradiction, deal with it. I do.)

The only advice I can offer if you are going to be alone and don’t want to be is what I do when I’m feeling lonely (that meagre 5 percent – and this doesn’t always work.) That would be getting snuggled up with a hot drink and a favourite book/s or films/TV shows and losing myself in other worlds and stories. That takes me away from the noise in my head and my worries. Alternatively, for those afraid to be alone, there are places that offer Christmas dinner/lunches for people alone in the festive season – there are no specific organisation links, but it looks like every council in England tries to arrange something. The same may be said for local authorities elsewhere – hit google to search. If you’re a service user, check with your provider to see if they’re arranging anything.

Now, as for those of us who might be requested to attend functions when saddled with extreme anxiety/social issues, I want to make a declaration: IT’S OK TO SAY NO. If you think that going to any of the functions/get togethers you’ve been invited to is going to make you suffer unnecessarily or inhibit your recovery or make you worse, you are allowed to say no. I know family might make a fuss, but your health comes first. End of.

Not to mention being forced to attend lots of functions etc can actually exacerbate those feelings of isolation and difference, which is not a healthy thing. So if there are things that make you feel like that, consider either not going, or if it’s something you need to show face at (work party etc), simply show your face for a few minutes and then leave. Ultimately, though people may get cross, they aren’t you and they don’t have to live with your head, only you do – so only you know what you can and cannot cope with.

No one gets to dictate what you must do but you.


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