Dave's Progress. Chapter 98: Are We Having Fun Yet?

So it's the Christmas season again, and at the risk of beginning to repeat myself ad infinitum I will state once again my message from last year (and the year before that, and before that...) So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's havin' fun, or are they?
I guess those of you who read this blog will know my stance on Christmas. I suppose I feel that the real message of Christmas has been lost in a haze of mass consumerism and mindless materialism, and as we all drudge through the shopping malls like drones buying up gifts for others and fully expecting one back in return, it is, I suppose, obvious that some of us will just feel a little alienated from the whole affair.
For those who suffer from mental illness such feelings can be acute. More likely to be isolated from society and to be, in some instances, estranged from family and friends, the very thought of Christmas, with its emphasis on family and hearth and home, can be enough to send some into a relapse. For them, it seems, the best policy is often ignoring the whole thing, hoping that things don't get too bad, and hopefully emerging after all the festivities relatively unscathed.
However, we are all susceptible to a little stress at Christmas and I was recently part of a health promotion in our local area, along with another member of the Pathways Group, which involved giving out information on how we can all relieve stress at this demanding time. Such things as just taking some time for yourself to listen to music, read, or enjoy a hot bath, can alleviate some of the pressures we feel. Perhaps it is prudent that we all look after ourselves in this way, as I believe that things such as calls to The Samaritans dramatically increase during the festive period, and of course we all know of the stresses and strains of having to entertain relatives or in-laws we would otherwise not give the time of day to.
So, as Christmas approaches, I simply ask, in a variation on my usual message- are we having fun yet? If the answer is no, perhaps try some of the stress-busting methods I have mentioned. It must be said that drinking and smoking heavily are not answers to taking such stress away, and although our alcohol intake probably goes up throughout this time, it invariably causes more problems than it solves and, indeed, increased use of such drugs is an indicator of stress, not a reliever of it. So, particularly to those who suffer from mental ill health, the alienated and the lonely, I wish you a not too unpleasant time. For the rest of you who may be reading this blog, may I wish you all a very merry, not too stressful Christmas.
That's all for now from your normal, average delusional and paranoid man.


klahanie said…
Dear David,
And so this is Christmas. David, I can very much relate to this posting.
I do some of the "mindless consumerism" that you allude too. However, I cannot honestly state this, I do not expect anything in return. I do agree that the real message has been lost in the commercial cynicism of what has become a bit of a sad farce.
Feelings of isolation for those with mental health concerns can be compounded during the 'festive season'. It does indeed enhance the overwhelming sense of loneliness that is endured.
Anyhow, I could go on and on with this comment. Much of what you say has deep and profound meaning within my life.
You have given good practical advice for those who may be suffering during this time.
I know that to try and keep busy, to stay distracted in a positive way, has been vital for my own mental health well being.
A thoughtful posting, David. I shall be doing one along similar lines, just before the 'dreaded' day. Remember, my friend, I am but a phone call away. May you have a peaceful and positive Christmas.
In kindness and positive wishes, your way, Gary.
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thank you for your very kind comment. You have not left that much to say, other than that I will be looking forward to reading your own Christmas posting, as well as the eagerly awaited wee folks Christmas special!
I''ll be in touch soon and I hope you and your family have a wonderful, peaceful, not too stressful Christmas.
Yours with Very Best Yuletide Wishes,
David, I hope your holidays are not overshadowed by sadness. I think you offered some really good suggestions for those who are alone on Christmas. Though I truly hope you'll not be alone. Mom and I will hold you in our thoughts. We wish good things for you as the new year is about to begin. Stay strong - stay positive...

bazza said…
Hello David. I really do not like all of the things that have become attached to Christmas; that is to say, over-indulgence of every kind.
I have pleaded for years for a basic healthy Christmas day lunch but it falls on deaf ears!
I do enjoy the peace of Christmas day itself after all of the frenzied activity has come to a halt.
It doesn't even seem to make a difference that the family is Jewish!
Best regards to you, Bazza.
David said…
Dear M.D.,
Fortunately for me I will not be spending this Christmas alone. I will be visiting my brother along with my parents and in-laws. So, I think I'll be fine, though I thank you for your kind and thoughtful encouragement, and I will indeed attempt to stay strong and positive.
May I wish you, then, similarly warm thoughts and I hope your own Christmas is not too stressful.
Wishing you All the Very Best this Christmas and Hope for the New Year,
David said…
Dear bazza,
Well, I'd love to see what a Jewish Christmas looks like. Easy on the Ham, I suppose (I hope you're not offended).
Anyway, thanks for your comment, bazza, and given your current trying times, make that doubly so.
Wishing you (hopefully) a Very Merry Christmas,
bazza said…
David, you would find it hard to offend me!
There are Jewish people who ignore Christmas but I think the majority of all people have a large family meal on the day - and a lot of them will eat ham!
dcrelief said…
Dear David,
With age I have mellowed on the gift manic persona. Indeed I believe gifts should go those in need.
My attitude toward Christmas has changed. It's a day I'd like to enjoy peacefully, not shrouded in wrapping papers. Thus I agreed to have our family gathering the weekend before Christmas. It works!
Though we don't do gifts, we play games and sing.
I only know, my friend, that when I'm happy, it doesn't matter what day it is. I wish you joy and happiness too.
Thank you for wonderful blog!
Merry Christmas,
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Sounds like you have Christmas "all wrapped up", if you'll pardon the pun.
So, thank you for your continued interest and may I wish you many peaceful and wonderful Christmases to come.
Yours with All The Best,
bazza said…
Have a great New Year David, with best wishes from Bazza of ‘To Discover Ice’
dcrelief said…
Dear David,
I guess I'm hoping you survived Christmas!
I wish for you a very joyous New Year.

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