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It’s OK to be alone at Christmas

Courtesy of Twid

This morning, only eight days before Christmas, I opened the newspaper to find three articles about suicide.

The stories brought home the fact that one of the supposedly most-joyful times of year, is for many people the bleakest of all.

In one of the cases, a woman took her own life at a DIY store in Kent. In another, a man survived after he was talked down from the roof of a multi-storey car park in South Wales.

The case that made the front page, was the death of a footballer who took his own life in Northamptonshire.

There are any number of reasons why people take their own lives, but often the decisive factor is not the individual reason, but how isolated that person feels in having to deal with it.

At a time of year during which we are bombarded with glowing messages telling us we should all be eating turkey and opening presents while surrounded by the love of friends and family, isolation is brought into even starker relief and made even harder to bear.

Too painful to ignore

Loneliness that can stay buried under busy lives and shallow distractions during the rest of the year, at this most family-orientated of holidays, can become too painful to ignore.

Perhaps the most-telling of the three cases, was the death of the 24-year-old professional footballer.

A young man living what for countless others was the dream existence of playing football and getting paid for it, still found himself feeling unable to carry on.

That is to say, anyone can hit rock bottom, even those who appear brimming with confidence and success.

It’s OK to feel lonely – it doesn’t make you weak or inadequate. And as these cases and countless others prove, you are far from alone in feeling that way.

So this year let’s try to ignore the messages telling us that unless we’re sitting around a log fire with our family we’ve somehow failed.

Let’s try to listen and to talk. Let’s reach out and hold on.

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5 Responses to this article

  1. I have suffered depression on and off all my life. Its an absolute bastard! But the WORST POSSIBLE time of the year for me is ALWAYS Christmas. I would gladly BAN Christmas if it was up to me! Perhaps not, my 10yr old daughter would never forgive me. Why do I find Christmas so difficult? Bcos it takes me back to a time in my life where I once knew JOY and all about happiness. Our house was so full of laughter, people, music, parties, fun and most of all care free security with mum and dad. Where are they now? Why hasen’t my life turned out the same? Why have’nt I got friends and family comming to visit? What happened to all the happy times spent round at the pub with dad and all his friends? Why don’t I have many friends? Am I really such a dick head that everyone hates me? The irony here is I have NEVER been alone at Christmas. I have a wonderfull wife and beautiful daughter who love me dearly. My Mum always comes to our house on Christmas day for dinner. So just how is it possible to FEEL so totally alone in the world , and especially at Christmas and yet not actually BE alone ?? Depression- thats how. The fact that everyone else SEEMS to be having just one big party and such a good time is so Depressing. Just where exactly did I go wrong in life? I do not know and probably never will. Some might think I should just ” count my blessings” and get on with life- I spend my whole life counting my blessings but it somehow just does’nt stop the pain . But I guess thats depression for you. If it totally gets the better of me and I decide to commit suicide- i’ll do it on a Christmas day!!

    scabycat 9th September 2011 at 1:46 pm
  2. I really hope you haven’t done that. You sound just like me, I hope you’re feeling better. I’d like to help, to talk to you, to understand and share some of my experiences with you? It is normal to feel this way. I have been in a nightclub full of people and never felt more alone. I travelled the world in search of experiences that would make me happy, but have many memories of feeling lost and alone overseas. Count your blessings, but understand you are a blessing to those in your life, they don’t want or deserve to live without you. There is hope, there is help, there are ways forward. Be brave. Hold out your hand, you’ll find somebody waiting to help you.

    Simon Holland 29th November 2011 at 6:33 am
  3. Hi scabycat, Christmas is a difficult time if you feel sad, and it is even more complicated when you feel you “have” to put a mask on your face and pretend everything is fine to friends and family. One thing is sure, you are not alone and you don’t have to put up with this struggle alone. Many like you feel very bad to the point of thinking about suicide too but find help . Are you thinking about suicide? Then, ask for help. Say it clearly to the person you talk to: I am thinking of killing myself and I need help. I know you may have said this in different ways to many people around and they may seem either stupid, or insensitive. Forgive them. They’re just not the right people to talk to, they are afraid or just haven’t got a clue what to say. Find someone else who is really there for you or call someone like the Samaritans in the UK or google it to find help in your country. I know you have reasons for dying and reasons for living. I hope you find you way through this time and choose life.

    Edison Astudillo 20th December 2011 at 9:38 pm
  4. You should try really being alone, I was raised in and out of care and my real parents were Jehovah’s wittness so NO x-mas, No birthdays, No real friends growing up so dont have any old friendships and find it very hard to make new friendships, I know people but when you tell people that you have problems they dont really want to know, I have tryed the doctors, I was signed off on the sick …. that was now a long time ago and still no help, I have tryed many things and been on a few waiting lists for help, I have EVEN been into the doc’s and told him that if I did not get help right away I would go home and top myself…… a week later I was refered to the mentle health team, 3 months later I had my first appointment, but I missed my 3rd appointment because I was having a “bad” week few day’s later I got a letter telling me that I had been dropped because there were only a limited number of space’s for counciling, With all that I have been though and what I have seen others go though I am surprized that the number is not higher …….. I wonder how many are missed …… by that I recorded as accidental death’s, because that is how I would do it, my car high speed into a motorway bridge at night!!

    john doe 4th January 2012 at 10:52 pm
  5. To Simon,Edison and John- Thanks for ur concern and good wishes. Alas, I feel quite ashamed of writing that article and I will explain why- I wrote it after I had stopped taking my medication!! I went on anti depressants in 1993 and I was 1 of those lucky people who they worked for. After being on Prozac for about six weeks it really felt like a miracle cure and also made me realise just how ill I had actually been for such a long time. What followed has become a pattern for almost 20 yrs. I feel actually better than well whilst on prozac and I become totally convinced that I have beaten the depression for good and start to wind down on the prozac ( don’t forget there r side effects with prozac so theres always a price to pay for feeling well) I then come off prozac completely and am convinced I will never need them again. When I wrote that article I had been off medication for about 18months. Then what happens is the grim reaper ( my name for depression) creaps up on me very slowly and without me understanding that it has come back. My whole thought patterns then change completely to such an extent that I might as well be a different person entirely. Christmas is and has always been a difficult time for me but now I am back on prozac I can hardly recognise the article I wrote. Also I have joined a mental health support group who are superb and started making friends that I previously never had. I hope u 3 find health and happiness asap and would be quite willing to keep up the correspondence. Thanks once again

    scabycat 4th February 2012 at 8:10 pm

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