Autumn has always been my favourite part of the year. I love the way the leaves on the trees all change colour and eventually fall to the ground, the darker evenings that make you glad to be tucked up safely inside and the cooler temperatures and variable weather that signify the change in season. If I think back to my younger days the Autumn always meant that Christmas was just around the corner and I could begin to get excited for the rapidly approaching festive season. In more recent times I guess it’s become a season that I’ve tried to fall in love with again. Be it the whole rigmarole of purchasing gifts for everyone, the yearly ritual of decorating the tree or the inevitable few weeks of watching mostly terrible television with copious amounts of booze and chocolates to hand. I suppose you could say that the festive season has become more of a chore these past few years and something that I observe more out of habit than actual want.
I think a lot of that lack of interest in seasonal events can be linked to my own personal circumstances. I’m not currently working. Primarily because I’ve been advised not to by my GP and the DWP themselves but also because I know that I need to avoid such environments to protect my own state of mind. Subsequently because I’m not working I’m spending a Hell of a lot of time at home. Yes I try and take myself out and about as and when I feel comfortable doing so but that’s usually just for a walk around the block to get a bit of fresh air in my lungs. That or I drive to Tesco and do a food shop. I try to avoid doing that on my own though. Too many annoying people in there you see and it’s generally best if I avoid large crowds of people to keep me calm and level.
So because I’m spending most days at home I’m struggling to get excited at the prospect of even more time sat in the house looking at the same few walls. Albeit with a bottle of something deliciously alcoholic and a tub of chocolates to help ease the monotony.
I know that many of you reading this will be wondering why I don’t just get up off of my sorrowful arse and put myself out there. And yes I agree that would seem to be the obvious remedy for my increasing levels of boredom and frustration. If only it were that simple.
One of the biggest symptoms of my mental illness is a complete lack of motivation. I don’t have any. Most of the time I can barely motivate myself to get up and get dressed. So to expect anything else from me such as holding down a regular job or going out socialising is just never likely to happen. Not how things are at the moment anyway.
I suppose you could say that I’ve become a bit too comfortable with my situation and that by continuing with my current pattern of living is detrimental to my supposed recovery. You may be right. But in my defence I did try returning to work twice this year and both attempts ended in failure. I’m just not strong enough to handle the pressures and stresses of the office and of dealing with people in a professional capacity. I’m repeatedly told that I need to concentrate on looking after myself and being kind to myself. But I find that so hard to do because in the back of my mind I’m forever thinking that I “Should” be doing something else or I “Ought” to be doing anything other than practising self care.
That inner-pressure is magnified at this time of year as well. Endless commercials on TV try to paint the ideal picture of the festive season, forcing an unrealistic image of what we ought to be doing or how we should be behaving upon us. Yet the reality is that most of us don’t enjoy the idealistic vision of Christmas that the big corporations seem to think we do. For those of us that spend our days struggling with low mood and low self-esteem there’s nothing worse than being repeatedly told that we have to be full of the joys of the season and permanently happy being surrounded by people and forced excess.
I don’t want to come across as being a complete Scrooge here. In the past I’ve positively relished the thought of the festive season and everything that comes with it. But how things stand at the moment the thought of festivities just leaves me cold and numb.