At the end of last December, after an awesome night out with my sister and cousins in Leeds, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a sledgehammer. But this wasn’t a standard hangover, after tons of beer and whiskey. After a couple of lateral flow tests and a PCR test, my suspicions were confirmed – I’d finally caught the bloody Covid.
I holed myself away at home and spent my Christmas in isolation, with nothing but a warm duvet on the sofa, some Christmas movies, and a bunch of snacks to keep me company. And for the first few days I seemed to be handling it well.
Until Christmas Day came.
A couple of months ago I couldn’t wait for Christmas. The plan was to spend the happy day with my family, then head over to my wonderful girlfriend’s house and relax with food, drinks and merriment. It was going to be perfect.
Now I was all alone, my family having Christmas without me, and having recently split from my girlfriend. I felt so utterly lonely, broken, and so sad. It was the first time in my life I felt something akin to depression, only ever so slightly lifted by the Christmas Dinner sent over by my sister.
I’d never felt so completely down.
The perfect festive day I’d hoped for ended up being my saddest ever.
Fast forward to now, and thankfully that feeling is a distant memory. I have pure peace and warmth in my heart, the hopeful light returned in my soul, and I’m back to my happy optimistic self, bursting with pure wonder, determination, and excitement for the year ahead.
Gratefully I couldn’t be in a more opposite place.
But I do understand it’s not the same for everyone.
As the tides of Covid are gently receding (at least in the UK – we’re more focused on our leader throwing various parties when he shouldn’t have!), the effects of the past two years are coming to the surface. Being confined and away from loved ones for months on end, being able to finally mourn those lives lost, businesses and jobs devastated, crippling debt, and dealing with the realisation that the cost of living is set to sky rocket, has had a huge impact on the well-being and mental health of so many.
Every day I’m hearing of more and more people taking their own lives, and of people struggling so much.
Mental illness has replaced Covid as the new pandemic.
It’s breaking my heart every time I hear of another person feeling they had no way out.
This is why we should check on each other, keep communication open, and make sure nobody is suffering in silence. Keep an eye on your family and friends, and let them know you’re always there for them. You have no ideas how much a quick call, a brew, a hug, even a text message can lift spirits.
And if you yourself are struggling, please do not do it alone. Please reach out – that first extended hand is all it takes to start the path to healing. Do not suffer alone. Whatever the issue is, it can be fixed. It can’t rain forever. The dawn must always follow night, and help is always, ALWAYS available.
The world may feel scary and hopeless at times, and it may seem like nobody cares, or even acknowledges you. But love and kindness are all around, and all is takes is to ask. There’s no shame in realising you’re not doing well, nor is there shame in asking for help. To feel the full gamut of emotions is human nature, and everyone goes through hardship at some point.
Be kind to each other.
Be kind to yourself.
Together we can welcome the dawn of hope, and awaken to a happier, more prosperous world.
Much, much love to all my family and friends.
You all mean the world to me.
Tel: 116 123