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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Christmas Is Changed

It has been different.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas, whatever you’ve done, who you’ve spent it with.

This Christmas has felt very different, and for a few different reasons. Initially; Greta’s made me more aware of our planet’s waste and the responsibility to not buy needlessly. Our elections have made me realise how privileged many of us are, and how many of us don’t realise it.

These two things have impacted me much lesser than the third (below), but they have had an impact and changed how I saw Christmas this year.

[TW: Post includes mention of suicidal thoughts]


This year has been different. In short, it’s not been as bad. Heck, I’d even say it’s been nice.

The now traditional Christmas morning visit to the beach was much shorter. While it was flipping cold, it was more a case of just wanting brief reflection, rather than life consideration.

In the few days before Christmas I’d told Laura that my first Christmas Day trip to the beach was one I’d made while constantly considering walking into the sea. It was a low point for my depression and one I feel, for me personally, it’s been important to reflect on.

That day I decided that things may change and that I was willing to fight on a little longer. That first year the choice was one that took over 5 hours to make. Each year I reflect on that decision and take pride in the fact that each year it takes me a little less time to decide to continue to live.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think many don’t make this decision, they just exist. I know I did before my depression. For me, I now need this decision. I need to know, I’ve chosen to continue, I’ve chosen live.

Each year, I think it’s taken less time, each year it’s an easier decision, each year I’ve found more to be thankful for and hopeful for.

This year it was different. I still went to the beach early, but I had a companion.

Having someone accept and respect my need for reflection and the importance/ symbolism of being at the (fairly cold) beach meant/ means so much. That acceptance itself (from Laura) meant I needed the beach less.

While I/ we were there I wasn’t thinking ‘do I want to be alive’ I was thinking ‘I want to be at home, cuddling my Laura’.

I think my need for reflection will remain and is still important to have. Yet, right now I have other coping strategies and support. And I have someone who accepts me and my dark fog.

The rest of the day seemed... easier, less of a strain and less difficult to navigate. While I want to take credit and say I did it myself, I’m reliant on no one. The truth is, I started my journey alone, but now I have a co-captain who knows what’s it’s like to struggle, and supports me in a way I could never have expected or hoped for.

As much as I don’t want to rely on, need, or have someone to lose; Laura has brought so much love and support into my life.

This Christmas felt like the end of a chapter for me. I’m still in the same book, I’ll still have my struggles; But my story is changing. As I start this next chapter, and we begin 2020, I find myself with more hope and happiness than I have experienced before. I feel better prepared and equipped to navigate the waves of depression, sadness and sorrow; because I have my co-captain of happiness and cuddles.

Thank you Laura for being slightly more reserved with the Christmas decorations this year.

Also for letting me sleep/ rest most of Boxing Day (it’s still emotionally draining, plus... all the food makes me tired).

I am actually looking forward to Christmas 2020, and that new chapter.


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