Christmas is the hardest time of year

Tara is one of many who struggle with their mental health during Christmas. For Tara, she feels lonely and isolated during the festive season due to society’s expectations that she should enjoy herself and be happy, despite everything she has been through.

Trigger warning: this article mentions death and bereavement


Tara’s journey has been one of sudden loss. She says, “I lost my cousin who was 3 months old in September 2018, my friend (who was only 34) out of the blue in November 2018, and my Papa on Christmas Eve that year. I already struggled with my mental health and struggled to always be happy during the festive season, but 2018 had a huge effect on me.”

Now, a few months before Christmas, Tara is hit with overwhelming feelings of sadness and finds she starts to cry out of the blue. This has started happening even earlier over the past few years, she says, since people typically start talking about Christmas as early as August.

While Christmas is seen as such a joyous season, Tara can’t help but think of the people she lost and how they should still be here. This grief means she struggles to be happy and get excited about the season. And, when people expect her to love Christmas and don’t understand why she doesn’t, this puts pressure on her to pretend she is OK.

“I would rather Christmas didn’t happen. I find it the hardest time of year to deal with, not the happiest.

I think there needs to be more done to educate people that Christmas is not always a wonderful time of year. I don’t think we should make it miserable, but I do think there needs to be a different side shown to Christmas.”

– Tara

Tara often feels lonely and isolated at Christmas, even around other people, because she feels the need to hide how she really feels. She wants to stay at home, but when she feels pressured to pretend everything is OK and take part in festive events such as shopping, she wishes she wasn’t there. Despite this, she tries not to spend too much time alone as this can make her ruminate on those who have passed away.

“In fact,” she says, “I try not to think about them as it just sparks my sadness.”

For Tara, a little understanding and support from people who have been there could go a long way. That’s why she uses our Clic platform, our online support community for anyone who may be experiencing difficulties with their mental health. It’s a place to seek advice, talk to others, and find support.

We need your help to ensure Clic remains open to support as many people as possible this Christmas and beyond.

If you feel moved by Tara’s story, please consider
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like her by donating to our Christmas appeal.

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Please note: Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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