Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas is a lonely time for many people. Unlike any other time of the year the world seems to stop spinning and everything comes to a halt. In this country at least, this includes mental health services. This is just too much to cope with for some people; just knowing that no one is there for them if they need someone can cause an increase in anxiety. (See this news article)

Traditionally, it is a time for family and friends to come together. But some people don’t have any family. Many will be remembering lost loved ones. Elderly ones in particular may have lost their friends. Sick ones may struggle to form lasting friendships. For them, knowing that others are enjoying the company of people they love and who love them can make them feel more isolated than ever.

For some people, going to the shops each day provides the human contact that everyone needs. But the shops are closed. I know mental health patients who wander around town all day, preferring the company of strangers than no company at all. How will it be for those ones when the town centre is completely deserted? When there is no one on that bench to chat to; no playing children to laugh at; no struggling mothers to joke with?

Tomorrow people may be writing a list of all their final arrangements, or their last minute shopping needs. Why not write a list of people who you know live alone? Maybe they’re elderly ones; maybe they have an illness of one kind or another. Maybe give them a ring just to show that they’re not forgotten. Maybe pop round for a cuppa and take them a slice of cake. At the very least you may just make someones day. Or you could even save a life. Maybe.


Anonymous said...

MrMansWife, Quite outstanding post, the best I have read for some time. In fact, it shouldn`t be a post it should be the editorial in today`s national newspapers.

Remarkably enough, for the first time in my life I am home alone this Christmas. Mrs OSB is visiting her mother stateside. I am working long hours right through Christmas so don`t have time to deposit myself on friends ( don`t be feeling sory for me, I`ve got New year with the rest of my family ). Even though I`m only having a tiny taste of what you so eloquently describe it is quite dire. Actually, I even contemplated writing a quick post on the topic myself. Glad I didn`t as mine would have looked quite feeble in comparison to yours. And of course you`re so right about how a simple intervention can make such a difference. We HCP`s miss the point all the time by trying to be smartarsed before we`ve tried the simple things.

Final point, do you we mind if we reproduce it. It is something that deserves to go right round the internet.

Nice one


Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you OSB. I hope you haven't waited for my reply before reproducing it. Please go ahead.

Anonymous said...

No, thank you. It`s up courtesy of the techno gifted Malcolm R. I do hope others reproduce it too and more importantly act upon it.

Thanks again,


Mr Mans Wife said...

It all seems a bit out of date already, but I suppose the same principles apply over New Year.

slurry from surrey said...

Hope everyone had a good xmas, and what a great post MrMansWife saw it on here and on mental nurse.
This was a very good Xmas for me, My first one not in hosp for 5 years and at 24 thats alot of xmases in hospital. your post struck a chord with me coz I know lots of people on there own at xmas, and allways know i would rather be in hospital at xmas than on my own, sad but true, and i made sure that those of us who would normally be alone this xmas were togther and we had such a good time. Hope all is well.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Slurry.

No, wanting to be in hospital rather than alone is not sad at all. I think there is a great sense of community on a psychiatric ward. Patients seem to have a bond with each other rarely seen in todays society, except perhaps in the forces. They really look out for each other, and show genuine concern. In fact I was shocked by "patients" showing more concern for my welfare than the nurses!

I'm really glad that you had such a nice time with your friends and that your plans were a success.