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First off, Merry Christmas everyone.

Secondly, for anyone (like me) who finds the festive period quite challenging at times, well done for making it through so far!

I don’t know about anyone else, but this time of year can unleash a whole array of feelings. Just like the size 0 celebrity culture can lead to problems with self-esteem and body image, I find that the inundation of Christmas movies, adverts and Facebook photos can exasperate the feelings of loneliness or sadness in people without the picture perfect extended family get-together. The same thing goes for New Years’ Eve. That’s the holiday I’m struggling with even more so this year, because of my fatigue and isolation I sometimes feel living in a town that I don’t feel connected to.

This time of year has always been a difficult one. Due to illness and disability that exists in the family, Christmas has never been ‘normal’ or how it would be for many others. Most of the time, that’s ok, you accept that things are just the way they are, and whilst it’s difficult and unfair, life has to go on. But at Christmas, I can’t help but compare things to the stories I hear from friends and acquaintances.

“How was Christmas?” “It was such a laugh, my sister, brother, niece, nephew, great grandparents etc etc were there… we played board games for 6 whole hours… there was singing, a house that felt alive and buzzing etc”.

Now don’t get me wrong at all, Christmas is a lot easier than it used to be. As an adult, I don’t feel quite so sad about the fact I’ve never spent a Christmas with other children to play with. For many other reasons, this Christmas has actually been quite a good one, as history dictates. But despite this, I think the association with how things were in the past, a lot of strange feelings are brought to the surface. Not to mention the anxiety when meeting with relatives or family friends who I haven’t seen for a while. Although I come across as quite confident, I don’t particularly like talking about myself and find the holiday season quite overwhelming at times. I’ve never been away for Christmas as my family circle is tiny so I find my sanctuary in my bedroom or seek solace in the outside world by taking a walk.

As the New Year approaches, I am starting to feel sad about the fact that I’m not doing anything “big” on December 31st. Because I’m young, easy to chat to, with friends in different places, I’m often asked that question: “So what are you doing for New Years’ Eve?”. I spent the turn of 2011 and 2012 in exciting places with friends, but the past year has been more difficult health-wise so I’ve stayed at home.

However, I’m trying to look past the New Year pressure and feel hopeful for 2015. I also have to remind myself that beyond my town, are a lot of people who are also finding this time of year very difficult. I think this is largely why I’ve written this post…just to reach out to anyone else, particularly those in their 20s, who may also be struggling at the moment. You’re not alone and remember, there are many of us whose #Christmas and #NewYear Tweets would present a more challenging portrayal of this holiday season; it’s just that they are often kept private.