Why spending Christmas with my family means so much to me

I never really liked the Christmas period. Noisy, messy, too many routine changes and bright lights everywhere. I have always loved the day itself though. That’s why, when I was put into residential care aged 21, Christmas became a time of sadness, a time to remember what I didn’t have.

I got put into care because of my severe challenging behaviour. After years of trying, and failing, to get support in the home put in place, my Mum and Step-Dad had no choice but to get me admitted to a psychiatric unit from where I was taken to what was my home for four years.

But wow how things can change in 6 years!

With CBT, medication and learning to accept myself for who I was, I slowly started to come back. The less angry me, the me with a sense of humour. I stopped suffering from rage attacks caused by my mental illnesses, Tourette syndrome and autism and learnt how to cope with my emotions. I have now been living alone in a flat with support every day for over a year and it’s great.

But then Christmas came around again and I worried. I have only spent one Christmas at my Mum’s house since I was 21 and despite it going well, I worried that it wasn’t enough. Eventually, I asked. ‘Mum, what are we doing this Christmas? Am I coming over to yours?’

She said yes!

Although Christmas is still a difficult time for me on the whole, I am so happy that I can go home this year and join in the celebrations, even if it means spending a few days with an ‘sensory overload hangover’. The best gift this year is knowing that my Mum has forgiven me for the bad things I did. That and the printer/scanner.

I told you I had a sense of humour!

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A previous Christmas at home
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