The gift of ‘hope’ | Rebecca Jane column

I believe this is the first in five years where I have actually enjoyed the Christmas period.
Rebecca JaneRebecca Jane
Rebecca Jane

For many years I have found it horrific. Old trauma gets brought back up, perfection is never actually obtained and the pressure to make things wonderful for everyone has been too much to handle.

Last Christmas I wasn’t in the best place. I slept as much as I could, dying for every day to be over and a new one to begin - just to get back to some normality and forget this thing we call ‘Christmas’.

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Every year I go into the season ready for depression and anxiety to hit, trying to keep faith in the idea that it will soon be over. This year, the cloud of doom just didn’t happen.

My life is in a very different place to 12 months ago, and despite the fact it wasn’t the easiest, I only saw the positives that had come out of it.

I embraced time off work, which I’ve never done before. The thought of having a week off was awful, all that time to be still, with your own thoughts and emotions? No thanks… it turned out, this year, I had no real emotions I needed to run from. I actually loved having the time off, I was genuinely present for the first time in years with my family and friends.

It sounds easy and cliche, but truly I reframed my thoughts! I didn’t look at the bad things that had happened, I looked at what I learnt. Well, I had no choice really because Lucian, the ‘Head of my clinical services’ for our mental health company made me!

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On our final day of work in 2021, I called for us all to have the ‘day off’, but together - setting our agenda for the next year. I wanted us to go into the new year with a blueprint of how we were going to achieve some rather large targets and make memories along the way.

Lucian was having none of it, until I addressed what any good therapist would want me to address…

‘But what did we learn from last year RJ?!’

I found it hard. I was the only one who really struggled to answer the question. I purposely had to sit, in silence and truly think! After a while it came to me, and is a question I’ve been asking myself the whole time I’ve been off this Christmas.

In 2021, I learned to love again, and trust. (Side note. This one is still a work in progress!).

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Over the years I’ve been through enough that would stop anyone from loving or trusting every again, but I learnt how you do it.

Someone who had been exceptionally close to me once said ‘you just do, because you have to’. I didn’t realise, but that’s exactly what I did.

People are good, you have to throw yourself wholeheartedly into loving and trusting people, until they let you down, because otherwise, who wants a life sad, angry and alone forever?

People turned up for me when I didn’t expect it. I was shown incredible loyalty and how amazing people can be. I don’t need to survive alone because people are there to truly love, care and support you, even if they’re behind the scenes.

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I reframed my mindset, I chose to only see the good and look at myself for what lessons I can learn from my own poor behaviour.

As a result of that, I have hope. For the first year in goodness knows how many. Hope that life will be what I make it, bad things will happen, but we come out stronger and hopefully, evolved.

For anyone who has hated this Christmas, for whatever reason, I hear you. I honestly hope that you have a shred of courage left to believe that one day, they may not all be the same.

The second lesson I told Lucian I REALLY learnt…

‘Absolutely anything can happen…’

Which is completely true. Not just negative things, but incredible, amazing and wonderful things are on the way for every single person. You just have to have enough hope left to realise that life can change, for the better at any moment.

Thank you for staying with my rants, ramblings and sometimes intellectual points over this last year. I wish you all a very wonderful and inspiring 2022.