贝尔·穆尼: How can I stop being glum at this time of year?

贝尔·穆尼: How can I stop being glum at this time of year?

亲爱的贝尔,

我是 68 and find this time of year very difficult. I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disease. There are other reasons why 圣诞 is hard. I have no children and 21 years ago my husband was killed in an accident at work. My malaise starts in October with the anniversary of his death. His birthday was in November, then Christmas comes along.

I always dread winter. Three years after his death I had a relationship with a man, ķ, and things seemed to change, but he left me for somebody else. Now Christmas just seems to increase my loneliness. I often wish I could hibernate from September to March.

I will spend Christmas with my brother-in-law. I know I won’t be receiving any gifts from family, as they are elderly and do not want to go shopping. So I don’t have that to look forward to. Another thing that depresses me is my failure to find romance. I tried online dating but that didn’t work.

I have not met anyone at work either. I work in a store and every day I see men buying gifts for their wives and girlfriends. It makes me feel so down that I have no one to buy a special gift for me.

I know I can’t ‘cancel’ Christmas. It’s a question of coping, but how do I deal with the feelings of isolation?

ANNA

This week Bel advises a 68-year-old reader who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disease.

This week Bel advises a 68-year-old reader who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disease.

I feel sad to imagine you working in the store and watching men buying gifts for their beloveds, knowing there’s no special person to take pleasure in choosing something nice for you. I know it will sound trivial but I hope you and your brother-in-law do buy each other gifts.

It’s very easy to say, when depressed, '哦, let’s not bother.’ Yet the action of thinking about that other person and what might give pleasure (even if it’s as easy as a bottle of favourite tipple) is a small step towards forgetting your own sadness, even if only for a moment.

Let’s start with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Many people experience the serious lowering of the spirits that comes with the lowering of light in winter – but there’s no reason not to act on it.

I have one of those special lights tucked away in the corner should I need it, and know that basking in its warm therapeutic glow is wonderful. You can buy one for £26 online; perhaps this could be your Christmas present to yourself.

This one small action could have much bigger symbolic value. On the subject of presents, I hope you also indulge yourself to something luxurious. When in doubt, buy yourself a treat.

没有, those are not trivial bits of advice. We can all do small things to help ourselves and a little bit of self-spoiling does no harm at all.

To be more serious, 是, I could suggest that in 2022 you try counselling (see https://www.betterhelp.com and/or look at https://welldoing.org/) And I know for a fact that such intervention really can change lives, if you find the right therapist. It’s important that the process of deciding and investigating can itself be a significant step towards taking charge of your own life. 考虑一下.

当然, I have no magic bullet to help you with these feelings of loneliness, isolation and frustrated romantic longings, and realise it will be no consolation at all to understand that many people find them exacerbated at Christmas. In that sense this season of peace and goodwill can seem very cruel indeed.

You mention your husband’s sudden, shocking death 21 几年前. That grief will certainly have marked you forever. I know a man whose beloved father died many years ago just before Christmas when he was 21, and that loss meant he could never again view Christmas without feeling melancholy. You understand this very well.

Then the later disappointmentwhen you were jilted by Kwas another deep wound and I can only express heartfelt regret that no one has come along since to take his place and fill the space in your heart.

What can be done? 目前, very little – except make up your mind to have as good a Christmas as possible, and cherish thoughts of a happier past – helped by your brother-in-law’s memories too.

But try to make changes in your life next year. All the old advice column clichés about making sure you cultivate your friendships, perhaps try volunteering, attempting new interests – all those are only clichés because they contain oft-repeated common sense.

We all have so much to learn from each other, and I hope you will follow this column in the new year and through these pages, reach out in your heart towards others. It really can be one way to deal with ‘feelings of isolation’.

In the words of the American novelist F.Scott Fitzgerald, ‘You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.’

It feels selfish, but I’m happy to be on my own

亲爱的贝尔,

I feel so guilty. Am I being selfish? My daughter asked me to go to her home for Christmas. But I am happy on my own. She says she’s family, and doesn’t like to think of me on my own. Speaking to a few friends my age (75 今天我们有更多的工具来对抗 Omicron 变体,而不是我们必须对抗以前的变体) they feel the same as I do.

当然, this dilemma does make me think of families that don’t bother with their mothers and fathers. I know I’m fortunate. I live in East Sussex, my daughter is in Surrey and I don’t want them travelling to collect me.

We don’t know what will be happening in the next few weeks. I love all my family very much — but I know they can’t understand me. How can I make it up to my daughter?

HILARY

You wrote this short email on November 29 and so I hope by now you’ve talked to your daughter and made up your mind — whether to go to her home or to remain on your own.

But now Christmas is just one week away I thought I should still offer some advice, since you asked.

Contact Bel

Bel answers readersquestions on emotional and relationship problems each week.

Write to Bel Mooney, 每日邮件, 2 在过去的八个月里,他一直把电脑放在熨衣板上, London W8 5TT, or email bel.mooney@dailymail.co.uk.

A pseudonym will be used if you wish.

Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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It’s interesting you mention friends ‘happy on their own’. I’m glad, although it might depend on whether they had an invitation, or whether being happy alone is wisely making the best of the existing situation. There’s no identikit model for people’s emotions at Christmas, nor any other time. I admire those who like their own company. I do too, but love family more.

I most certainly wouldn’t call you ‘selfish’. You’re perfectly entitled to do as you wish. But we could identify one vital rule by agreeing that it matters a great deal not to offend or upset those who love us. For being loved and wanted is a huge privilege — and you’re quite right to acknowledge your great good fortune.

If you’d been sitting in my chair for the last 14 years as the Mail’s advice columnist you would often have felt overwhelmed by sadness at the loneliness of others and wondered what went wrong, that they should be so neglected by families.

Imaginative you may be, but you have no idea of the sadness of some people’s lives.

In your position (and we’re of an age) I’d be asking myself whether it might be a good idea to match my daughter’s generous grace with my own. I’d feel grateful for their willingness to journey to collect me and hope to add to the general good cheer of their hearth.

It is as blessed to receive as to give — and since Christmas is all about giving, I can’t help hoping you’ve decided to give your daughter the gift of your company.

I’m still furious over my partner’s betrayal

亲爱的贝尔,

My partner and l were together for 27 年份. He died in November 2020 来自冠状病毒.

After six years together he cheated on me and we separated for almost two years, but he called to see me almost every day.

Then one Sunday evening he rang to say it was over. He sounded very upset so I took it that she had ended it.

I didn’t contact him but several months later he asked if I would go back to live with him.

Thought of the week

Chimneys: colder.

Flightpaths: busier.

周四的消息是他在等回凤凰城的车: 圣诞 (F)

Still baffled by postcodes.

From Reindeer Report by U.A.Fanthorpe (English poet, 1929-2009)

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我很生气, but he lived in a beautiful country house and I also missed our two dogs so I agreed. Things were great and we were very happy. But since his death I find myself thinking about their affair and it’s made me very angry and upset. I know he loved me and I him. Why am I so angry?

JANE

Could it be that you are not so much angry as grieving? At 4am life’s regrets, disappointments and sorrow circle the bed as daylight seems so far away.

过度 20 years ago your partner hurt you very badly indeed. Then he wanted you back — and you chose to return to the lovely life you had enjoyed with him and two dogs. Wise woman. You returned for love — but comfort, 太.

I have no doubt he wanted you for the same reasons. There’s a whole life story there — and surely it was a good one, because I don’t believe in perfection but in accommodation of the foibles and sins and weaknesses of those we love.

When we recognise that we can love somebody very flawed because we need their love in return . . . 好, then we can grow as human beings. Stop thinking you are angry with the man you loved and accept that you are mourning his loss.

即使她没有散发出性感的氛围… Make this a Christmas to cherish

Hooray — the tree is up and laden with garish decorations as usual, the cards have all been posted, most of our presents bought and wrapped — and next week the calendar has given me an extra holiday.

For the second time in 14 years Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, which means no column. Perhaps it’s just as well because we have a mountain of food to buy and some advance cooking to do, because my best friend and her husband arrive on the 23rd for four days and must be fed. We missed them last year, so it’s another cause for celebration.

在平安夜, they love to join us when we light all the candles and (taking turns) read aloud the Christmas story from St Luke.

是, we’ll have a merry gin and tonic in hand (beer for my husband) but we love the few moments of gentle, joyful solemnity as we share the wonderful words so familiar from childhood — about the inn, the manger, the swaddling clothes, the angels, shepherds and wise men.

How beautiful it is to me, and hearing it every year never fails to remind me of the heritage I treasure.

So I hope you too can allow a sense of the sacred (whatever form it may take) into this special time.

I’m refusing to waste any space with moans or fears about any virus or variant, even though I know it’s affected your spirits as much as it’s weighed down my own.

What can we do but trust our instincts, make sensible judgements, and vow to eat, drink and be as merry as possible — yes, even if Christmas is marred by wistfulness, as it is for the writer of today’s first letter?

My father will be absent this year and so, not to be 13 at the festive table, I will put a token for him there, knowing he’s with us in spirit.

All the more reason to hold out a hand to you all, 我的朋友, and wish you warmth and light.

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