KINDNESS AT CHRISTMAS

itsawonderfulline

Last week the world lost one of my best and oldest friends, and an angel got their wings. There is no doubt about the fact that my friend embodied kindness. I wanted to put together a post about the importance of kindness and how it impacts mental health. At this time of year, there will be people around you who are struggling. Christmas can be both the best and the worst day of the year, depending on who you ask.

Lynne was the same age as me and has been one of my best friends for over two decades. She has seen me grow and evolve since school, and always offered a kind word or a listening ear through my own mental health struggles over the years. She was always there and I didn’t appreciate her enough. Tomorrow I have to say bye to her, and I can’t believe she is gone. To attend the funeral of one of your school friends, at this age, really hits you in the face with your own mortality. Lynne was meant to be getting married next year, and I was doing a reading at the wedding. The pain I feel for her fiancé literally breaks my heart. Seeing him tomorrow and even trying to imagine what he is going through will be the hardest thing of all.

glasgow central station christmas tree

glasgow central christmas tree

Yesterday, I was standing at the train station – Glasgow Central – and I was looking at the swarms of people around me. It struck me that so many of these people are in real pain and are struggling with their mental health, like I was last Christmas. Reach out to friends, neighbours and colleagues you know are lonely or who are finding life difficult right now. Even just a message to say that you are thinking of them and that you understand how difficult Christmas is for them, will make a difference.

itsawonderfulline

itsawonderfulline

Also at the station (on platforms 1 and 2), I noticed that the script of It’s a a Wonderful Life has been stencilled onto the platform as part of a mental health awareness campaign between Virgin Trains and Rethink Mental Illness. 9 other stations across the UK have done it too, and you can read more about the initiative here. A few words struck me in particular – ‘Every time a bell rings, and angel gets his wings’. Lynne spent so much of her spare time volunteering and doing charity work to help vulnerable people in her community. There is no doubt that last week, Lynne got her wings.

The Samaritans
116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)

Refuge
0808 2000 247

Cruse Bereavement Care
0808 808 1677

Childline
0800 11 11

The Silver Line
0800 4 70 80 90

Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
0300 330 0630

SANEline
0300 304 7000