When Christmas is NOT the most wonderful time of the year …

I’m looking forward to our first Christmas in Tulsk; and while the happy mood in our house will be reflected in homes across County Roscommon, I’m mindful that while the whole feelgood festive season will be a wonderful time for the majority of  families; what with Santa’s visit, the endless present buying, the rich food, the parties and the  catching up with the gang, I would ask readers to remember that sadly, for many this week, this season of goodwill, will prove to be one of excruciating torture.

  Yes folks, rather than experiencing tidings of comfort and joy there will be someone reading this column, members of our very own communities spread right across the county, who may be facing feelings of enormous stress, pain and sadness – and my heart goes out to them.

  So for anyone who may be dreading this week, who are existing in their own private purgatory and wondering how they’re ever going to get through it; please know there is help out there and it starts right here at your local, community newspaper, The Roscommon People; because, if I may, (and I’m no expert, nor do I have a magic wand), but I’d like to try and offer what I hope is a small bit of  guidance regarding getting that help, and remaining resilient.

  We all have off days, times when we’re feeling immense sadness, however if you’re experiencing intense feelings of hopelessness or anxiousness or having negative thoughts that just refuse to go away, please, please talk to someone; a family member, a friend, a neighbour, your doctor or a helpline. The Samaritans operate a free 24/7 hotline on 116 123; or if you feel you can’t talk, an email to jo@samaritans.org is another option open to you.

  We’re all familiar with the mood-enhancing benefits of a vodka or three, and while alcohol is often used by many of us, (myself included) as a socially acceptable form of supplementing the Christmas cheer, the fact is, for those who’re vulnerable, alcohol and depression are what I call the deadly duo, and when mixed in large doses, can exacerbate problems. If you need support, contact Aware on Ph: 1800 80 48 48, Mon-Sun 10 am-10 pm. If you’re worried about a loved one and want advice, email supportmail@aware.ie.

  An older population and the modern ways in which we connect with others, i.e. social media, is resulting in more people, especially seniors, becoming lonely; and we’ve all gone through periods of feeling discarded or isolated and I can tell you from my own experience; this can become more obvious and more chronic at Christmas. In addition we mustn’t forget those whose relationships have broken down, meaning they’re possibly facing a Christmas without their kids waking up to see what Santa’s delivered. So please, if you’re struggling with loneliness in any shape or form, contact either of these organisations, the Unmarried and Separated Parents of Ireland, www.uspi.ie who, according to their site, operate a daily helpline on  087-6456639, 087-3632612 or 087-9905491.

  ALONE can be contacted on Ph: 01 679 1032 or if you’ve access to email, it’s enquiries@alone.ie.  I would urge readers to look out for each other and, if you spot a vulnerability in someone within your community, please offer your help.

  We all know that domestic abuse and violence, though present all year round, tends to spike through the roof at Christmas, with many women and children (and men) fearing the festive season. Finances are tight and booze is on tap, and although cruel, calculating and manipulative abusers don’t need a reason to lash out, the combination can be deadly and I can tell you right across the county, refuges and the Gardaí are preparing for a rise in calls, cases and referrals. So, if things begin to escalate, please don’t suffer in silence, call the Gardaí and contact Women’s Aid on Ph: 1800 341 900, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or email helpline@womensaid.ie.

  Sadly, for some children, Christmas will be all about tears rather than cheers; they’ll experience deprivation and abuse, their lives a far cry from those depicted on our TV screens. If you’re a child or young person who needs help, call the ISPCC Childline on Ph: 1800 66 66 66 or text talk 50101.

Some contacts that may be useful ….

Talk to someone; a family member, a friend, a neighbour, your doctor, member of the Gardai or a helpline  ….

Samaritans operate a free 24/7 hotline on 116 123; or if you feel you can’t talk, an email to jo@samaritans.org is another option open to you.

Pieta House West, Tel: 093 25586. www.pietahousewest.com

Unmarried and Separated Parents of Ireland,
www.uspi.ie who, according to their site, operate a daily helpline on  087-6456639, 087-3632612 or 087-9905491.

ALONE can be contacted on Ph: 01 679 1032 or if you’ve access to email, it’s enquiries@alone.ie 

Women’s Aid on Ph: 1800 341 900, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
or email helpline@womensaid.ie

If you’re a child or young person who needs help, call the ISPCC Childline on Ph: 1800 66 66 66 or text talk 50101.

Eurovision gets on me baubles but I’m cheering on Brendan!

Nothing gets on me baubles more than that gigantic, peculiar pan-national song contest that is Eurovision. Watched by 200 million people every year, the campest show on earth appears, in my opinion, to be run by a bunch of corrupt, piddling ‘no marks’ who use their voting rights as political weapons against nations they’ve got a gripe with.  

  In addition it’s hardly ‘Eurovision’ is it…Russia is geographically largely part of Asia, yet it’s entered since 1994, and  Australia is nowhere near Europe yet its entered since 2014! Ok now I’ve got that off my chest, I want to wish the cutest Irish entry we’ve ever had, local lad – okay he’s from Galway but we’ll do what the Brits do and claim him as our own; Brendan Murray, right,  from the band Hometown, whom, under the guiding hand of another local lovely Louis Walsh… yes, he’s from Mayo but work with me here… to represent us in Kiev next May.

  And as I love Louis and have worked with him in the past, it means that next May your columnist will be sitting front and centre on the sofa, big bag of tortilla chips in one hand, bottle of wine in the other as I cheer on Ireland’s dream team in this Euro-ish, kinda show. G’wan the lads.

Dump him, Coleen

According to celebrity journo Stewart Turner, Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan has revealed her marriage to Ray Fensome ‘is in crisis, after he told her that he no longer finds her attractive.’ Wow Ray, I’ve seen pictures of you and believe me, you’re no oil painting pal. And, if this pitiful, wimpy excuse is all you can come up with, then I have to ask sunshine; is your ass jealous of the amount of c**p that comes out of your gob?  

  Seriously Coleen, if he was my husband and said that to me, I’d disable his ‘autocorrect’ function! Dump him and find yourself a partner who deserves the beautiful woman that you are.

Happy Christmas

Finally… I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas! Thank you for reading my offerings this year; it’s been a joy and a privilege to write for this newspaper; I look forward to many more conversations with you in 2017! – Miriam