I know how difficult December can be. The hustle and bustle of the festive season, the talk of dressing up, going out, being part of the crowd. It's all very exciting if you can actually go out, join in, be a part of the group.
What do you do if you can't though? If you're at home, in your PJs, sat in front of the TV, or curled up with a book. For most of the year this feels okay, fun even; but when the world is living and you feel like you're not, that's when it gets hard. That's when you want to cry for the unfairness of life, when you want to scream at a body that won't do what you want and a world that doesn't know how to help or make things better.
I wish there was a magic solution, how I wish there was, for you, for me, for all my friends. A wand to wave to correct it, or a lamp to rub for wishes; but there's not, or at least I haven't found it yet.
There are years I have curled up and barely been aware that it was December, let alone Christmas. Times when I was so ill, that I slept straight through the 25th and not even cared. Then there have been years where the ache in my heart and being left out made me feel sick and sad.
How you cope with this may be completely different to the way I cope with it; but I've found that the best way for me is distraction. I don't want to ignore the season, I'd feel like I was missing out, have more things denied to me by my illness, so I adapt. I find things I can do, from where I am, right now, in this space. Fun, quirky, happy things that I love to do, just given a twist, some sparkle and a dash of excitement.
That's why I'm organising my own Christmas/Relevant Festive Occasion Party, one that I don't have to go out to, that I don't even have to change out of my PJs for; but one that has fun, easy, adaptable things I can do within my own health and energy limits. I'd like to think I've thought of everything, the theme, the music, the food and drinks, the guest list. It's planning a real party; but one that is constricted by distance, time or space. My party can be attended by people all over the world. The guest list is already three figures and growing!
I'd like you to join me. If you're feeling left out or you just want even more fun this month. If you've never been to a virtual party before, or if you're a regular who loves making new friends and connecting with old ones, then I extend this invitation to you.
We are going to have the best time; I know it's going to be so much fun because I'm already getting tingles! Can you feel them too? I feel hope and joy, things that can be hard to experience when life is tough; but why should we be denied them? Other people aren't. We may have to adapt, alter, adjust; but we are as entitled to fun and joy as anyone else. So join me for the fabulous Diamonds & Ice Party in your Pad - go now and get your name on the guest list! It's going to be an event to remember.
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.