No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another
~ Charles Dickens
Christmas is about giving.
Sure, it’s nice to receive presents from your loved (and not-so-loved) ones, but nothing beats the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you brighten someone else’s day with a meaningful gift.
But while we fret about chocolates and jewellery, tinsel and turkeys, it is important to remember that for many people, Christmas can be anything but a joyful time of year.
I may not have much in this world, but I have always sought to ensure my Christmas helps others in need.
So, every year, I buy my Christmas cards from a charity supporting those who may be experiencing a lonely, sad or empty Christmas. The profits then go to helping those who need support both at Christmas and throughout the year.
In recent years, my charity of choice has invariably been the Royal British Legion, for reasons which are, perhaps, obvious.
This year, however, I have decided to support a different good cause.
This year, I am supporting Bipolar UK.
Bipolar disorder is a frightening illness which is seen in between an estimated 1% and 2% of the population. Whilst the highs and lows can be equally as distressing, the extreme lows caused by bipolar mean those who suffer are much more likely to take their own lives.
Bipolar increases the risk of suicide 20 times.
For many people with bipolar – and their families and friends – Christmas will be anything but merry. But Bipolar UK are here to help.
Every year, Bipolar UK support 80,000 individuals through a dedicated support line, network of support groups and more.
For the year ending 31 March 2016, Bipolar UK spent £825,313 (82% of its expenditure) on activities supporting both those with bipolar and their friends, families and work colleagues.
I know that the purchase of a handful of Christmas cards is not exactly a grand gesture. But, as someone with a diagnosis of Bipolar II, I also know how important support is to people in times of crisis.
That’s why every Christmas card I send this year will go some way to providing that support where it is needed the most.
If you would like to support the vital work of Bipolar UK, you can make a donation here.