We are approaching that time of year associated with joy, family, food and drink- the holiday season. It is a time of year that most people look forward to for a number of reasons. For some of us, however, it is one of the most miserable and hardest collection of days in the entire year.
The holiday season brings with it many social occasions between friends and family and almost all of these meetings involve food and drink, two of the hardest things to face for anybody suffering from an eating disorder. At this time of year the calorie counting, excessive exercising and food and people avoidance goes into overdrive. We don’t want to miss out on meeting our family and friends but at the same time we do not want to be faced with the almost impossible task of avoiding having to eat or drink anything. This is made harder by the cramped and overcrowded places where most of us meet during this season. There is nowhere to hide from all the watchful eyes, and this is terrifying!
Christmas and New Year had always been a joyous time for me as a child and are thankfully now once again a time of year I look forward to, though in all honesty, the copious amounts of food and interaction with many different people still scare me in the back of my mind. Although my recovery has taught me how to deal with the bad thoughts and symptoms associated with anorexia, the scars remain. I find that I am less social than I used to be and, sometimes, the feelings of regret and shame do rear their ugly heads after a late night meal or a larger than life lunch. There is a silver lining to all this however. Although the feelings do remain, they do not last for too long. This is something that I am thankful for and something I believe that everyone can achieve with the right support system and if they put their full effort into recovering from this horrible mental illness. Although the scars remain, the wounds do heal! This is something I wholeheartedly believe. The trick is knowing the triggers and expecting the feelings that come with it, so that you are ready to deal with them and tell them that you are no longer their slave.
“Although the scars remain, the wounds do heal!”
Along with knowing this and acting upon it, try and make people close to you understand what you are going through. This may seem like one of the hardest things to do, but the more that they know, the more they will be able to help and listen. If they really care for you, they will do what they can to help you feel better and deal with your triggers in a productive way.
In addition, for all those people that know or suspect that they know somebody who is suffering from an eating disorder this holiday season (and always), try and make them feel at ease and let them know that you care for them and are always there when they need you. Although it may not seem like it at first and they probably won’t show their appreciation, that will mean a lot to them and may even lead them to confide in you and ask for help. Note that this is not always the case as people suffering from eating disorders more often than not would not want to admit that anything is wrong, so always proceed with caution and base your approach on that person’s current situation. As always, please consult with a mental heath professional, especially if you believe the situation is desperate or may become desperate if nothing is done to help. I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL and am only providing my insight based on my own past experience.
All things considered, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healing holiday season and hope for the very best for all those people going through hard times as the result of an eating disorder or any other metal illness. I hope that this site has helped many people over the past year and that it will continue to be a valuable resource in the coming year 2020.