December 24th, 2011

Christmas doesn’t have to be about your eating disorder

So, I was totally planning on writing for Mental Healthy about coping over the festive season with an eating disorder, but I ran out of time, didn’t have a chance and so I thought I would make it a quicky on here.

Christmas is notorious for being an especially hard time for dealing and coping with mental health issues, especially eating disorders. Looking back, I can remember the time when Christmas was massively difficult for me.

I thought this was for many reasons, including the amount of food on offer that everyone thought I devour and then how on earth I could correct all that wrong. Then there was the guilt, surely I didn’t deserve Christmas and as for all the people around, what on earth do they think of me?

Notice I used the word thought, because that’s not what I think now. If I was to be perfectly honest, now I would say that the reason Christmas was so hard is because I overthought it, worked myself up into a bundle of nerves and in effect sabotaged myself without even knowing it.

In the run up to Christmas I would sit there planning, listing and working out escape routes, panicking about how the day would turn out, worry about other people, how would they react if I didn’t take that extra potato, would they think I was ill again?

In reality, is it really any different to any other day? There might be a few more chocolates about but it is like any other day. It doesn’t need to be treated as differently as any other day, if you have a meal plan you can still stick to it, if your full you don’t have to eat anything more and if it is all the people around that is causing your anxiety, there is nothing stopping you leaving the room for 20 minutes.  This is where mindfulness and relaxation comes into play, understanding and working with your body, what it wants and what it needs and not what other people expect of you.

Probably the most important part of all of this and something I have intentionally left until this point is that Christmas isn’t all about food. This is what I needed to get into my head, I would be so consumed with the food side of Christmas I would forget about the rest of the day, the part of the day I loved, seeing all the people I know, having lots of lovely gifts and watching crappy films until my eyes bled.

Christmas is about all those things that we all know and love, the tree, pretty decorations, presents, family, friends having a giggle and a glass of 10 of wine! 

And as for Christmas dinner, it is but another meal, nothing more, nothing less and if we look it at like that, it is really not as scary as we once thought it was.

That’s all from me, wishing everyone a fabulous and happy Christmas!

Nick x