Surviving life with, or in recovery from, an eating disorder is difficult even at the best of times. And for me, Christmas was the best of times! But anorexia cast a heavy shadow over the holidays for both me and my family, as the fear of all that decadent food and overbearing company eclipsed the traditional merriment. The joy of cookie swaps, Christmas cake magic, eggnog, and candy canes was no more. My waif-like presence drained the warmth from family gatherings. I could no longer summon any of my old exuberance at parties, tree-trimmings, sleigh rides, or pageants. My family tip-toed around me in fear of upsetting my fragile emotional state.
Even in the throes of my disease, I longed for the good old days when Christmas was a magical time of joy and lightheartedness. The season’s brightness was yet another thing my disease had robbed from me - and my case is not at all unique: the holidays are immensely challenging for many of those who struggle with an eating disorder. But as I’ve recovered, I’ve discovered a few tricks to retaining some of that holiday cheer, in spite of my chronic illness. While I admit that nothing can chase away those eating disordered thoughts entirely, there are a few ways to minimize the impact they have on holiday cheer. Today, I’m grateful that I can fully enjoy the whole Christmas season - even the sweets and treats - without losing out to anorexia.
This is a gift worth sharing - so for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas, we’ll be posting a new tip on surviving (even enjoying!) the holidays with an eating disorder on the Looking Glass' Facebook page. ‘Like’ us and follow along, beginning December 12th, and see how we’re keeping our holidays merry and bright.
Alison is a regular contributor to The Looking Glass’ blog, is an eating disorders survivor and is an inspiration to those around her.