EATING DISORDER: MY NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS HAS ARRIVED
So here we are at that time of year again, it’s Holiday time. I wouldn’t be so aware of it, if every time I turned on the TV, go into a department store, or get my tires changed there isn’t some Christmas jingle, decoration, or Yule log hitting me in the face.
If you are expecting to read a blog about how excited I am about the holidays than I am afraid you will probably be highly disappointed.
I am not exactly jazzed about the upcoming festivities, and it isn’t because I am recovering from an Eating Disorder and hate any day revolving around some sort of smorgasbord like setting or cookie exchange going on around my neighborhood.
Believe it or not, I am fine with all the food these days. I actually don’t think about it much, and have no problem with the gingerbread men dancing around my office or the sugarplum fairies holding plates of Christmas turkey.
From my point of view which will most likely not be from anybody sharing the same DNA as me, Nov 24, and Dec 25 are just days my Victoria Secret Catalogs don’t arrive and I am forced to make my own Grande lattes.
I think my sarcasm might have something to do with the fact that as a child I wasn’t opening up presents Christmas morning, or eating pumpkin pie that my grandmother had made from scratch.
My mother didn’t celebrate the holidays for religious purposes so all my Birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmas’s etc, were not very special.
I actually hated the holidays as a child because I felt like I got to watch everybody be happy while I sat outside a classroom reading a book, or a window while they all walked by in Halloween costumes stuffing peanut butter cups into their bags.
I felt like an outcast, and as I got older it got really hard to explain to my friends why I couldn’t receive gifts on my Birthday, or why I couldn’t attend the party they were having for their own. I made up excuses and hid the fact that I was part of some odd religious sect.
When I turned 18, and was old enough to leave my mother’s faith, I had a new religion and it was called an Eating Disorder.
I was also living with my grandmother who had big holiday dinners, etc. I dreaded them as I had to watch everybody else eat all the food I wanted. I could hardly concentrate as smells of sugar cookies, and brisket were baking in the kitchen. Suddenly everything I wanted as a child was available, but once again I was prohibited from eating them because of my Anorexia. Screwed again!
Later on when my Anorexia ventured into Bulimia, where I would gorge myself on all of that holiday goodness, and then throw it all back up.
Nothing tasted good as I was just stuffing it in my mouth, and swallowing it before I could even enjoy it. Not to mention my family got pissed when they couldn’t eat the leftovers that I had vacuumed up all night.
So here I am years later in full blown recovery mode,not in a restrictive religion, or not afraid to eat stuffing, suck on a candy cane, or plop some green bean casserole with those crispy little onion things on my plate.
Great, except I don’t really have anywhere to go.
OK before you feel sorry for me, I take that back, I have plenty of places to go. I have a lot of friends who give me offers. It’s not that I don’t appreciate them, but it’s hard when you are with other peoples families and you are that “friend” who doesn’t have anywhere to go. You feel really lame when they are all laughing at when little Jimmy is putting cranberry sauce in his ear, or Aunt Mary is talking about last Christmas’s fried turkey incident. You feel like you don’t have the right to laugh, and that if you do everybody knows you have no idea why you are.
So here is the point where you actually are feeling sorry for me, and I am here to say that if you are you need to Stop.
I certainly don’t feel sorry for myself, as I look at the holidays as an opportunity to spend it with my patients at Rader who are away from their family. I try to help them all get through the day, and I try to offer them some hope that if they get their acts together, they won’t have to spend another Christmas away from their loved ones.
I also look as it as an opportunity to start my own traditions.
For instance, I have to watch Christmas Story all day long as I never get tired of it, and well come on that cute little kid from the Ovaltine commercials is always about to shoot his eye out with a Bebe gun.
I also make sure to buy gifts for the very special people in my life. The ones that I truly appreciate and value. I enjoy getting them something really cool that they would never ever think of buying on their own.
I do though love stuffing, and pumpkin pie, and I adore eggnog.
I make sure to have those things, and I promise you they will be prepared by my very good friends Pepperidge Farms, and Sara Lee.
So if you don’t have any traditions, or have had an eating disorder that has ruined most of yours in the past, I encourage you to do whatever you want this Holiday season as long as it includes being healthy and happy.
I am myself am quite a lot of both, and am feeling a bit like not be so Scroogish, so perhaps I might put up a little tree in my office.
Of course it will be pink and Bedazzled, but hey, would you expect anything less?
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