Christmas time with anorexia

Christmas normally means a lot of things to a lot of people whether it’s based around celebration, religion, spending time with family or those family traditions but to me it’s a time of fear, stress, being triggered by the slightest of things and the yearly tradition of crying during dinner and the family fallout after it as a result.

In my household we seem to surround ourselves with food at christmas; the advent calendar treats, attempting to sneak chocolates off the tree without anyone noticing (by putting the foil back on) and tucking into those Cadbury selection boxes that a family friend always seems brings round (and adds to the pole of chocolate).

Then it’s christmas day itself: the morning treats, tucking into snacks of sweets from our stocking then it’s the meal itself (the pigs in blankets, the massive helpings of vegetables and other items ect piled high on our plates) and then the rest of the day of drinking wine, munching away on what ever is left from the morning and dinner before sinking into that drunken or overfed slumber in the evening.

But this to me is hell, it torments me and haunts my every waking thought throughout December.

As it gets closer and closer the voice of ana gets stronger and stronger till like I said earlier it starts to haunt my every moment, dreaming of what I used to eat during this time, what I miss, what will happen if I do go and eat these things that I used to enjoy so much and the shame/guilt of loosing that control.

Ana goes into full blown overdrive during this time, it gains even more control that it craves so much. Every trip to the shops is opportunity for with shelf after shelf of treats (chocolate, biscuits and cakes) for her to tell me no, I can’t have this or that for fear of losing that control or that it would course me to gain.

The insightful me doesn’t want this battle with myself all the time. I don’t want to be full of anxiety when that box of celebrations comes round while we’re all watching that bad, overplayed Christmas film on the TV and let people wonder why I don’t take any, I don’t want to try and make excuses to avoid dinner, I don’t want to struggle with trying to eat small mouthfuls of veg only to feel guilty, ashamed and like I’ve gained a million pounds as a result.

Some family members and friends say that it’s only a day, a day where I can try and be free from anorexia and enjoy the things I used to eat (and creave so much), act without fear around meal or snacks but it’s not as easy as just flicking a switch to turn the voice off, the feeling off or the fear off.

It’s the panic about going away from safe foods, my routine and scared of the voice of ana, second guessing everything, leading me to the wrong conclusion and taking well meaning comments the wrong way.

I guess with time and progress with my recovery, I can try and enjoy this time of year and everything that I used to but for this year, that won’t happen.

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My experience with Anorexia: Trigger Warning

I am forever engaged in a silent battle in my head over whether or not to lift the fork to my mouth, and when I talk myself into doing so, I taste only shame. I have an eating disorder.

11 years now I’ve been in a off and on again battle with Anorexia, periods of recovery and then relapse. Something I never really talked about till now so here’s a long post about my battle…

All started when I was 13, started as a control thing, my parents controlled everything I did and controlling what I ate was my part of gaining some control but as things like this go it quickly spirals into a deadly cycle of restricting, binging, lying and hiding from the truth.

I quickly lost weight (I’m quite a skinny person anyhows), I gained prise from friends, cousins asked me how I did it, people I knew commented about how I looked; parents and teachers didn’t batter a eyelid, encouraged by all this I kept going. Ana took hold. The cycle I mentioned took hold.

Skipping breakfast, rushing out, cycling the 5 miles to and from the school, pacing the corridors to burn off kcals I did guiltily eat at lunch and then cycling back home and then trying to skip dinner or have very little only to binge at night, I emptied the cupboards, fruit bowls anything I could get my hands on to stop that voice. Only to be filled with disgust once I stopped. So the cycle continued

Fast forward six months I was at one of my lowest weights, somehow I started challenging ana, slowly fighting back seeking recovery, I never told anyone but I think some knew.

A year and a bit later at the age of 15, I was healthy, happy, at a safe weight only at times going into old habits.

At 17, I sunk back into the world of ana, but this time was different. I was manic, high as a kite, loving life, hardly sleeping, who needs to eat? Eating wastes time , time I need to use so I can complete my mission, I kept thinking to myself so the cycle began again. This time people started saying that I was anorexic.

The days became nights, nights became days, I was racing sinking deeper and deeper into anorexia and mania again, that voice of ana becoming stronger and stronger taking over my life and a little bit later I crashed, into a crippling depression. Not moving, guilty about eating, being repulsed by the fat on my body. After a few weeks I tried to take my own life, I failed thankfully, admitted to a mental health hospital. Told I was anorexic (formal this time, not just people saying it), bipolar (along with BPD just to make things more interesting) In there I once again recovered to a point with my anorexia. Discharged I continued my life, working, seeing people, studying and sadly the odd restriction and binge (mainly to remind my self that I have control)

Now it’s 2014, 8 years later from then; I’m 24 and relapsed back into that horrible cycle of restricting, binging, the guilt of eating, the fear of gaining, the obsession of counting everything I’ve ate. This time it was picked up on a review, I was referred to a eating disorder clinic. For the first time in my life I’m getting specialised support and treatment for my disorder. So far so good, I still have the cycle but it’s becoming more and more controlled, I’ve stopped certain behaivers and now using coping methods to control thoughts (mindfullness and ice diving are great)

Now with the right support I can beat this demon once and for all, but a small part of me knows that it will always be with me, lurking in the background, waiting for that moment.

A quote I like to use at times is ‘recovery is a choice, and everyday, every moment I have to make that choice’ will I choose recovery? Fuck yes I will

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