3 Ways I Handle Interrogating Questions During the Holidays as Someone With Mental Illness

Holiday dinners — where to begin? There are numerous meme’s about being interrogated by family, friends and distant relatives. What are you going to do when you finish college? Do you have a significant other? Do you have a job? Did you get a promotion? Why did you dye your hair that color? Did you start going to the gym yet?

These questions often seem endless, monotonous and let’s be honest, quite unnecessary.

Things might get harder when you’re struggling with a mental illness. Do you have a significant other may become: I am going to be alone forever. Why did you dye your that color may become: Am I even uglier now? What are you going to do when you graduate may become: Fail, fail and fail some more.

That is why I have created a guide to safeguarding myself around the table and the festivities in general.

1. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

No, this is not slime — this came way before slime. I received my first life-changing little pot of goo when I was in treatment for an eating disorder. I now carry it on the train, to university, to meals and any other situation that may provoke a little anxiety and it gets better. It comes in glitter, glow in the dark, and travel-sized tubs and every color you could possibly imagine.

2. Safety Person

In the same way I have a safety net, I have a safety person. I am not ashamed to ring a host and ask if there is set seating, and if there is I tell them who I would like to sit with. If it’s a stand-up event, I create a signal for help if others ask about my weight, or my eating disorder or anxiety kick in — or a simply “please come and talk to me” signal. A hair flicking, foot stomping, hip shaking type of move works well.

3. I Practice

Yep, that’s right, I stand in front of my mirror and go through the endless questions in my head.

‘’Do you have a boyfriend?’’ ‘’Nope I have two dogs.’’

‘’What are you going to do when you graduate?’’ ‘’I’m taking my life day by day, lets not future trip’’

‘’Why did you dye your hair blonde?’’ ‘’Because it makes me happy and feel good.”

And the best, ‘‘Why are you playing with silly putty under the table?’’ To that I simply respond: “Because it’s fun and none of your business.”

So safeguard yourself, because after all, there is no one more important than you (and maybe your dog, too).

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Getty image via IR_Stone

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