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Why Bulimia Recovery Means I Won’t Be Celebrating Christmas This Year

Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

Home is, for now, a building somewhere in the United Kingdom with my two parents and two brothers.

Like many across the U.K., Christmas is a holiday we have observed for as long as I can remember.

This year — years into my eating disorder recovery — I am choosing not to partake in such festivities.

Christmas, like many holidays and festivals, is heavily characterized by the food we buy, prepare, cook and share over the days leading up to and including the December 25. If your family is anything like mine, this is probably the same food (leftovers) you will be consuming for the days following this oh-so-exciting day.

I apologize for the sarcasm.

But how do you really tell those who raised you, and you were raised with, that you don’t want to spend that one day a year we are all expected to be together around a table, with them, around a table?

Recovery for me is, at this time, a full-time juggling act simultaneously combined with some long jumps and a three-legged race. Recovery is also a determination of mine. It has taken years for me to reach this stage of mental preparedness and readiness to recover.

Regarding Christmas, it is a question of whether I temporarily untie that rope engaging me in this three-legged race so I can keep on juggling, upholding my health and needs.

The truth is: food is difficult me right now and unlike many full-time jobs, I don’t get benefits such as public holidays off.

The festive season is laced with guilt, shame and constant exposure to something I am yet to overcome.

It’s not a matter of not sitting around the table; it’s having you laugh as you stock up the kitchen cupboards, play board games whilst waiting for the potatoes to roast and the pressure of this being a time of ease and joy.

I do not wish to have to put my needs aside so that I can entertain someone else’s idea of relaxation and celebration.

Mom, Dad, if you’re seeing this, I kindly ask that you don’t serve me disappointment or shame when I turn down the Christmas offerings.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

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