A Fear of Festivities – How Christmas Feels When You Have Depression and An Eating Disorder

Christmas is a comin’. There’s no way to avoid it, no way at all. All this jolly is hard to dodge. I don’t see myself particularly as a Christmas Grinch, in fact I know I’m not, but there’s something about the festive season that makes me really damn sad, every single time. The thing is, this season is all about socializing, drinking too much, eating too much and being overly happy; all the things I don’t do so well. So it’s kinda tricky for people like me. I adored Christmas as a little girl, when I really believed in magic, I genuinely did, it was a great time. But, being the type of person who spends a lot of time in their own head, Christmas is a time when that lonely but familiar place of your own head seems a million miles away from everyone else in the rest of the world. It’s like the extreme happiness and shared joy which we’re forced to revel in, just amplifies the fact that we don’t feel that way. Christmas exaggerates your depression. Everyone else’s high seems to make your low seem even deeper. I personally up my meds when the dark seasons kick in, every year, I get extremely low in October and November and then remember I get sad when there’s little daylight and I adjust my tablets to keep me just above the depression line. I don’t hate Christmas, I like it, I just don’t FREAKING LOVE IT like everyone else seems to. I need to realize that’s fine, I’m getting better at that. I’ve been self employed all of my adult life too, and so I’ve never had a paid Christmas break where I can take time off without worrying, for me, time taken out to celebrate Christmas is a disruption to my earnings, and I barely make enough to feed myself as it is, so that’s an added stress. Food, that’s a biggie. When I was in the deepest trenches of my eating disorder, I dreaded Christmas day. Eating in a large group, in front of them all, it ignited a fear in me. I felt very much under a magnifying glass, as if everyone was curious as to how and what I ate, and why I was eating something different. Christmas is typically seen as a time of greed and consumption, whether it be alcohol, food, or shopping, it’s all about indulging and enjoying. Well, when you are in the midst of any eating disorder, your world is about denial and not believing you deserve anything. So it kinda stands for the opposite of all that goes on in our head. So, without dragging everyone down, please, if you know somebody who struggles with food, give them space and don’t draw attention to what they are or aren’t eating, don’t say ‘go on, have a slice, it’s Christmas’. I’ve been reduced to tears on Christmas Day before, there’s a big build up to the anxiety of it in our own heads, it’s a big deal for people with eating issues, it’s a tough one. But, trust them that they will get through the day in their own way, let them know in private that you’ve got their back and will answer any awkward questions from Granddad about why you got skinny or didn’t eat the spuds. Let them know that today, they aren’t alone. Maybe then they can share in some of the festive cheer too. I hope so.

4 thoughts on “A Fear of Festivities – How Christmas Feels When You Have Depression and An Eating Disorder

  1. Hi Shona,
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I think it is a brave and honest thing to share, about both eating and depression. I had PND after our eldest and in always aware of the potential for it to return, always wary of it.
    Have a lovely day on Friday.
    See you soon.
    Caroline xx

    Liked by 1 person

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