When everyone is excited for Thanksgiving and you’re just sitting there like…uuhh…nope.
I like Thanksgiving. I really do like the holiday. I think it’s a day to cherish your family and friends, to be grateful for what you have and not dwell on the things you don’t. I think Thanksgiving is about so much more than stuffing your face with so much food that you physically feel like you’re going to throw up. I always liked Thanksgiving, just not every part of it.
Coming together over food is really just a cultural thing. It’s something we as humans enjoy doing, chatting and eating, eating and chatting, it’s a great time to catch up and to laugh and to reminisce on good times. For me though, coming together over food was always anxiety inducing. I was always very scared of ordering the wrong thing at a restaurant or having food stuck in my teeth or eating sloppily or dropping/spilling something. That was the social anxiety in me.
The eating disorder came about when I was around 12, and Thanksgiving just got harder and harder as the years progressed. I remember seeing all of the food on the table and thinking “okay, I just need to eat a little bit and nobody will think anything”. So that’s what I did. I ate some turkey, some potatoes, some corn, and a bit of cranberry sauce. And every bite I took lead to the thought of “am I full yet?”. Then, when I felt full, I felt gross and I would go throw up my food or I’d curl up in my bed with my knees to my chest and think about everything I ate and how my body has changed and what I look like now. I was very scared of those very low calorie foods. I was very involved with the eating disorder as well as some body dysmorphia.
So, Thanksgiving has really never been easy or exciting for me. At least, it hasn’t in a while. I’ve gotten so much better over the past few years. This will be my 3rd Thanksgiving where I feel less afraid of the food that my mom will make for my little family of 4. I know that last Thanksgiving I ate an entire plate of food and two pieces of pie. I felt some guilt immediately after and the following day I definitely felt those body dysmorphia symptoms, but overall I had very little urges to throw up, very few urges to restrict the following day. I was able to tell myself that what I’m feeling is the ED talking and the anxiety talking. I was able to push through those feelings and really enjoy my Thanksgiving, the food my mom made, and know that it was going to be okay. I knew I wasn’t going to gain ten pounds over night or that my body was going to suddenly look ten pounds heavier in the mirror.
I did very well last Thanksgiving, so here’s to having an even better holiday this year.