Christmas with an ED can be tricky, but here are a few things I hope might make it that lil’ bite (lol I think I’m hilarious!) easier for you all.
The helpful hints below are for ED warriors (I don’t like the phrase sufferers and warriors sounds like I’m talking to you all wearing war paint and some kind of Rambo outfit carrying a machine gun. Actually that’s quite a fun metaphor so let’s roll with that – far more fun than being a Fairy Godmother!) Anyway, where was I?… Ah yes this is for ED warriors, parents, friends, siblings, neighbours and anyone else this Crimbo time.
The first thing I have to say and I cannot stress enough is NO PRESSURE. Christmas is all about the “F Words” – Festivities, Friends, Family, Fun, and of course, Food. This final F word may seem like the enemy- everywhere you look there’s someone offering you a canape, telling you how full they are, shovelling in another mince pie and offering you more food than your eyes can take in. As a warrior this can be overwhelming but this is where the NO PRESSURE idea comes in.
Always remember that you do not have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or more anxious or stressed than you need to. You do not have to shove your face “just because it’s Christmas”. This is by no means me offering you an excuse not to eat but if the idea of a Turkey plus trimmings is going to ruin your Christmas this year then just stick to your normal meal plan as you would on any other day of the year. I know this might make you feel like you’re not “normal” as such but THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is your health and happiness and if that means a sandwich for Christmas Lunch then don that Cracker hat and munch that sarnie. Your friends and family will understand and be happy by you just being there with them.
Sticking with the F theme is Forward planning. I know some people find that springing things upon themselves is the best way to “just do it” but for me, no matter how much I love Nike, this just doesn’t cut the custard.
Planning ahead is a quick fire way to reduce the stress on the day and allow you to focus on the real fun – games, present opening, singing (no matter how out of tune it may be), and settling down in front of all the Television your eyes can devour.
To plan ahead I would say sit down at least a week before the actual day.
F stands for no Fuss. This is a big one for me and something my mum – Mumma Heath is fab with. Sometimes you just want to get on with what you have to do and be done. The LAST thing you need is someone fussing over you and making everything a big deal. *Note for family members here* → you may feel that making a fuss, congratulating and celebrating is helping and making the warrior feel like they’re winning, but the whole ordeal is already so big inside our heads that these kind of comments just make it even more of an Everest than it already is. Just quietly be there for them. Mum always sits with me when I eat. Sometimes we don’t even talk to each other and other times she talks utter rubbish next to me.
My final and most important F is “you F*****G got this! There will be times when you feel it’s all too much or that you can’t do it but these feelings are totally normal and YOU F*****G CAN. Some days are up and some are down but ALWAYS remember that without the dark we would not be able to fully appreciate the light.
When you come out the other side – and you WILL come out the other side, the light will seem even brighter and at every wonderful Christmas you enjoy from this year on, you will be able to look back on this one and thank yourself for plodding on. Even plodding is still moving forward.
So this Christmas all I wish for you all is a fantastic family fun fest filled with festivities. Just breathe. When it all gets too much – just breathe. You’re doing okay. You will be okay. I believe in you.