My therapist said, ‘Anorexia is a form of self flagellation.’ I knew what she meant. I didn’t want to own it then. I’d been working really hard peeling back the layers of inter-generational trauma. I understood why I befriended the shadow: anorexia. And I went to Africa. My brain was fried.
I’d physically recovered by 23 and didn’t give anorexia much thought. By 30, I was pregnant with my first child and by 35, a mother of three. I returned to work four years later, weekend ICU, an intense world which kept me enthralled for 18 years. I needed a break and moved into community health. Writing called. I answered.
Food, arghhh! It’s complicated isn’t it? I love food, I really do. Even at my most vulnerable, as a restrictive anorexic, I loved food. I loved watching people enjoy food. ButI loved chips and chocolate. My mother’s ongoing sabotage of my love of greens, probably helped to keep me alive.
Mama always kept treats in our pantry. It smelled delicious, like a deli. And it was. Treats included chips and chocolate. I caved time and time again gorging and then self-flagellating. It gets better right?
Christmas begins earlier each year. Soon the Christmas lights will stay up year round, Christmas in July is becoming a fashionable past time. It’s about food and company and cool weather and food and cool weather so we can eat more food. Food centred celebrations combined with social anxiety pose real barriers for people with ED (eating disorders).
It’s terrifying! All that food and all the expectations, ‘Try this, just a little, but I made it, it’s an old family recipe, I make it every Christmas.’ I’m out of there if only in my mind. Christmas is a challenge for many people but those with EDs have another level of complexity to bring to the table.
They often don’t know when it went weird, their relationship with food.