I want to wish a very merry Christmas to everyone who reads, follows, and comments on my blog. You have inspired and encouraged me so much. During this beautiful time of year, may you be deeply blessed with joy, peace, and love. That is my wish and present for all of you.
When I think back to past Christmases, I am so grateful for where I am now. Things are not perfect. However, my life has become purposeful and hope-filled for the first time in years. Today brings stresses such as overwhelming social situations, focus on food and weight, pressure to be happy, and less structured time. Yet these struggles do not need to ruin the celebration for me, my family, or others in similar positions. Instead, we need to deal with triggers and difficult situations to have the best holiday possible.
One year ago on Christmas, I was preparing to go into the hospital because my suicidal thoughts were so bad. Depressed and hopeless, life filled me with dread. Self-harm and restricting convinced me that they were my only friends. Although I longed to study abroad in Europe, relapsing kept me from fully enjoying life.
Two years ago, Christmas was only a few weeks after I discharged from residential treatment for my eating disorder. Currently in all-day programming for my eating disorder, I feared food still although I tried my best to participate in the celebrations. Hurting myself still appealed to my disordered brain whenever something went wrong. Trying to heal while clinging to disordered behaviors warred inside of me.
Three years ago, no one knew about my eating disorder yet. Silently, I slipped down the dark road while pretending to be fine. Fake smiles and binges followed by immense guilt and restriction filled this season. This Christmas was the worst one of my life, but my family remained oblivious to my pain. Alone and frightened, I wanted to die more than anything.
Looking back fills me with wonder and hope not only for myself but also for everyone who is struggling. There is always light despite the dark of depression, eating disorders, and other mental illness. Right now, things might seem bleak, but please do not give up!
So with that, I wish you a merry Christmas! Please do at least one thing to care for yourself on this day. You deserve it!