You did not invite the eating disorder, yet it still shows up, as if has been a part of your family all along.
It does not take a leave day for a family event or special occasion. In fact, it often makes its presence more known, in ways that do not align with how you envision Christmas should be.
Getting through Christmas is not as much about the food as it is about your expectations, planning, and supports.
Start by talking to your family, partner, and loved one about what the day will look like. Who will be coming? What food will be served? What role will you play? What role can they play? What safe words can your child use or a family member when they need a moment? What strengths would your loved one like to show against the eating disorder?
Try not to change the daily routine and keep as similar as possible. Just like the eating disorder does not take a break at Christmas, neither does administering the dose of medicine (food). If your loved one requires 6 eating times a day, plan this into the day as if it was any other day.
Parents who have walked this journey have shared that joy in the day can still be found by focusing on the family, playing music that is joyful, and reminding themselves that providing food for the family, and sharing food with their loved ones is an act of love – whether you are nourishing a loved one back from an eating disorder or not.
There is no doubt that each day can hold much fear, anxiety, and exhaustion. Whilst finding the silver lining is no easy task, practicing appreciation for the little things can be most helpful when possible. As a clinic that solely focuses on disordered eating and eating disorders, we continue to be in awe of the dedication, kindness, and incredible ability that families show, to nourish a loved one back from an eating disorder.
If you need further support over the Christmas break whilst we are closed, please see a list of helpful websites and communication platforms.
Butterfly Foundation: 1800 33 4673
Mental Health Telephone: 1800 011 511