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The Reality of the Holiday Season

Content Warning: Eating Disorders, Holiday Trauma, Suicide




The last few months of the year are a bit of a heightened experience. So many events and expectations are packed into small amount of time, and often there isn't much time to decompress. Often, there are higher than normal highs, but sometimes they are followed by lower than normal lows. We are surrounded by holiday movies and greeting cards telling us that we should be experiencing exclusively love and joy, and when our experience doesn't match that, we can feel broken, lonely, and unworthy. Everyone else is having a great time, why aren't we?


Whether it's because of overstimulation, anxiety, past trauma, or anything else, many people struggle during this season, and most are very good at hiding it. Know that you are not alone, and that even in the darkness, little flashes of light can found.


You are worthy of your place in this world, whether or not you cook the perfect Thanksgiving meal, you find the perfect present, or you finally ask that special person for their number at the company party. You and your peace are worth protecting with boundaries. You do not have to earn your food with exercise of justify the space you inhabit.


If you are concerned about your well-being during the holiday season, it can help to have a plan in place beforehand. Reach out to a therapist or your primary care physician and know what your next steps will be if you feel like you're in trouble. Consider asking a friend or loved one to check in with you every once in a while and help you take the next step in your plan. Are there any boundaries you can pre-emptively put in place with friends or family members? Perhaps spend some time journaling about your expectations for this season and, if needed, adjust them a bit to be more realistic. As always, you can reach out to the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. Maybe save it in your phone now so you have it when you need it. If you would prefer to text, you can also send HOME to 741741 to get in contact with the Crisis Text Line. If you're struggling with an eating disorder, you can find the hours and other information for the National Eating Disorder online chat, phone, and text services here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline

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