Depression and anorexia at Christmas

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Posted on 16/12/2015 by Mental Health Selfies |

As part of our #mentalhealthselfie series, Olivia shares her tips on coping with depression and anorexia at Christmas.

Coming up to the Christmas festive season now, I felt that a post like this would probably be quite beneficial to a number of people.

I know how much of a struggle Christmas can be to so many people that are suffering from mental health problems and from previous experience I know that it doesn’t go away. 

So many people expect that over Christmases and birthdays and, say, New Year as well, we’re automatically supposed to be happy.  We’re not supposed to be anxious.  Apparently we should be able to eat a full Christmas meal.  Apparently wanting to die is completely irrational.

...mental health doesn’t stop for part of a year.  It’s a constant in an individual’s life and it takes so much courage and determination to fight each day.

That is said by so many people – those statements – and I completely disagree because mental health doesn’t stop for part of a year.  It’s a constant in an individual’s life and it takes so much courage and determination to fight each day. And then be belittled by people who think that we shouldn’t feel that way when we’ve got every right to.

So, for someone with depression, I want you to remember that you’re allowed to be sad.  If you need to cry, cry.  Don’t let people belittle you into thinking that you should be happy. 

You might have a bad day on Christmas Day and as awful as that feels, you’ll get through it.  It’s 24 hours out of… so many 24 hours you’ve survived and you can survive this next one. 

If you need time out, if things get too much with family, then take yourself elsewhere.  Don’t wait until you’re completely overflowing.  Take yourself out of the situation. 

If it’s safe enough to do so, go for a walk.  Go outside.  Get some fresh air.  Come back, get a hot chocolate, and sit on the sofa.  You don’t have to do anything.

For someone with an eating disorder, I’m mainly going to cover restrictive eating disorders like anorexia.  That’s just because personal experience… I know how to deal with that better.  Eat what you can cope with and what you can manage. 

If you can’t manage a full Sunday roast Christmas dinner, don’t worry.

If you can’t manage a full Sunday roast Christmas dinner, don’t worry.  There will be a year when you can manage it and you’ll feel on top of the world that you did it.  Granted, it may not be this year, but it may be next year.  You never know.  If you want to give it a shot, then have a smaller portion.  There’s nothing stopping you.

In regards to food in general over festive season, it can be kind of difficult.  There’s obviously going to be loads of chocolate and nice foods, the fridge stocked up full, cupboards full, but if it’s too much for you, then, you know, that’s okay, but by all means, if you want a challenge, then challenge it because I know I will be this year.

Too many Christmases have been spent with depression and eating disorder and anxiety and – unfortunately – self-harm.  I’m more determined than ever to soldier on and make a difference. 

So, I hope that this video has been able to help at least one person and if it has, then I’d be over the moon.  So… yes.  Thank you for watching.


For support all year round read our info on depression and eating problems. You can watch more #mentalhealthselfies on our Youtube channel or read more blogs about coping at Christmas here.

Categories: Christmas

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