Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. Until the food part became difficult (i.e. eating disorder) and there wasn't much left to the holiday at that point.

Thanksgiving (and Christmas) are the absolute hardest times of year for people with eating disorders (and probably people with any addiction). I remember sitting in a group session with 8-10 anxious, grave-looking women listening to them making commitments about what they would and would not do during Thanksgiving:
"I will not throw-up."
"I will not eat food I don't like, just so I don't have to talk to people."
"I will not eat to make other people happy."
"I will not eat just to make my worried mother feel better about herself and her own eating disorder that she'll never admit to."

I sent an e-mail to a friend this week to ask her how she was going to get through Thanksgiving this year. She said simply, "I'm working so I don't have to." I don't blame her.

When she asked what I was going to do, it felt really good to realize that I didn't have a plan, because I don't need one as much anymore. I went back and read a blog I posted Thanksgiving 2009 and recognized growth:

"I hunger for a normal relationship with food...I wonder what normal people think when they sit down to a meal. Because I'm thinking, "Ughh, don't make me do it." The nerves rage, the anxiety flares up and I'm left at the table like a stubborn 6 year-old who doesn't want to eat her dinner...I wonder what it would be like to not count other people's calories, Two egg salad sandwiches, Naked juice, pumpkin pie: at least 900 calories. That's not normal...I hunger for peace and contentment."

I still hunger for peace and contentment. I'm sure I always will, but this Thanksgiving was different than any in the last five years. Now, this day was full of other kinds of less-than stellar thoughts (school-related stress, relationships, the future) that somewhat overtook my mind, but at this point, that's probably "normal." Regardless, I can say that it was not filled with food/body-related dialogue in my head and for that, I'm grateful.

This is growth.
Even when it hurts.
Even when it's slow.