Worth Living Ambassador Lorna Morrison
My name is Lorna Morrison and I am a 22 year old Film and Television graduate. I blog about mental health and my recovery from an eating disorder in the hopes that I can aid others to seek the help they deserve. You can follow me on IG @bitingback_blog
and on my personal blog at https://bitingback1995.blogspot.co.uk
Supporting a Loved One through the Christmas Period (Eating Disorders)
The festive period can be hard for those who are dealing with eating disorders. I know for me personally, when I was still in my eating disorder mind set, Christmas was my favourite time of year but also the time when I struggled most mentally. The thought of sitting around a table eating with people, having photos taken, and being surrounded by chocolate tins was something that filled me with massive amounts of anxiety.
I know that if you have to support somebody that you care about who is struggling with an eating disorder, it can also have an impact on you so I thought that I would like to write a post to give you some advice on how to help your loved one to make things easier for them and for yourself.
Let’s get into the advice…
• Don’t sit and watch them whilst they eat. I know this will be hard as you will want to make sure they are eating but trust me this will make things worse as they may become paranoid, people are judging them for how much they are eating and this can subsequently result in eating disorder behaviours.
• Something that is similar to the first point is avoid praising them for how much they have eaten as this can make them think they have over eaten. Just don’t discuss what they are eating/not eating.
• Acknowledge that the loved one will most likely struggle at some point over the festive period, have a discussion with them so that they are aware you are there for them when things may get on top of them. You may have already learnt what triggers them, so if you can see that they are struggling, let them know in private that you are there for them if they need to talk.
• Set a plan of action ahead of time as to what they would find helpful if they do become stressed/anxious.
• You could help them create an eating plan so that they have no shock as to what food will be placed in front of them and they can prepare for this rather than being put under pressure when the time comes for the plate to be put in front of them.
• Plan activities for after meals to help keep their minds distracted from what they may have eaten. This could be getting a board game out that somebody received as a present and having the whole family sit around to play it. I found this extremely helpful when I was struggling with afterthoughts.
• With the new year also approaching at this time, the “diet” talk may come up around the table. Refrain from talking about weight gain, weight loss or things associated with this topic as people struggling with an eating disorder may find this triggering.
• Lastly please be patient! I know this can be hard as it can be difficult to see someone you love feeling this way but try not to get frustrated with them because this can make things worse for them as they start to feel guilt. Just let them know that you’re there for them. Also do not blame yourself for what they are going through! Try to focus on spending time with them and other loved ones and creating an enjoyable, memorable day for all involved.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!