So in less than a week I will be on holiday in Zante, with my Mum, Dad and Sister.
For the last few years due to poor health we have not been away as a family. My sister had a Scoliosis operation to straighten her spine which had curved to 60-70 degrees. We spent that summer caring for her, teaching her to walk again and visiting the Royal Orthopedic Stanmore Hospital. My mum later got diagnosed with Cancer (Malignant Melanoma) so had an operation at the Royal Free London to remove some of her lymph nodes and 9 procedures following that. My Nanna also then got diagnosed with the same cancer and to top it all off my Granddad had a Heart Attack.
It was a difficult time for all my family and with many tears shared, hope spread and courage fought I am delighted to say we all made it through!
So, last year, as something to look forward too, we booked a 3 week vacation in America. We looked at it as a celebration, a well deserved break and something really exciting! It would be the first time as a family we would go to somewhere other than France or Spain….
…It has been cancelled and its all Anorexia fault!!
The news of this came as quite a shock to me when my family was advised not to go by the doctors and left me feeling I had let the side down…. Yes, yet again Anorexia made me forfeit something I truly wanted!
It was hard to hear and I felt disappointed with myself with only now realising just because it stopped me before, it doesn’t mean I will let it again.
The holiday has been postponed to the same time next year with the only difference being “I WILL be going!”
Anyway, holidays are not easy for me and over the years I have struggled with them, the thought of the unknown, unplanned food, having to wear bikinis and changes from my normal routine. Its strange really as although Holidays are for taking a break, Anorexia never gave me one…
In Zante we are going all-inclusive and although some people would think having plenty of choice would be better for me – the prospect is terrifying. I am not good at making decisions around food and having a large amount of choice can send my head into overdrive. Why? you may ask…
Well firstly Anorexia tries to work out the lowest calorie option, the banned foods I MUST avoid and also, when it comes to actually putting the food on my plate because other people normally do that for me, I would put on the minimum possible.
Anxiety is also high in any social events where eating is involved, I always am paranoid people think I am greedy, that I shouldn’t be eating and that they are judging me for my choices. This is a common problem and for a lot of people I have spoken too in the moment it can seem overwhelming.
When I was at my prom I had to leave the sit down meal because I felt really panicky and ended up hiding outside till it had finished! The worst thing was I was in recovery at the time and desperately wanted to prove I was “ok” but it terrified me so much I couldn’t handle it. Its awful looking back knowing Anorexia ruined that part of the night for me but if I ever get a opportunity similar to that again I will not let it be remembered as the night “Ana won”!
To prevent Anorexia destroying my holiday I have put in place a plan with both CAMHS and my parents. It is as follows…
- At the beginning of the week I will plan what I will have to eat each night
- My mum will serve up all my food as usual
- I will have my own snacks on hand so it is not un predictable
- If the timing of meals causes me issues my mum will help me rationalise my thoughts
- And lastly if things get really difficult we will buy all my food at a local shop instead of eating the hotel food
I can tell already just by the anxiety of the build up that the holiday could possibly be the hardest challenge in my recovery so far. But instead of worrying over what hasn’t yet happened I am going to try my hardest to fight off any negativity and relax on my holiday without Anorexia trying to steal my fun.
I have realised from writing this just some of the power Anorexia had over my life and that by fighting it I can escape this…
“We shouldnt run away from a challenge. Instead we should run straight towards it, as the only way to escape the fear is too trample it beneath your feet”