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December 22, 2014

Eating Disorders and Holidays: Giving Back

Contributor: Nikki DuBose, writer of Eating Disorder Hope

I cherish the array of feelings I receive when I send family and loved ones cards or presents in the mail. Just imagining their bright, beaming faces puts warmth in my heart.

Nothing sets my soul afire and brings me peace quite like knowing that the holiday season has arrived. As a little girl this magical time brought my family together and allowed me to feel safe and secure.

As I grew older, my vision of enchantment grew into something dark and repulsive. Celebrations meant having to choose between families, and within the depths of my eating disorders, the holidays literally brought me to life and death.

The Anxiety of the Holidays

My anxiety levels soared with each dinner party, family dinner, and festive dish that popped up and I buried my feelings in the food time after time.

I believed that the festivities were a perfect opportunity to hide my secrets, but what I didn’t realize was that my hidden behaviors were deeply affecting myself and others around me. I had designed an illusionary world that I thought I could control, but I was blind to reality.

I was killing myself, and many people in my life suffered as a result. Friends, family, loved ones, and co-workers were in a profound amount of emotional pain, and many times they had no idea how to approach me about my health.

Putting My Mental Health First

abstract-71283_640I became extremely self-absorbed as a result of my disorders and lifestyle choices, and my life became all about control and how to manipulate others to adapt to my feelings and needs.

The holiday season always brings about a new set of challenges, and I know that no matter what, I must put my mental health first and constantly practice self-care.

I have been blessed with a wonderful mentor over the years who has guided me through the spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of recovery. The most critical step I take every day is giving back to myself and others.

Giving the Gift of Recovery

The holidays are a perfect time to give a gift, and therefore I choose to lavish myself with presents of life and love. When I give to myself first, I have more goodness to spread to the world. Every time I choose recovery, I present myself with the greatest treasures.

Choosing life and saying no to anything that doesn’t serve me allows me to experience all of the phenomenal things that my Higher Power has intended for my unique journey.

Giving Back Is Priceless

tonsterne-554283_640When I support and lend a helping hand to someone else, I am stepping outside of my selfish nature, choosing love and sharpening my character. My disorders and addictive personality want me to isolate and to live within my limited box.

Loving others and sharing throughout the holidays and all throughout the year helps to break the negative chains that threaten to hold me in my mental cell. Navigating with my recovery throughout the unpredictable holiday season has taught me just how valuable life truly is; giving back is a priceless, timeless gift.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What does giving yourself the gift of life and love look like to you? What are things you do to treat yourself in order refresh and give back to others?


 
About the Author:

Nikki DuBose is a former model, host, and actress who has recently turned her career focus towards writing, public speaking, and mental health advocacy. She is a passionate dynamic voice in the mental health field and seeks to encourage others to develop a strong sense of their intrinsic value and self-worth.

Nikki grew up in charming Charleston, South Carolina and currently splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Seattle, Washington. After traveling the globe and working as a fashion model and commercial actress in exciting destinations such as the Middle East, Paris, Barcelona, and London, she was inspired to leave the industry to pursue writing full time.

Her writing is focused on encouraging others to overcome the deadly grip of eating disorders that affect millions. She draws firsthand experience from a long-standing battle with bulimia, anorexia, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, and a wide range of mental health issues.

Her first book is set to be released next year and recounts her life struggles and ultimate triumph over the mental disorders that plagued her for most of her life. She has been published in multiple articles for The National Eating Disorders Association for her hope, strength, and community outreach initiatives.

She continues to write and advocate for NEDA, connect with people around the world through her website, and speak and assist with various other organizations covering various mental health issues, body image, and self-esteem.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

Last Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern on December 13th, 2014
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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