Vacations stress me out. Not being able to go to a gym every day or prepare all of my own meal gives me anxiety. Not having my daily routine, not knowing exactly what we are going to do, not having the day planned out in blocks of time makes me tense and uneasy. These are all lingering quirks from struggling with an eating disorder for six years in addition to having an anxiety disorder and OCD.
When my family decided to go to Texas for Thanksgiving, I was a little hesitant, and that really bothered me. I only get to see my family from Texas maybe once a year. Getting an opportunity to see them twice this year should have been super exciting, and it was, but it was also kind of scary. I would be spending four days out of my comfort zone. I wouldn't have access to a gym or all of my familiar foods. We would be experiencing a lot of new things, like foods, and that freaked out that tiny bit of my eating disorder left inside of me. I was obsessively overthinking every possible worst-case-scenario situation that could happen based on past travel experience.
But this vacation was different.
For the first time in a long time, I was actually able to relax. I was able to shut off that part of my mind that keeps track of macros and calories. I was able to eat Texas barbecue, Beaver nuggets, deep fried turkey, and lots of ice cream without getting anxious. I went for morning walks with my Aunt, cousin, and dad's girlfriend. But instead of just trying to burn as many calories as possible, I enjoyed conversation with them.
This Thanksgiving, I learned how to truly be thankful: for my family and friends, for my mental and physical health, for the ability to just relax and be present, for my boyfriend, and for being able to live a life not dominated by an eating disorder.