Expectations v Reality

For the last few weeks I have been feeling the pressure of summer arriving. Sure it’s warmer and we can get out more, if we want to but what about those of us who don’t want to?!

The Autumn and Winter can bring their own advantages for people like me. Tucked up under a blanket with a warm drink and feeling safe, that is what I love about the colder months. The expectations of being seen out and about are minimal given that everyone wants to be inside more.

There is another difference for me, the stimulation is dulled to a level that I can handle. It get’s darker earlier and night time is my safe zone. (I would happily be nocturnal I think). The daytime light can be too much to cope with, more noise and chaos about (mostly when I’m on my own or without other adults). In welcome company I am distracted and do enjoy being outside. Sports have never been much of a personal interest for me, walking in the countryside has always been my escape from it all. Being able to look all directions and see nothing but mother nature, that’s much more freeing to me. So I will be the one sat down while others run about or in my car with music, I love that too.

For those with an eating disorder the summer brings a truck load of difficulties. Clothes being the main one, what to wear? How do we stay comfortable and sheltered in the same outfit? We are often uncomfortable in revealing outfits and I am no exception. Being past the days of covering up so much I sweat and feel worse, I now have the task of finding something suitably comfortable that fits. This means shopping in a busy place, even to get to one shop. I put it off until the very last possible moment.

In the UK we will be bombarded with images, adverts and even programmes dedicated to selling you the ‘summer body you want’. It is both infuriating and saddening. The focus on crash dieting your body to meet society’s messed up ideal!

I may have made progress but I am not completely past the worry of judgement in this time of year. I accept I’m overweight and most of the time I feel ok, even confident in my own skin. Right now I am a little vulnerable with my increased anxiety and that magnifies all the negatives my mind holds. It’s a daily battle with myself between the positives and hiding in the dark place letting it be my buffer to the expectations arriving.

I have wondered if I am alone in carrying this tension, or are others feeling like me while the majority relish in the arrival of a new season? The thread I contribute to has been unusually quiet over the last week. Could this pressure be pushing us back towards the ED to cope be it consciously or subconsciously, leaving us less able to deal with other challenges? Add this to then recent end of half term for those of us with children, it has to be a ditch many slip into around now.

For me half term was a relief from school runs but a loss of routine or time for me to have space and quiet. Being referee, entertainer and taxi takes its toll. Food is often adhock on outings which is never that great with BED, its all to easy to slip into ‘well I started’ mode and eating can very quickly run out of control. I am still getting back on track from this.

Normally work is thrown into the mix too. Deadlines and kids do not mix. If we have holiday childcare we feel guilty for not being present and if we’re off work we feel pressure to make it exciting. You can see where food is a comfort and readily accepted, kicking off the chaos of guilt cycle again.

I’m sure we will have good days and laugh but today I feel very strongly that in a few months I will welcome darker nights, blankets and warm clothes with a sense of relief.

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