You may recall my post a few weeks ago regarding the Springtime blues. Well, the seasonal blues post is back, but this time referring to Summer. This is often the hardest season for those struggling with Eating Disorders and body image issues. And you may be able to imagine why.
Summer tends to be a time that most people look forward to. It’s finally beach-weather, time for pool parties and vacations. However, for someone struggling with eating issues, these things that people look forward to are dreadful. These events mean getting into a bathing suit and being surrounded by others also in bathing suits. That is incredibly difficult for someone who struggles with their body image. Of course, you don’t have to choose to get into a bathing suit, but you likely will be the only person not wearing one, and feel further isolated or like you’re an outsider watching life go by. You could choose to not put yourself in these situations, but that probably isn’t a good choice either since you aren’t living your life. It’s a problem if you are consistently turning down invitations to doing something with family or friends because of your Eating Disorder. It will lead to feeling more isolated which can and will perpetuate the Eating Disorder.
Summer is fast-approaching here on Long Island with temperatures nearing the 90s. That means we can’t hide behind and under layers of clothes like we can during other seasons. If we want to avoid passing out from heat-exhaustion, just like animals shed their heavier coats for the warmer weather, we must shed our layers. This means we have more skin and more of our bodies exposed. It leads to increased anxiety and self-consciousness. We may choose to stay indoors instead of going outside whenever we can in an attempt to avoid showing our bodies. Again, this leads to increased feelings of isolation.
Similar to what I talked about in my Springtime Blues post, it’s very hard to experience watching everyone else being seemingly happy while we are not. This does not go away after Spring as it continues into the Summer. Additionally, Summertime tends to not be as structured as the rest of the year typically is. Structure is important for someone who is struggling with an Eating Disorder and working toward recovery. Lacking structure is one reason that many start to slip back into their Eating Disorders, and with the other factors at play as well as the desire to take more breaks from treatment during the Summer that sometimes happens, it can be a recipe for disaster.
What can we do about this? Well, for starters, know that you are not alone. Other people are going through this too no matter how much you feel it may appear differently. Resist the temptation to take “breaks” from treatment at this time because, while sometimes tempting, you likely are aware that that is not in your best interest. Talk about your feelings and experiences with your therapist so that you can work together to figure out what you can do that will help you in your specific situation. Everyone is different and at different places in their Eating Disorder and in their recovery, so there is not one correct answer for everyone. Talk to your therapist and let them help you through this difficult time and further into your recovery.
I hope you found this post helpful! Please share with anyone else who may be going through something similar. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment or message me privately.
I wish you a Summer in recovery on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder