By nature, I prefer autumn and winter. I like sweaters, fireplaces, halloween, hot drinks, and long-simmered stews. There is something so magical and comforting to me about it. That said, I pretty much feel cold year-round, so I appreciate the spring/summer temperatures wholeheartedly. I like to feel the warmth of the sun. But I like to do so under the cover of an over-sized sweater.
When you have an eating disorder, it’s hard to distinguish between THIS IS JUST ME and THIS IS ME WITH ED (eating disorder). And it’s complicated my relationship with seasons.
Where we currently live, the summers are hot but dry, and cool at night, so I can get by with wearing jeans or long-sleeves. That is very much going to change in a couple of weeks as we head to the southeast, where it’s warm all year long pretty much, and the summers are heavy with heat and humidity. It might seem silly to someone without an ED, but knowing that I will — out of necessity — have to change the way I dress has given me anxiety.
I don’t wear tank tops because seeing my upper arms stresses me out. And, when I do put on a swimsuit, I wear a one piece because seeing my middle stresses me out. And I am able to feel most confident and comfortable when I dress in a way that helps me to feel good about the body I have — not the one I wish I had.
That said, I’m moving to a place that is basically right on the beach, where weekends are spent in as little clothing as possible, while you’re soaking up the sun and trying to stay cool.
Sounds heavenly, right? Well, to me, it’s actually very, very fear-inducing.
Not only is moving to GA bringing on a huge change in location, it is also — I’m realizing — going to bring change to my recovery process. I’ve found a rhythm here — one that worked well for where I was and what I was doing, and all of that is changing. (Most of you are probably not making a drastic move this season, but summer can still be extra troublesome for those with an eating disorder.)
The important thing is that we acknowledge where we are now and make a plan to move forward, always, toward health and full living. I don’t know what my ongoing recovery plan will look like in a few weeks, but I am confident that it is going to be okay.
The other morning I was reading I John 3, and a portion of verse 19 hooked me: “we set our hearts at rest in his presence.” It’s such a beautiful line, and it’s become a bit of a mantra for me these days. Just saying it out loud, countless times throughout the day, has helped to lean more into trust and faith, not fear.
I hope that, no matter where you are, that you are able to enjoy this season to the fullest!
If you have a story about mental illness—whether personal or concerning a loved one—please consider sharing your experience, either by writing a guest post, or doing an interview with me. Even if you aren’t at a place yet where you feel comfortable disclosing your name, the church body needs your voice. Let’s shine a light on the darkness, together.