Anorexia and Summer. Summer is my favourite season. I love the sunshine and being warm. But I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. Summer as a child meant playing outside all the time with friends and having fun. I don’t have that now but that is what I would love. Playing outside isn’t something adults do. And whilst some adults may lounge around in their back garden, soaking up the rays, this is something I find difficult to do. I could sit out there for 30-45mins but that would be my limit. My stress levels induced from sitting down would be at their max.
Most people wouldn’t think twice to sunbathing in their back garden but to me, it just causes anxiety. Sitting down is stressful. And I am well aware that not sitting down is a bad habit. But from how I used to be, I have come quite a long way. I sit down much more now than I used to. I’m fine with sitting down in the evening and I can just about cope with sitting down during the day when I have to, provided it is not for too long.
But when it is my choice to sit down, when I could otherwise be standing, that is what I find difficult. But, as I say, I have got a lot better and I do allow myself to sit down now. Yes it is to a certain time limit, but I do it, whereas before I would go from waking in the morning to sleeping at night with barely a moment off my feet. For years I longed to be able to sit down, to just rest my legs. But I couldn’t. If I wasn’t exercising, I had to at least be standing.
I am so glad I am not restrained as much to that habit anymore but, as I mention, the habit is still there and not completely broken as I do still find sitting for prolonged periods quite difficult. But, if I were to have a good enough reason to sit down, I would do it. Whilst I struggle to enjoy the sunshine sitting in my back garden, I actually think about how lovely it would be to have a friend round and just chill in the sun.
But is that is my longing for best friends creeping up again? I don’t know. But I don’t think it is unreasonable to want to have friends that can come round who you can relax with. And that is going to be my goal for next summer…to have friends round for the afternoon to sunbathe in the back garden. Hopefully I will have the friends and reduced stress levels to do this.
Although that is the aim for next summer, I have made achievements in the summers of the past few years. Summer 2009 I had just been discharged after a hard, year-long admission to hospital. Anorexia and summer was not an enjoyable. I would get up at 5am to start exercising in the house before taking to the streets to walk mile after mile, hour after hour. It was hot, torturous and exhausting. When I arrived back home at the end of the day after pounding the streets I would treat myself. Now, for most people a treat may be something like a piece of cake or a chocolate bar. My treat for the gruelling exercise I had just completed? An ice cube. That was my reward. Between a very small breakfast and an even smaller dinner, I would look forward to my ice cube in the afternoon.
But this week, as I’ve been driving home from work after 9 hour shifts in the sweltering heat of the kitchen, I’ve been planning my evening snack. And I have thought, “You know what, I’m boiling hot and I really fancy an ice-cream”. So, my evening snacks this week have included a blackcurrant ice-cream lolly, strawberry frozen yoghurt, and an orange Solero! And I am able to say that they were all very tasty! It does make me feel guilty to admit to liking food but, like the sitting down, I think this is something I need to try and overcome. Anorexia tells you that you should not…you MUST not like food and to do so is a betrayal and a failure. I feel ashamed for liking food. And to admit on here, in writing, that I did actually enjoy something is actually very scary. But I’ve done it.
So, whilst I am still restrained A LOT by my anorexia on a daily basis, I have made slight changes and they are edging me, baby step by baby step, closer to breaking free from my prison cell. And yes, at the moment I am too scared and not ready to be completely free, but I must remind myself that it is a good thing to slightly loosen the shackles of anorexia. Life is meant to be enjoyed and I should be allowed to have at least SOME enjoyment. Anorexia will not rob me of this. And the ice-creams were much more enjoyable than the ice-cube.