Summertime sunshine doesn’t make Mental Health issues magically disappear

I want to be the type of person who WANTS to be around a lot of people, who accepts invitations and actually goes, who can sit around and mindlessly talk and have a drink, who can stay awake past 10 pm (I think this is something I lost in the hospital the day I gave birth over a decade ago). I want to be fun and maybe sometimes to my kids I am, but to other adults, not so much. I am a little too honest at times, a little too, “my kids are driving me nuts, when does camp start,” while they are a little too, “Summer with my kids are my happy place.” I kid you not, I live in a neighborhood where people ACTUALLY talk like that.

Summertime is a time of year where we are constantly bombarded with images of what we SHOULD be doing, how we SHOULD look and the clothes we SHOULD be wearing, like we have been suddenly cast in a beach themed musical with perfectly scored music to accompany our magazine worthy outdoor feast! It is just so ridiculous, our issues, both mental and physical don’t pack up and take a vacation so we can enjoy ourselves worry free, so we need to learn to “adult up” and learn to manage both our health and our expectations during the Summer and decide what our limitations are and what makes these situations more tolerable.

“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.”
-Jasmine Warga, My Heart and Other Black Holes

Pools, Swimming, Pool Parties

This is a big one for basically anyone with a body, it is even harder for those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Eating Disorders, Agoraphobia, Anxiety...in theory it seems so easy; put on bathing suit, grab towel, apply sunscreen, have fun; but in reality, it seems harder to do than move a mountain. It isn’t essential to say yes to all invitations, but it might be a goal to accept and actually go, so here are some tips:
Buy a suit that you LIKE, not that anyone else has to like, but that makes you feel good. For both guys and girls and those who are non binary, pick a good cover up, they serve as good sun protection and a little like armor when you don’t feel confident enough YET to actually reveal your swimsuit.
Remember, while there are the lucky few that seem naturally happy and confident in this world, try to assume that even they have bad days, that we all have bad days, but the universal truth is that we usually get through them and learn from them.
Even showing up for a few minutes is a huge win, bring a host/hostess gift, say a few “hellos” and then give your regrets and leave with your head held high.
If at all possible, have a friend, partner or spouse there to have your back, wingmen/women are amazing support during situations where you feel uncomfortable.

“I once read in my physics book that the universe begs to be observed, that energy travels and transfers when people pay attention. Maybe that's what love really boils down to--having someone who cares enough to pay attention so that you're encouraged to travel and transfer, to make your potential energy spark into kinetic energy.”
― Jasmine Warga, My Heart and Other Black Holes

The Bloody Heat

Sweating and being hot is hard on a lot of bodies, especially those with Autoimmune Diseases where it can send you into a full blown flare. Staying indoors in the cool is something that is better for your health, but missing out on outdoor fun can be hard on your mental well being. Covering up is a must, planning outdoor activities in the shade and at dusk are ideal, but you are not always the one making the plans. It is completely fine however to ask for accomodations. Ask if there will be shade, prepare for contingencies, umbrella, hat, SPF clothing, water and electrolyte drinks.

“It’s never overreacting to ask for what you want and need.”
― Amy Poehler

As people on a general path that includes keeping our heads above water and not drowning (you thought I was going to say enlightenment, NOPE, we are not even close to that path), let’s support one another along the way. Go out of your way to make those around you feel supported and loved and hopefully in turn, that love and support will come back to you. -Team SG

Resources:
https://body-dysmorphic-disorder.supportgroups.com/
https://self-esteem.supportgroups.com/
https://eating-disorder.supportgroups.com/
https://lupus.supportgroups.com/

Summer

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