Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Chronic Illness and the Seasons

For me, Autumn is the best season to be chronically ill. In theory, summer should be best, because it is (again, in theory) hot and warmth is good for my joints, but the problem with summer is the clothing. I pretty much have to wear lace-up boots that cover my ankle and have a sturdy sole, and while this is fine for me apart from on very hot days, it does not fit in with other people's perceptions of what my summer footwear should consist of. This past summer, I did finally find the perfect pair of sandals from Dr Martens and while I love them, I couldn't wear them all the time because they just aren't supportive enough.


It isn't just the footwear that causes a problem in summer though, it's the rest of my clothes. I have to keep my body warm, because cold limbs = pain, stiff, locked joints and general badness. And unfortunately, I have a body that is tough to keep warm. I can go all the way to about 23 degrees (with minimal exercise) and still be happy in jeans or 200 denier tights. Again, this makes me look a bit weird. It's only on the (very rare) occasions that we have a hot enough day or if I'm away in a hotter country, that I go bare-legged.

My personal favourite season is winter, the antithesis to summer. I can wear all my layers and my boots without standing out, but the weather is often so cold that, no matter how much I like it, it's almost impossible for me to stay warm enough to be comfortable, especially out of the house.

This leaves Spring and Autumn. Spring pretty much has to be dismissed outright because I am NOT a pastel-shades kinda girl. Which brings me to Autumn. All those things able-bodied people romanticise Autumn for are pretty essential for me as a person with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Autumn means I can wear my jumpers and my scarves and my big coats and my boots and not only not be out of place, but be bang-on re appropriate seasonal clothing AND warm and comfortable. Autumn means not being quite as cold as in winter. Autumn means russet and forest green and grey and black and all those other colours I like. Autumn means justifiable reasons to stay in (it's cold, it's dark, Bake Off/Strictly/Period Drama du jour is on) which makes me feel better as a person who often has to stay in. Autumn means hot drinks and blankets and stews and soups which are all things that make me feel more comfortable. Autumn means comfort full stop.

And comfort, as a chronically ill person, is one of the end-goals of any scenario. It's rare I'll find myself pain or fatigue free, or sans any kind of symptom or side-effect, but if I'm experiencing these things while comfortable, I can cope much better. I can be better-humoured.

If you're chronically ill, which season is best for you? And if not, what's your favourite season in general?

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