Thursday, 6 June 2013

Summer SAD

Don’t get me wrong - I adore the sunshine and the gorgeous, balmy days of early and late Summer, but July and August…I could do without.
Give me a fresh Autumn, throw in some Winter fun and snow, give me a bountiful Spring and a hint of Summer and I’m okay. July and August drown me in the depths of hell…and feel just as hot.

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook and Instagram (Please do not use without permission)

Seriously though, many people, thought to be close to 2million in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as the ‘Winter Blues’*…but it is far less known that a Summer equivalent exists, affecting just 600,000 in the UK**. I happen to be one of this number.

Just as Winter SAD sufferers wish to hibernate and sleep, I feel the same during the hot, seemingly everlasting Summer months. I also thought I was the only one. When I first read of Summer SAD in Reader’s Digest, and mentioned it to my GP, I thought he’d laugh, instead he told me it not only existed, but was recognised.

I’d spent years suffering depression and thought my bouts of February/March depressive states were pretty much mild Winter Blues…and expected after the excitement and subsequent anti-climax of Christmas, but when I consulted my diaries I found my depressive states were more often found Mid-Summer, when we’re expected to feel sunny, happy and alive. The ‘hot’ months would find me exhausted, tired, irritable and very agitated.
My February/March bouts, when examined, were almost always part of a prolonged clinical depression and not confined to those two months as I’d mistakenly believed. This last Winter, for example, perhaps one of the longest we Brits have experienced for a while, was not a problem. I wasn’t keen on the excessive rain…who is? but it’s now, with Summer finally advancing, that my anxiety levels are creeping upwards and my loathing for Summer heat is coming to the fore.

Again, it’s important to add, that I love the sunshine and Summer warmth, and the long evenings…but when many are out sunbathing, lazing on the beach or just enjoying being outdoors, I would rather be inside escaping the Mid-Summer heat.
If we don’t like the cold, we can wrap up warm, cuddle beneath a fleece, sit by a warm fire, but if we can’t stand the heat we can’t always get out of the kitchen!
I am, however, learning to make the most of Summer, going to the beach in the evening, doing my ‘outside’ work early and appreciating the good things of the season: strawberries, watermelon, ice-cream and fresh salads…
I’m also working on my anxiety and panic levels, attending a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course and hope that I can control my Summer month emotions much better.

My perfect temperatures are anywhere between 18 and 24˚C (64 - 75˚F). Thankfully, it’s only June and the temperature is a wonderful 20˚C (68˚F) and I’ll be enjoying the sun for a few more weeks yet. I don’t plan on moving anywhere the temperature tops 30˚C (86˚F) so I might be okay!

How hot do you like it?

Then again, maybe I should just take a siesta when it all gets too much, which could last July through August…waking me in time for a fresh September and the gorgeous turning of the trees!


Figures found here:
*www.sad.org.uk
**www.depressionalliance.org

6 comments:

  1. I'd never heard of this before. But then it never gets VERY hot in the North East and being on the coast we sometimes get days of sea fret rolling around keeping the temperatures down! Summer colours and temperatures are most welcome after a couple of days like that!
    My biggest bug bear of the summer is the long summer holiday with the boys off school and not knowing what to do with them. But then we've always struggled with holidays in our house.
    Hope this summer isn't too bad for you and thanks for sharing.

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    1. I struggle with the long Summer Holidays too, I always thought four weeks in Summer and Four weeks at Christmas would be better - share them out a bit! I can manage four weeks, if pushed, the last two are usually tiresome! lol

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  2. I like summer, but I much prefer winter. I don't do so well in the heat; I get heat rash, heat bumps on my hand and if I get too hot I get dizzy.
    Give me some nice winter chill and I'm fine. I spend most of the summer months wishing for winter to come back.

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    1. Yup, I'm the same and so are my kids. I love Autumn, I feel refreshed and invigorated, Winter is fun because Christmas arrives, then Spring brings renewal and a spark...but Summer just gets too hot and I look forward to Autumn again!

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  3. I always feel guilty that I don't enjoy summer more, but I find myself longing for dark nights, cloudy skies, and fresher air. The hot air in July and August feels stagnant and cloying, with the only movement being insects that seem as irritable as me. But I've spent lovely afternoons and mornings at the beach in the height of summer, and that's the key - avoid those midday hours, and if you can squeeze in a siesta, then so much the better. It's obviously quite rare to feel this way, but it's nice to know I'm not alone :-)

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    1. You're definitely not alone, I have friends who adore the sunshine and heat, but others who can't stand it...so are a fair few of us! Thanks for commenting Trudy :)

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