As the UK is hitting summer and the temperature rises, most of the population are digging out their sun hats from the back of their wardrobes and heading to the beach… I on the other hand, remain indoors. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is mostly known for causing symptoms of depression in the winter months, where exposure to sunlight is more limited and the nights draw in early. Summer depression is more uncommon.
People have constantly told me that I am “mad” for hating the sunshine and dreading the summer months. But the summer makes me miserable! My mother told me that when I was a little girl I would always sit under trees to avoid the sun, choosing a bottle of water over an ice cream and sleeping in late to avoid the day time. I am naturally a red head with fair skin, I have never had a tan in my life and get burnt after sitting outside for 15 minutes! Whenever I went abroad on holiday with my family and came back to school people would ask if I had even gone because I came back just as pale as when I left! And no slick oil to help me catch sunrays- its good old thick factor 50+ sunscreen that smells like nappy rash cream!
With the heat rising clothes get less- but with low self esteem and a body covered in self harm scars I do not dare to bare! I love the winter because I can stick with my baggy jumpers and leggings. Summer makes me feel self conscious. Also being fair and not the skinniest of people I sweat so much- reducing my low self esteem to near existent!
I have heard that SAD can occur because a season can trigger negative memories. Summer time was always miserable for me growing up because whilst everyone else was outside having fun with their friends I was stuck indoors, a loner, a freak and with no one to play with. Me and my brother survived the long summer school holidays together by awaking at 5pm and playing video games until 5am. When we were younger and not old enough to stay home alone during the school summer holidays whilst my parents were working me and my brother were shipped off to different child minders and play groups.
As the sun comes out more people also come out- not a good mix if you have anxiety. It’s loud outside- people are everywhere- people are in a rush and they are stressed. All you want to do is walk to the shop to get a loaf of bread and get back to the safety of your house as quickly as you can! Instead their are queue’s everywhere, you always bump into 34567865432 people that you know whilst looking like a sweaty piece of crap and your naturally planned exit becomes blocked.
Of course their is nothing we can do to change the weather. When you have SAD you stop being care free in your life and start surviving. Having depression means that my normal 12hour + long sleep becomes short naps in a hot and stuffy flat- because it is too hot to do anything- and you certainly don’t want to go out in that mad rush! I have been waking up early morning (which I never do) to get things done before the heat hits at 11am, and I won’t brave going out until the evening. It’s a lot more cooler, comfortable and quiet. My friends have been amazing in supporting and understanding that during a hot day I want to hide indoors, in the safety of my bubble, than go to the beach. Although I do love winter walks on the beach 😉