Topic Tuesdays: Advice

Yes, SAD Happens in the Summer Too.

Way back when the blog was just starting up, I wrote an article about what the Winter Blues are and how it affects tons of people around the world experiencing the cold season. It makes sense; cold weather and limited sunlight make everything dim and gray. Nothing shines bright, the sun goes down way too early in the day, and there’s really nothing you can do besides stay in bed and stay warm. Commonly, people are more “alive” when the weather gets warmer. Students are off of school, families go on vacations, friends can hang out with each other, and the days are longer. While yes, all of that is great to have during the summer, the hot weather doesn’t give some of us the same feeling it gives to everyone else.

For me, I get the most depressed during the summer season and yes, it’s totally normal to feel this way.

I am (and forever will be) a person who feels more alive during the colder seasons of the year. Even though my favorite season is spring, the wintertime is singlehandedly the only season out of the year when I feel my greatest. I am more alive, adventurous, and oddly enough – I am more confident during the chillier seasons. I realize that as I get older and the summer season comes every year, I do feel this wave of depression and lack in confidence. It’s not even because society created annoying and shallow things like Summer Bodies and whatnot, but simply because I and summer do not mix well. Like, at all.

Before you read this post and say “But Liz, how can anyone get depressed during the summer; winter depression makes more sense to have!” Let me give you a generalized definition of what SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is:

A mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year.

In other words, SAD can happen to anyone at any time during the year, as long as the behavior you have during a certain time period happens during the same time period every year. It’s only common in the wintertime because a lot of people get depressed during the months of November, December, January, and February. Despite these months having gray skies, shorter days, and colder weather, these months are typically the months where families come together for the holidays, as well as couples doing the whole midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve and celebrating Valentine’s Day. Summer just feels more liberating. You feel free to do whatever you want, and you could have all the fun you want. It only makes sense as to why people are happy during the summer.

Personally, I find myself depressed from June, July, August, and halfway into September. This summer alone, I’ve had a couple of rocky weeks where I didn’t feel anything but sadness. The summer makes me feel like I’m trapped. These last few weeks, it has been really hot in the city, and whenever it gets hot like this I tend to stay in my bedroom where my AC is located. It’s the coolest room in the house and for the last month, I’ve been pretty much cooped up in my room with no social interaction, to be honest. It gets tiresome after awhile, but the summertime doesn’t allow me to be productive in the way that I would be in the wintertime.

If you ever feel like this yet you still feel weird for being the only person who hates summer, girl you are not alone. Here are some of the reasons why I get summer depression and how I try to cope with it:

  • I physically get sick in the heat. One reason why I don’t like to do anything in the excessive heat is that I am prone to get really sick. My stomach twists into a knot, I honestly feel like I have an upset stomach, and I get bad dizzy spells if I’m in the heat for too long. I won’t lie; getting this way does cause me a great deal of anxiety during the summertime, but one thing I try to do to cope with this is taking a Motrin before I go anywhere and stay hydrated 24/7. I literally carry around the same orange water bottle (thank you, Obie, for giving me one) with water wherever I go. If there are days when I literally can’t get out of the house because I am feeling just way too sick, I try to make plans on days that aren’t going to cause me any heat sickness. This past week, I’ve been feeling like absolute shit, so I haven’t made a decent plan in a long time.
  • I don’t like to show off my skin. Because I am on the heavier side, I find myself struggling to find cute summer clothes that will keep me cool and still be something I can be confident in. Personally, scarves, hoodies, coats, sweaters, and my denim jacket are all things that make me feel good about myself. For as long as I could remember, I love to layer my clothes on. In the summer, I always have to keep the attire light so that I can stay cool, but sometimes I feel shitty because I never feel cute or confident in my clothing. I feel like people stare at me because I have to show skin in the summer in order to stay cool, so whenever my arms or legs are exposed to the outside world, I get really insecure, which can lead to my depression.
  • You have too much time on your hands. Having too much time on my hands is a blessing and a curse. I know in a month and a half from now, I am going to be wishing that I was back on vacation doing nothing and sleeping all day. Weird to say, but my schoolwork keeps me busy. Because I am so focused in on completing all my assignments and such, I don’t have time to be dwelling on this that I won’t normally give the light of day. During the summer, I am home most of the day which means I have time to overthink and put myself down. This last month I allowed myself to think about too many things, and I was constantly worrying and thinking about the things that weren’t a big deal in the first place.
  • You are a “sweater.” When yes, sweating is the body’s way of trying to keep cool, some people just sweat excessively, even when they aren’t doing anything physical to cause the sweating. My partner can play basketball in the hot weather for 2 hours straight and still not sweat in the amounts that I do just sitting down and watching him play. Yes, this is a Poughkeepsie vacation observation. I was cursed being the “sweater” and I absolutely hate being it. My face gets absolutely flushed, sweat will drip down my face and down my back, my clothes will be drenched in sweat, and my hair will be completely wet from root to end. It’s absolutely embarrassing for me to enter a room of people looking like a literal hot mess.
  • There’s just something about the summer that always makes me sad. I don’t know what it could possibly be, but something just doesn’t feel right during the summer. Every little thing bothers me, I tend to get into arguments with people, and I’m always on edge in the summer. Maybe it’s everything that I explained combined into one, but I tend to never feel like myself during the hotter months of the year.

It’s fine that you’re not a summer person; it doesn’t mean that you are a cold and bitter person that hates sunlight and good vibes. Your good vibes and “sunlight” are just different from everyone else’s. Don’t think just because you’re depressed during the summer means anything different from winter depression. It’s the absolute same thing, which means that it will be over once the summer season comes to an end.

Just hold on, take care of yourself, keep cool, and surround yourself with things that make you happy during this dreaded hot season.

 

-Liz. (:

 

 

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