Summertime Sadness – Summer SAD is actually a thing too

I freaking hate summer. While most people are happy that the sun is out, the weather is warmer, it’s light for longer and the flowers are blooming, I’m usually inside hiding from sunburn, serious allergies, excessive sweating and headache inducing brightness. I also get the same feelings of exhaustion, listlessness and what’s-the-point ick that I know a lot of people get during the winter months, a condition know as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that has been receiving more acknowledgement in the last few years as a legit mental health condition. But did you know summertime SAD is actually a thing too? Turns out I’m not the only one who suffers from it, which is actually kind of a relief. Similarly to how winter SAD sufferers feel like they are excluded from the seasonal joy of holidays such as Christmas, us summer SAD sufferers have the same feeling about our Instagram being full of sun worshippers having a grand old time while we just cannot relate. There are some biology- based theories about the causes of both winter SAD to do with light exposure and circardian rhythms, but summer SAD is a bit more of a mystery. Some mice-based research suggests that the winter born mini floofs are more likely to have SAD, but isn’t necessarily applicable to humans and in my case is dead wrong, having been born in August (I’ve always been different…) There are definitely some environmental factors I know cause me to feel super grumpy which I shall share with you here…. Groan lethargically if you can relate….

Allergies – why would I be happy when summer is legit trying to kill me? As soon as those beautiful buds start to bloom, I’m pretty much trapped inside the house so I can breathe. It got particularly bad a few summers ago when I started having a reaction to both pollen in the air and traces of pollen on food – if I eat raw fruit or veg my tongue gets tingly and then swells like a giant slug, and my face puffs up like a blowfish. I can’t even have it in winter and have to take two hardcore allergy tablets to deal with it. No fruit salad for me.

Heat – I’m super sensitive to the temperature outside my body, more like a reptile than the fluffy mammal I am in my soul, so as soon as the temperature goes up, I am on fire, and not in a good way. Not only can I not cool down, but things get awful sweaty awful fast…. It’s not pleasant. Sleeping in the heat? Not going to happen. Snuggling and being cosy in the duvet are essential happy-making exercises for me which are not so good in the summer. It makes public transport extra icky, exercise even more difficult to do and then there’s chub rub. And can designers make affordable, flattering, cool plus size summer clothes? Can they bollocks. All I can say is Thank God for cotton stretch cycle shorts.

Insomnia – It’s light at 4am. 4AM. In the MORNING. There should only be one 4 o’clock a day, and it should involve afternoon tea (emphasis on afternoon). Although I’m quite happy to get up earlier when it’s light so I can go out without actually bursting into flames, I mean like 7am. With that and the oppressive heat that stops me sleeping until at least midnight, my daily siesta would ideally be from 11am to 4pm for me to get enough sleep to function and miss the searing midday sun. Turns out that’s not how most of society works here in the UK. Nothing makes you more grumpy than always being tired.

Sunburn – I used to think I just didn’t burn that easily when I was a kid, but it quickly turned out my Mum was just super on it with the high factor sunscreen. Cue inevitable burning as I got older. Turns out I’m actually pretty easy to burn and it creeps up on me too. Many a time have I gone to sleep and woken up bright red and aflame when I thought I’d got away with it. Ouch.

Why is it so bright though? – I know, it’s the sun, but really during the summer I’m blinded by any light surface including my own pale skin. That and the heat causes headaches that have me donning sunglasses and collapsing onto sofas dramatically like a Hollywood Diva.

August desert effect – August is weird because even once you’ve left school or university, it still feels like this empty, oppressively hot social desert where everyone fucks off on holiday and there’s just not really much going on. Everyone’s normal routines are out of wack so you just end up drifting round not really achieving anything or seeing anyone much, and that’s peak conditions for a heavy dose of nihilism. The only good thing is that means is getting close to September, and for me that’s the run up to my favourite season of them all; Autumn!

The actual worst thing this year is that the only thing that is better in summer, THE ONLY THING, ice-cream, I shouldn’t really have due to blood sugar issues. *throws hissy fit* But I guess that gives me an excuse to try some home made varieties.

All in all, summer, for some of us, is pretty bleak. Hopefully you’re sat inside, somewhere cool and shaded, drinking iced lattes, eating chocolate affogatos, listening to Summertime Sadness and commiserating with your fellow summer SAD sufferers. That or you’re on your way to Alaska, you lucky thing.

As always, be kind to yourselves,

Amy X

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