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Reverse SAD, anyone?

(10 Posts)
merricat Wed 03-Jun-15 13:25:49

I'm starting to wonder if reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder is an actual thing, or if it's just me? Every year, when the weather heats up and daylight hours lengthen, I feel myself sliding into depression. I can't wait for September.

Can anyone relate? Some factors I've noticed:

- Hot weather makes me sweaty, red-faced and miserable, and I start to feel horribly fat. I become hyper-aware of my physical bodily presence. I also get a weird heat rash on my hands, and feel prickly all over. My body just doesn't function well above a certain temperature.

- You know that you're supposed to be having a fabulous time, going on picnics and paddling in rivers and sucking on ice lollies and listening to pop music on the patio and sitting in beer gardens. Other people seem to get a lot out of this. I just want to hide inside with the curtains drawn.

- Hiding inside with the curtains drawn makes you feel pretty pathetic, because you should be out there 'taking advantage of the nice weather', as my grandmother would say. I punish myself for my bad attitude.

- I feel excitement as autumn rolls in, like I can finally be myself again. My concentration levels return. I'm enthusiastic and interested in things again.

Typing it out, it all sounds very petty and whiny. I have depression and anxiety issues anyway, but I'm always worse at this time of year; I can't stand the heat, and the obvious enjoyment everyone else seems to get from it makes me feel like a real outsider. I don't think I'm explaining very well; it's not just the weather (Lord knows we don't have the most predictable summers). It's the whole culture of summer, and the expectations that come with it.

Anyone else, or do I just have an attitude problem?

fluffybunnies246 Wed 03-Jun-15 13:58:53

Hi merricat

Yes there is a thing…google depression in summer and a whole load of stuff comes up.

I get miserable in summer too- but I always put that down to my body issues- I've got self harm scars that I prefer to keep hidden. I too get waaaaaayyyy too hot as a northerner living down south. But people expect you to LOVE summer. I like it when you can start wearing woolly jumpers and put on the fire. I had my last major depressive episode….last summer! So you are not alone. I think it can make a general depressed feeling seem worse, as it highlights the (imagined) differences between how a depressed person feels, and how every one else seems to be acting.

BisleyBoy Wed 03-Jun-15 20:34:02

Yes I get this too...I can guarantee it around July/August. No idea why, but as soon as September comes I start feeling better.

dontrunwithscissors Wed 03-Jun-15 20:51:36

Yes, absolutely. It's a recognised condition.

I remember first feeling low in the summer when I was 16 & it would hit every summer. I wouldn't say it was full-on depression, but j just never felt right during the summer. When I was 34, after DD2, I developed PND, which morphed into bipolar disorder. My bipolar episodes follow the seasonal pattern and I'm always worse in the summer. It's exacerbated by being in N Scotland. In the height of summer, it doesn't get 'properly' dark at all. It goes a bit greyish-gloom between about 11pm and 3am. I absolutely hate it. I stomp around the house on an evening, closing curtains and trying to make it feel dark. I feel physically under attack by the light. On the flip side, I really quite like the dark nights and it the lack of light during the winter doesn't bother me.

I remember reading a couple of articles where they believed that reverse SAD may have some relationship to bipolar disorder.

littleflick Wed 03-Jun-15 20:55:00

Me too. Always liked the Smiths lyric "Spending warm, sunny days indoors" - that's me. Been like this since my teens.

Autumn is so exciting and comfortable in comparison.

Ladymoods Wed 03-Jun-15 20:59:10

I wouldn't give it a name or say it was a disorder but I utterly detest the summer too. I get terrible hayfever for about 6 weeks, I can't cope in the heat, I burn easily and just feel like a horrible, fat, sweaty, sneezing mess.

DoTheStrand Wed 03-Jun-15 21:18:28

I don't have anxiety issues but everything else in the OP strikes a chord with me.

No one knows though - I do all the summery stuff (picnics, paddling in rivers etc) as I've got small children and they love it (and it keeps them occupied). I can't wait for blustery autumn days and the clocks changing though. I love days when it pours with rain too.

I think it's partly as I associate summer with exams - I still get that 'exam feeling' at this time of year even though I haven't done an exam for 20 years.

Sweetdreamgirl Thu 04-Jun-15 17:37:55

This is me precisely. However I think my 'problems' triggered my annual summer depression. Eg, I can no longer tan after taking a medication which wrecked my skin, it just goes prickly and red. I am very very disgustingly pale (people tell me I look ill when I don't wear my fake tan) but before the drug in question I used to be able to lie in the sun for days and build up a reasonable bit of colour. Now I can not be in sunlight longer than twenty minutes without my skin painfully burning and reddening. It is devastating. I also have this weird thing which started a few years ago - when I get very hot or when I tip my hands down my side (so they are lower than my heart) they go bright red. It happens to my feet when I'm stood still too long too. It is humiliating. Dr's did a few blood tests but didn't have any answers, just decided sticking me on anti depressants will solve the problem confused I have never taken them as I am afraid of almost all medication now.

I have always had body issues and have to cover almost everything now. I'm not overweight but hate my skin and have broken veins on my legs, I would rather sleep in a haunted mansion by myself than wear a bikini on the beach now. Especially as 5 months ago I had a baby and my lovely E boobs are now squashy, saggy B/C cups :-( cry cry. The heat has always made me feel bigger and fatter and uglier too. More aware of my body as someone mentioned above. I always thought this was just me, as every other girl I see seems to frolick in the sun looking effortlessly gorgeous with their perfect skinned bodies in beautiful, tiny, fashionable clothes that I so desperately wish I could wear! I don't even like getting my shoulders out as the skin is wrinkly there when I lift my arms up - in my twenties!!! In the bedroom with curtains drawn I think I look reasonably nice and possibly even sexy. It's that darn sunlight that is my enemy angry

I've been stressing over what to wear to keep cool and stop myself overheating and going red, whilst still covering up and simultaneously looking sexy for my partner! I've come to the conclusion that it's just easier to stay in....

...only I can't do that now as I have a baby and her happiness comes first! I intend to plan my walks early morning and late afternoon when it's coolest over summer.

Honestly I pray for autumn/winter to come as soon as possible! Thank goodness I'm not the only one grin

Honestly though, it is the most depressing time of year for me now and I can not tell anyone except my partner/mum. I dread bbq's, day trips, holidays, seaside excursions...basically all the things I used to love when I was young. sad

Thisishowyoudisappear Fri 05-Jun-15 08:18:12

Sweetdreamgirl could you try longish shirt dresses with espadrilles (if you don't like sandals)or long skirts with thin cotton t- shirts tucked in?

Anyway, thanks merricat for this thread. The light mornings seem to give me more energy, but I feel pressurised to be busy doing things all day during the summer. I know this is in my head but it still bugs me. Like it's never really evening and I can't relax. Glad I'm not alone in this!

merricat Fri 05-Jun-15 15:04:48

Thanks everyone for your replies. And sorry you all suffer too - though I'm reassured in one sense that it's not just me.

A couple of things from a couple of posts jumped out at me:

- what fluffybunnies said about the way summer can throw a spotlight on existing depression, making it seem worse because of the obvious gap between your own enjoyment levels and everyone else's. Yes, that is probably part of it. And the covering up of scars is a factor in the hyper-body-consciousness too, I remember that well from my self-harming days. My scars have faded white now, so I'm lucky in that sense - you have to look close to see them. I do feel for you.

- dontrunwithscissors I live in northern Scotland too. Have you ever seen that film Insomnia, where the detective has to go to Alaska to catch Robin Williams, and it never gets dark and he just mentally unravels? I know the feelling. On my sunrise app, I'm told our last light is at 1:07am and first light is 1:07am. So, no actual darkness at all sad. Like you, I love dark nights and rainy days.

- dothestrand, the association with exams is completely there for me too. I first got the summer depression thing during A-levels, I remember feeling like I was about to explode out of my skin with the pressure I was putting myself under. That stressy feeling still rears its head now in June, and I have so much sympathy for students around now. It's shit.

This is how, 'it's never really evening and I can't relax'. Yes. I get this horrible anxiety after dinner that I should be out walking or exercising because it's perfectly sunny until 10pm. I then berate myself for not doing so. Even having an evening bath is slightly guilt-inducing, because it feels like the middle of the day.

Sweetdreamgirl sorry about your body issues. I'm pale as anything, but I actually prefer that look; it feels more 'me', somehow. Anyway, feeling bigger and fatter and uglier in summer is something I definitely relate to. I'm not overweight, but I feel it. When I was 16 and physically tiny, I still felt fat and disgusting in summer.

Hmm. Anyway, I'm going to the Doctor's this afternoon to ask to go back on anti-depressants. DH also wants me to ask for talking therapy (which I hate), so I will. I probably won't mention the reverse SAD thing though, because I'm depressed anyway and don't wnat to complicate matters.

Thanks everyone. If anyone cares to share any strategies for coping in the summer, I'd love to hear them flowers

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