First Day of Summer – Pale Girl Edition

Seeing as how today is the first day of summer, I feel it would be appropriate to celebrate this day by saying, omg, I can’t stand summer.

I’m not a fan of summer for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I get SAD in the summer.

Summer SAD Homer

Seasonal Affective Disorder (or its cutesy acronym SAD) is depression that occurs during certain times of the year.

Most people who have the disorder get it in the winter because it gets dark and they get mopey and are all,

Maaaaaan, I miss summer,

and I’m like,

Whatever losers! Woo Hoo! Dark and cold rocks! Let’s run naked through the woods!  – right in their sad faces.

Now, however, it’s summer and I’m sad and moody and the rest of the world is like,

Yay summer! A million degrees! Sweating! Pools! BBQ’s! Mosquitoes trying to eat off our faces! or whatever. (Also, I am very sorry about getting all up in your faces last winter.)

So yes, most people who get SAD get it in the winter, but there is a summer version and it is the more rare form of an already rare disorder:  “About 5 percent of adult Americans are thought to have winter seasonal affective disorder; researchers estimate that fewer than 1 percent have its summer variant.”  Or so says the New York Times.

I’m one of those less than 1 percenters…  because I’m all pale and mysterious so I get cool disorders that make me hide away in my dark house most of the day… and when I do venture out I’m withdrawn and moody, wear big black sunglasses and sigh dramatically.

Researchers are still unsure if it’s the heat or the light or a combination of both, For me, it’s not so much the heat (though omg it sucks), it’s the light… more specifically the WAY the light is shining. It’s too bright, it’s coming in at a weird angle. I feel out of sync with the rhythm of the planet at this time of year. My circadian rhythms are off, I feel out of sorts. My pockets hurt.

It’s like my brain is now cued for sunset instead of sunrise. I feel “weird” all day and fight off melancholy, and then as the day wanes and the light shifts, I feel okay again. Usually around 8 pm every night I start to feel the depression lift and I am suddenly and inexplicably myself again.

Off and on for the next few months I will battle this depression, and it sucks.

On the one hand, at least I know what it is. On the other hand, I hate knowing that it is a real thing and not just my imagination. Honestly, I think that this disorder affects more than one percent of the population. My facebook, twitter, and blog feed are filled with friends talking about feeling down for no reason right now. It almost seems that as a society we’ve become so desensitized to the seasons and nature that maybe we aren’t aware that as the planet moves, as the seasons change, that we, too, are affected.

Unlike the winter variant which involves staring at a lightbulb (or something), there is not a lot to help with summer SAD.

Summer Sane Homer

So, I fake it and make myself shower and work and all those normal human things even though I am totally not feeling it. I try to avoid pacing. I try to make myself sleep like a normal human. I watch Doctor Who. We pick our Halloween costumes and start working on them. We begin planning our big fall vacation. And when I feel like I can’t breathe, when I feel like this will never end … I will stop and breathe and try to remember that this will pass. It will take a few months, but it will pass.

Needless to say, our family will be hiding inside most of the summer, at least during the day. And when you invite us to your “It’s a million degrees – Let’s sit in direct sunlight and get sweaty – We love summer extravaganza!” parties… and you will… I will smile politely, thank you enthusiastically, and then silently count the days until fall. Oh, and next winter, when the tables are turned, I promise not to get all up in your sad face again.

 

Ava Love Hanna

Ava Love Hanna

Ava Love Hanna is a writer and performer living in Austin, Texas. She really, really wants you to use the Oxford comma.
Ava Love Hanna

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6 Comments

  1. Ha! I do like the summer and detest the cold winters (why do you think I have migrated south from my home state of Indiana?). But fall is my favorite: boots but no coats required.
    Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) recently posted…The new comfort zoneMy Profile

    • Kristin,
      I’ve spent my whole life in the south, so I can’t even imagine how cold a *real* winter would be! I don’t think I even own a real jacket. lol.

  2. I like to tell people that here in Texas, I don’t hibernate, I estivate. Ostensibly I do this because it is accurate, but the secret truth is that I studied Latin and want to make it seem like my life hasn’t been completely wasted.

    There is a baffling breed of people here who say “hey let’s take our red-headed, blue-eyed children for a swim from 11-1 when the UV index is 2000 and it is 110 outside because that is FUN Woo!!” To them I mumble a quote stolen from Neil Gaiman: “My people, we stay indoors. We have keyboards. We have darkness,” and then I slink back into my cavee to play Minecraft or watch Doctor Who until evening when it’s safe to come out again.

  3. I got super depressed and anxious last summer, mainly because I was stuck indoors with 3 kids 95 percent of the time. I had anxiety about taking them to the YMCA daycare bc we got kicked out enough times for bad behavior, I was anxious about being in the pool with 3 non swimmers, and I was anxious about pretty much taking them anywhere. It all lifted when they went back to MDO even though it was only 2 days a week. This year’s better though. Now I’m just exhausted.

    • Leigh Ann,
      I’m a wuss. I am exhausted from just one kid… The fact that you have three, including twins, and still manage to shower and get dressed is awe inspiring. I leave the house looking like a crazy homeless lady most of the time.

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