Seasonal depression isn’t just about suffering in the wintertime. Summer depression is also a problem and can be just as debilitating.
Seasonal depression disorder is known as the almost paralyzing feeling of depression which generally attacks during the fall/winter months. I know this condition well and struggle horribly just to get through the seasons.
Science teaches us of seasonal depression that strikes during the winter months, but there’s little information about the seasonal episodes that characterize summer depression – this also exists.
The tragedy of summertime depression
What’s worse than the end of summer? That would be a summer filled with depression. While the warm summer sun feels amazing on your skin and the soft breezes circulate scents of fresh green grass and flowers, depression can still strike regardless.
You see, to me, summer was always that destination at the end of winters gloom, but understanding that summer also had its bout of depression dampened my spirits.
There are indicators that you’re suffering from summer depression, and that’s why we have to find ways to cope with depression in the warm months as well.
1. Sleep deprivation
Summertime presents you with longer days and shorter nights. This can disrupt your circadian rhythms established during the winter months. Any sort of sleep changes is prone to trigger depression, even in children. Here’s how it works: without the right amount of sleep, your body releases more cortisol, a stress hormone, and your sensitivity in many areas may increase.
Obviously, try to keep your sleeping patterns as close to the same as the patterns in winter. While they may not ever be exactly the same, you can make a gradual shift from one season’s resting habits to another by using dark curtains to block out the sunlight, or earplugs to block out summer noises.
After all, summer brings many rambunctious noises that can keep you up at night. In short, getting the right amount of sleep can alleviate depression in the warm summer months. As for those kids, maybe “all-nighters” (staying up all night) shouldn’t be a habit during summer.
2. You disappear or want to
I sometimes get this incredible urge to just run away. I do this during the winter, but it’s much worse in the summer. I think It’s less in the winter because I don’t particularly like cold weather. Unfortunately, since I don’t get to disappear as much during the winter, it hurts worse.
With the pressures of all the extra activities and social demands during the summer, however, I just want to get away and by myself for a while. I do at times but try not to disturb my family. But this action is definitely a sign of summer depression at it’s worst.
Honestly, running away may not be a nice thing to do to the ones you love, but getting away is okay sometimes. It’s just important to tell them where you’re going and let them know how you’re feeling.
Give them a way to get in touch with you, but ask them to only call or text in emergencies. You need this time alone. Also, make sure they understand that you’re not doing anything to hurt them, you just need to recharge.
3. You’re competing and stressing
During the summer, everyone’s trying to show off something. It could be their new physique from all the wintertime workouts, it could be their new summer home, or it could be a pile of selfies taken to show off a new beach tan.
Well, it can get to you, if you’re busy stuck at home for some reason. You will become envious and feel highly competitive to get out there and do something/achieve a summertime goal. This can make you depressed and feel almost as if it’s just a warm winter depression.
Okay, this one is all about creating a schedule that allows you to enjoy outside time as well as getting your chores done, but you don’t have to be so competitive.
Even if you’re busy, and your family is always hungry, always needful, and cranky, you have to stop and say, “It’s time to go create some summer memories of our own.”
Go to the beach, splurge and take a short holiday, and take as many selfies as you wish. If you realize you’re getting a little narcissistic, you can always delete them later. Just keep a nice one to remind you of summer. And make sure to use moderation to keep you from being too competitive.
4. You have body image issues
It’s summer and you’ve not worked on your physique like you wanted to. Well, first off, it doesn’t matter what you look like. YOU should wear whatever you want. But, if you’ve already become depressed because you didn’t reach some sort of body image goal, then it won’t matter that much to you.
Depression sometimes makes us hate the way we look, and we shouldn’t. It is obvious that we have summer related depression if we won’t allow ourselves to wear summer outfits just because we’re a bit out of shape or we’ve had a lazy winter.
I want you to challenge yourself to not care about what society thinks you should look like. Beauty comes in many shapes and sizes, and if someone else cannot appreciate that, then their opinion doesn’t matter.
Most of the time, depression comes from the fear of what others think, so this summer, wear whatever you want and enjoy the weather. After a while, that warm summer sun will make you forget about body image issues.
5. You’re not an “outside” person
My husband is not an outside person. The only time I can get him outside is to a movie or social occasion, and that’s usually only a few minutes spent getting in and out of the car. It’s frustrating. I, on the other hand, love the outdoors…so much that I stay riddled with bug bites and stings during the summer months.
But I still don’t care. I notice he gets depressed a lot during summer, and I think it’s because he stays inside so much, and usually in a room that is fairly dark – you know, dark curtains, blinds, and cold blasting air. His moods in summer are usually pretty dreary.
With this one, I say: “He and other people like him should get out of their comfort zones a bit.” Just a little bit of nature at a time would help him and others appreciate what the sun and warm air have to offer.
Those who hate going outside during the summer are missing out of that blast of natural vitamin D that helps fight depression, so coaxing them out and shouldering a bit of their trepidation is well worth their improvement in the mood later.
6. Loss of interest
Summer should bring about renewed interests in all sorts of things. After all, you don’t have to stay huddled up under blankets all the time during the warm months.
For some people, however, summer is filled with so many differences in family dynamics, relationships changes, moving, sudden sicknesses, so summer just doesn’t feel like summer should feel.
I noticed that this summer, I seem to have much less interest in painting or doing creative projects. This has increased my depression and thus increased my therapy. For some, especially those who aren’t 20 anymore, summer isn’t what it used to be. There seems to be less motivation, and this causes loss of interest in so many things.
You must push yourself. You must remember the things you love and the activities that made your summers wonderful. No matter what the obstacles may be, you have to get creative again and find your inspiration.
It might not be easy, but a little support from friends, maybe a painting class or two, and a little music could get you back on track with the things you love.
Summer depression is real
While seasonal depression (SAD), which generally strikes during those cold months, can seem almost unbearable, summer presents it’s own issues as well. We must get control over summer issues with depression in order to deal with fall and wintertime blues, which will be much worse.
So, if you’re struggling with a strange bout of depression in the summertime, now’s the time to try these solutions and pick yourself up. You will be glad you did when the chill of winter arrives.
Let’s go out with a smile before summer ends, shall we!
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