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I think I have Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder but my GP thinks it's GAD

tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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This is quite difficult to write about since there is a lot I have to unpack, so I'll try my best.

Ever since I can remember I have disliked Spring and Summer and I adore Autumn and Winter. In March I notice the evenings getting lighter and I start to feel stressed out. I dislike the lighter evenings intensely and as the months go on I feel increasingly panicked and anxious. I get short-tempered and irritable in the light and feel like I want to run away. I feel exposed when the weather is lighter and like there is nowhere I can retreat to. The heat is bad but mostly it's the light. With the light comes the increase in noise outside and an increase in activity and social pressure to go and meet people. I can't focus when it's like this or do my work as well as I would like to. I am more productive and feel more empowered in Autumn and Winter or when it's cloudy during the day.

One of the things I dislike a lot is people commenting on the weather and saying how great it is. I am so in the minority with my opinion that I just put up with the comments but I secretly hate them. One of my most hated things in the world is picnics - it combines socialising outdoors in warm, light weather with an uncomfortable eating experience. I even dislike eating dinner indoors when it's light and I will push my mealtimes later and later in the summer till it's dark so I can eat. Ironically Midsummer's Day is not the worst day for me because at least then the light starts to diminish. The worst month of the year for me is May. I love Hallowe'en and Christmas but hate Easter.

When the days get lighter I also dislike the sounds of the birds in the early evening. I even dislike the words "sunny" or "sunshine", in fact I hate them. I love the Autumn and Winter because the darkness is comfortable and enveloping. I feel in control, protected, relieved, even spiritualised in the darkness. I have loved things which are 'dark' for as long as I can recall. I love dark films, I love dark music and art, all my clothing is black and all the furniture I buy is black.

I go through this feeling of hating the start of Spring and the onset of Summer every year so I spoke to my GP about it a few weeks ago. I said I thought I had a rare case of Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder. My GP said she thought it was more likely GAD and I am being sent to a psychiatrist soon for an assessment. They are also giving me level 3 CBT because they say I'm a complex case. I don't know what that means but I have had a history of depression [was prescribed Citalopram but didn't take it] and I get anxious about other things too - flying and social situations particularly. I also get very angry and am 'triggered' by all kinds of sounds like birds singing in the evening, people riding bikes, whistling, chewing, people filling water bottles, the absolute worst is people eating apples. I become so angry when people eat apples that I have to leave the room. I note that I made one post on this forum previously about five years ago and it was in the GAD forum, which is an interesting coincidence.

One of the things that makes this harder is that people think I'm a very happy person. I am not. But my temperament makes it much harder for me to convince people of what I go through, so I don't discuss it, which has a negative affect.

I am writing this post because I would love to read other peoples' opinions on what this could be. I think this SSAD thing is very real but if it is something else, like GAD, then at least I can work on how to mitigate it and deal with it better. I am not saying it definitely is GAD because I have no idea, but it must be something because I have had it all my life and I cannot put up with it any more. Of course I would just love to live in a dark environment the whole time but I can't do that. I need to learn how to deal with things.
 
Z

Zoe1

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I know what you mean with summer

its cold here at the moment , I'm making the most of it !
 
tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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Thanks for the response - glad there is someone who agrees. One of the issues with feeling this way is that so few people can understand it, or they think it's a non-issue. SAD is definitely not a non-issue, it's taken very seriously. So why not SSAD? Because people can't relate to it, I would imagine, but its psychological effect is the same.
 
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Zoe1

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I have a lot of problems with summer tartan
mainly the sweating and needing extra showers
leading to dry skin
on a hot day I might need to wash 3 times
which is exhausting

sometimes breathing difficulties

but by the end of the summer I'm getting used to it
 
2

2Much2Feel

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Hey, @tartan extreme, I do get that. It is so strange how you put it, as (once again, I always feel this way) I thought I was the only person who feels this. I have since I was a child, when we'd go to sunny places on family trips, in the summer, etc. It brings on depression in me and anxiety. I have always thought it must be related to something I don't remember from my childhood, as I remember little from my childhood. And the pressure to be out and social is overwhelming to me, not only b/c I have social anxiety and often can't join, but b/c it just seems like everyone in the world is doing something awesome and having fun. I always think of the song by Crosby Stills & Nash "Have you ever seen the rain"--"I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day", cause you feel the darkness even when it's sunny out. And strange you mention Easter, as that is notoriously when I'd end up in the hospital or severely depressed, and it was a bit easier this year, as there is less social interaction w the virus. But I do hear what you're saying.

I hope the shrink can better diagnose you, likely can more than a GP! That could lead to some real help coming your way. Instead of one of those SAD lights, maybe we can come up w one that darkens everything and sounds like rain?
 
tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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@2Much2Feel your message is extremely heartening, and I see a wealth of similarities between your situation and mine.

I too remember going to sunny places on family trips when I was younger - Majorca and Corsica in particular, I remember disliking both a lot and trying to find ways to enjoy them and not always succeeding. On the trip to Corsica I spent the whole time indoors reading horror novels. I refused to leave the villa and go to the beach. I remember liking the evenings in Majorca though, after it got dark, and similarly in the summer time nowadays the only part of the day I like is the evenings.

The GP also said to me that my issues with the summer were related to a traumatic event in my childhood - just as you suspected for yourself. But do I want to find out what that event was if that's the case? Maybe my mind obscured it as a protective measure, just as skin forms a cover over wounds. I also have sporadic, rare memories of childhood. Not many. Other people can remember more than I can.

I would be interested to know what you do in order to cope with the lighter and hotter weather. I personally listen to a lot of dark music. Play games or watch films. Hopefully this CBT/psychiatric appointment will come soon. If it IS related to GAD that would be interesting.
 
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2Much2Feel

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@2Much2Feel your message is extremely heartening, and I see a wealth of similarities between your situation and mine.

I too remember going to sunny places on family trips when I was younger - Majorca and Corsica in particular, I remember disliking both a lot and trying to find ways to enjoy them and not always succeeding. On the trip to Corsica I spent the whole time indoors reading horror novels. I refused to leave the villa and go to the beach. I remember liking the evenings in Majorca though, after it got dark, and similarly in the summer time nowadays the only part of the day I like is the evenings.

The GP also said to me that my issues with the summer were related to a traumatic event in my childhood - just as you suspected for yourself. But do I want to find out what that event was if that's the case? Maybe my mind obscured it as a protective measure, just as skin forms a cover over wounds. I also have sporadic, rare memories of childhood. Not many. Other people can remember more than I can.

I would be interested to know what you do in order to cope with the lighter and hotter weather. I personally listen to a lot of dark music. Play games or watch films. Hopefully this CBT/psychiatric appointment will come soon. If it IS related to GAD that would be interesting.
So strange. I hear you re whether or not to uncover whatever our minds have covered. I don't know anymore if I want to know, if it would help to work through it? But as much as I'm told something happened in childhood, the less I remember it seems. Ketamine shot made me start to remember, woke up hyperventilating and yelling something about a man cutting me, but I didn't go back, was afraid to know and it was a really scary experience. Of course, it also made me a bit more curious, but it is so odd how much more other people remember from their childhoods.

I have more panic attacks when it's warm out as well. So, as far as what I do to cope? I'm not great at coping, so I usually distract myself and try to disappear into TV or a book, something like that. But at night in particular I hit a really dark place. So interesting to hear someone else say this. I feel like I have a fever and am sick. Memories of trips where I was having panic attacks and not able to do what my family did, kind of like what you said. Do you want to know any trauma? It's really something I think about quite often and am just now addressing w my parents a bit re the situations they left us kids in when we were young.

I hope you have a better day today. Keep chatting. :)
 
tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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But at night in particular I hit a really dark place. So interesting to hear someone else say this. I feel like I have a fever and am sick.
It's different for me, night is my favourite time of the day. I always look forward to it. That's why I love Autumn and Winter so much - there's a lot of night. I think this is part of the reason why I got so heavily into Batman as a teenager. I watched Batman Returns and something just switched in me. It was like I became a convert to everything dark and dystopian, it was like coming home. I never wanted to be out of that kind of setting.

My wife said something very interesting to me the other day - that she thought I had spent a lot of time as a kid being scared. That is interesting. I wonder if the same is true for you. It makes sense to me that if that is the case.

I embraced darkness as a coping mechanism. When, in the early Batman comics, Bruce Wayne says, "I shall become a bat" - it is exactly that - the darkness becomes not only a persona, but an identity. Bruce Wayne does not say he will dress as a bat, but he will become one. In Batman Year 1, a retrospective publication, the dialogue is slightly revised, he says, "I have seen [the bat] before somewhere, it frightened me as a boy" - so therefore he decides to become the thing that frightened him. To own it, to control it and to use it as empowerment.
 
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2Much2Feel

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It's different for me, night is my favourite time of the day. I always look forward to it. That's why I love Autumn and Winter so much - there's a lot of night. I think this is part of the reason why I got so heavily into Batman as a teenager. I watched Batman Returns and something just switched in me. It was like I became a convert to everything dark and dystopian, it was like coming home. I never wanted to be out of that kind of setting.

My wife said something very interesting to me the other day - that she thought I had spent a lot of time as a kid being scared. That is interesting. I wonder if the same is true for you. It makes sense to me that if that is the case.

I embraced darkness as a coping mechanism. When, in the early Batman comics, Bruce Wayne says, "I shall become a bat" - it is exactly that - the darkness becomes not only a persona, but an identity. Bruce Wayne does not say he will dress as a bat, but he will become one. In Batman Year 1, a retrospective publication, the dialogue is slightly revised, he says, "I have seen [the bat] before somewhere, it frightened me as a boy" - so therefore he decides to become the thing that frightened him. To own it, to control it and to use it as empowerment.
You know, that is true. That's def the emotion I remember most when I think of my childhood. It's interesting re the dark as a coping mechanism. When I really crash, I def lay in the dark. I also have more energy at night, am exhausted most of the day, have always been that way. But high anxiety and depression as well. Hmmm....
 
tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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You know, that is true. That's def the emotion I remember most when I think of my childhood. It's interesting re the dark as a coping mechanism. When I really crash, I def lay in the dark. I also have more energy at night, am exhausted most of the day, have always been that way. But high anxiety and depression as well. Hmmm....
I have often said that I feel I was born aged 14. From 14 onwards I have many more memories of being independent, having fun, socialising, girls etc. Being treated as an adult at home too. My mum would buy me beers. I felt respected. Maybe I even associate beer with that to a degree. But before 14? Not many memories. Some happy ones, some scared ones. But not many overall.

Would be interesting if we could do a word association with the words "light" and "dark". The former I associate with too many people, being ignored, stress, anxiety, intimidation, heat, exposure, entrapment. The latter with calmness, control, independence, mystique, solace, sensuality and power.
 
MoonChild84

MoonChild84

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I definitely think I have Summer SAD. I hate the light evenings and came on here tonight to see if anyone was feeling the same - glad to have found you! I hope you are OK and sorry that you are feeling this way too.

For me, I get anxious and scared about the amount of people who are around in the Summer, making noise and outside and just generally around. It seems busier and people seem to be drunk and shouting more in the town, and I can hear it from my bedroom.

Also I go walking a lot and I find in the Summer there are so many more people around when I just feel safer alone.

I love the Autumn and Winter because I can almost hibernate away, the darkness comes in and I feel safe. I feel better in the colder months as no one is around and I can go for walks and not meet anybody. Also, there are less people out getting drunk and sitting outside at night which means it’s so much quieter and I feel much safer.

I feel less pressure to go out socially in the Winter months. I feel like I can just stay home and safe with my books and blankets and tea. I just feel more comfortable.

I feel anxious and stressed in Summer, I don’t sleep well as it’s too light and I feel like I have to be ‘busy’. I dread it coming in and I am already thinking of Autumn and counting down the weeks!!
 
tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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I feel less pressure to go out socially in the Winter months. I feel like I can just stay home and safe with my books and blankets and tea. I just feel more comfortable.
Hi @MoonChild84 - glad to have met you and that you can understand. Yes, the pressure is starting to pile on socially. Especially with "lockdown easing" I am getting a lot of requests to meet up - this is fine in itself, but the ones I don't like are the group meetups, the outdoors ones, picnics especially [I hate picnics]. I long for the colder, less bright days of Autumn.

I feel stressed and irritable a lot of the time. I have to sleep with a damn eye mask on most evenings because of the light streaming through the window in the mornings and waking me up [we have a rented property and very lightly-coloured blinds]. Roll on Midsummer's Day - at least then it starts to get slowly darker - May is the worst month because then there's still some way to go.

 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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It's different for me, night is my favourite time of the day.

I embraced darkness as a coping mechanism.

In Batman Year 1, a retrospective publication, the dialogue is slightly revised, he says, "I have seen [the bat] before somewhere, it frightened me as a boy" - so therefore he decides to become the thing that frightened him. To own it, to control it and to use it as empowerment.
Really interesting comments. Does this mean you should embrace the light rather than withdraw from it into what you find most comfortable?
 
tartan extreme

tartan extreme

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Really interesting comments. Does this mean you should embrace the light rather than withdraw from it into what you find most comfortable?
I've thought about this and I think it comes down to whatever one's inner nature is. Sometimes the reason for assuming an identity is subconscious and it only becomes apparent why one did so a longer way down the way.

Bruce Wayne had a clarity of vision which is both rare and enviable. It was not only emotional-reinforcing but practical in its vengeance. It was an situation where his inner identity and goal mixed almost seamlessly. How can one say which inner identity is the truest? Because of how successful one is in carrying out that identity and its causes, because of how naturally the identity fits. When the inner meets the outer correctly, the result is unquestionable - the person looks and acts as if they are content in their own skin - and this is attractive to others, because the person exudes positive energy which comes from respecting their own nature.

I have indeed tried to embrace the light. I have spent many a time in warm hot countries. I have studied the music there and the culture at length and tried to get really 'into' it. I still am to a degree, but nowhere as close to how much I was a few years ago. My study into the related culture was interesting in the short-term, but in the longer term I started to look for darker 'versions' of those lighter things [which don't necessarily exist]. One always comes back to what one is.
 
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Zoe1

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can't stand the sweating !
I feel like a play doh machine with the little strands coming out !
 
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