Summer Psycho Disorder?

Last week, a friend of mine admitted she’s been begging for a fight. Anyone will do. She’s been trying to pick fights with her boyfriend, work colleagues, people in other cars on the I-10. She’s not well.

Yesterday, my psychiatrist was totally off his game. When I explained to him that I’d been depressed lately, he asked why, and I told him a bit about my situation. His response? “Wow. That sucks.” He’s usually more eloquent.

Change the facial expressions on these guys, and you're in Phoenix.

Change the facial expressions on these guys, and you’re in Phoenix.

The revelations of these two normal, successful, functioning adults have led me to a scientific discovery here in the Valley of the Sun. … We suffer from SSAD: Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder.

You think I’m kidding? I’m not kidding. Whereas the rest of the country is enjoying longed-for sunshine and warm temperatures, we’re hiding in our homes. We turn pale and ghostly in the summer, because damn it, this is the one time of year it’s too hot to lay by the pool.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year.” If memory serves, last year, almost precisely to the day, I was depressed—so much so that I headed to an emergency psychiatric clinic. And here I am again (no, not at the clinic) but in the same general funk.

You might be surprised to know, spring and summer Seasonal Affective Disorders do actually exist. Common symptoms:
• Anxiety
• Trouble sleeping
• Irritability
• Agitation
• Poor appetite
• Increased sex drive
(Funny: you never hear anyone complain about that last one.)

If only we needed umbrellas in PHX ...

If only we needed umbrellas in PHX …

My friend who wants to desperately fight someone? Obviously irritated, agitated. My doctor? I’m guessing he hasn’t been sleeping, because psychiatrists don’t usually make their patients feel WORSE after a visit. Me? I’m an anxious insomniac who has be force-fed.

Summer SAD is a shock to me. I had no idea the condition actually existed, but if it was going to exist, Phoenix would be the perfect place. We’re the most ass-backwards place in the country when it comes to seasons. I mean, seriously, who else in the country dreads summer and can’t wait for winter? Where else do you hear people say, “It’s too sunny today. I’m sick of the sun?”

Nowhere! Because when we say things like that here in Phoenix, we sound completely, ragingly mad! Yet, we do say them. We long for monsoons and cloudy days. By the end of August, the I-10 has become Road Rage Central, and it’s too hot to make the walk to my car … in the garage.

My eyes have been opened to the truth. In Phoenix, Arizona, we suffer from Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder. I dare you to prove me wrong.

7 thoughts on “Summer Psycho Disorder?

  1. My doctor just told me I was completely deficient in vitamin D. The sun vitamin!!! Ironic that I live in the hottest place in the world, but it’s true that we have to hide from the sun all summer:(

  2. I’ve had friends who lived in Alaska that used in-home light therapy to prevent SAD. What you described makes sense….have you had your D3 levels checked? I take supplements because of low D3 (5000iu/daily.)

  3. It’s true, so true. Cross, irritable, grumpy and constantly sighing “It’s so hotttttttttttttt.” Like it’s a huge surprise or something. Nope, no surprise. Same time every year. But don’t forget there are many, many people without A/C and that is true suffering.

  4. My mother always recommends movies about snow and ice for hot days. She loved Ice Station Zebra but I tend more toward The Day After Tomorrow or Christmasy movies like Little Women. Even a novel about snow and ice might be calming.

  5. Hi, I have Summer Sad. It started in my early 20’s and I’m now 41. This summer has been especially difficult for me. I keep crying and feel as those theres a heaviness in my chest. I’m better at night, when the sun goes down. I take medicine for it and vitimins. I think my issue this summer is hormonal as well, which is making it worse.

    • I totally have the heaviness thing. I’m also better at night. Maybe because night means I made it through the day, ya know? Night means I can curl up with a book and then go to sleep. I’m sorry we share the same sad 😦 I hope you feel better, Kathy!

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