I can still feel the meltdown around my eyes. I’m still tired, but not so much, and still want to be alone and quiet. Fortunately I booked today off work for a hospital appointment which I’m no longer attending as the car has decided to try and catch fire and kill me and the child.
Incidentally, the meltdown proper – ie the actual crying – lasted four hours. No wonder I’m still tired two days later. Imagine a four hour forced march.
Today the weather is hideous. Bright, bright sunshine accompanied by 70 degree heat. I hate it. I can’t bear the heat or the high levels of light. They make me feel tired, headachy, grumpy, annoyed. It’s too hot to sleep with heavy bed covers or two pairs of socks, both of which I need to sleep well. It’s so bright it overwhelms my brain, overstimulates me until I withdraw into closed eyed silence.
Until recently, again, I knew no name for my dislike of summer. I remember one particularly bad year not so long ago, during which I constantly yearned to die. This was terrifying. I had never experienced anything like this before. I actually, physically wanted to die. Imagine you want to eat chocolate, you crave chocolate, after having had none for ages – that’s how I yearned. I did not act on it, clearly, and never would have, but all day long, every day, I wanted to die. I did not formulate a plan to achieve it, I never once considered a method, never told anyone, looked forward to it passing, took care of myself (ie good food, sleep, rest, movies, books etc) and waited it out. I was already on Fluoxetine (and will be forever but that’s okay, they stabilise me). This was the single worst experience summer gave me, but every other year I hide in the house and avoid anything on hot, sunny days.
Then adult daughter went to university to study psychology and discovered Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don’t become depressed in the winter, as is customary with this disorder – quite the opposite. I thrive in the winter. I feel energised and happier, hopeful and busy. In the summer, I wish I could sleep it away. This is symptomatic of Reverse SAD. So, once again, there is a name and a label for my weirdness. It’s not so weird after all. I feel less like a freak, and can take action against the weather. I invested in a pair of prescription sunglasses – what a difference they make. I can enjoy being outside more because of these glasses alone! I stay in more and feel less embarrassed about it – after all, it’s for medical reasons, not because I’m mental.
And I’m not the only one – Barbara Ellen of The Guardian echoes my feelings entirely:
I know when summer is coming because suddenly I feel wrong. I don’t make sense in the summer, everything is too hot, too hopeless, too bewildering, I always feel I’m half a beat behind the world playing an eternal game of catch-up. That’s the deal with reverse-SADos: summer means standing on the outside, watching the world through a miseryfilter, all the time entertaining fantasies about all-room air-conditioning.