Summertime Sadness: There’s No Fun In The Sun For Me

This weekend Bournemouth has been experiencing a mini-heatwave and as we edge closer to June it’s signaled the first inklings of Summer. The shops are blissfully quiet as most of the population head down to the beach or light up barbecues in their gardens. I can smell freshly cut grass, see the neighbours out cleaning their cars and hear children laughing as they play outside. As the general population strip down to their shorts and floral Summer dresses, I begin to feel a pit of dread in my stomach which will last until at least September.

There’s a geek stereotype of us being shunners of daylight, lurking behind closed curtains in gloomy, dim rooms. That’s me. I hate summer. I hate feeling hot. I hate that intangible feeling, like I’m meant to be outside with the masses, and that’s something only rare, fellow Summer recluses will understand. I have children so I suck it up, do my parental duty, and take them out. I will plaster a smile on my face and feign enthusiasm for an afternoon on Boscombe beach but I get no enjoyment from it. I love the beach but I love it at night, I love it on a rugged Winter morning as the waves crash against the pier. I see no pleasure in being sat on lumpy, uncomfortable sand, wedged in with thousands of sun-worshippers. I lie there with my ghostly, pale legs, ear-phones in to block out the sound of the annoying family next to us, batting flies away from our sandwiches and scraping sand off my swiftly-burning, sweaty Celtic skin. Once I reach my limit and we return home then I’m left to deal with hoovering up half the beach that our blankets have brought back with us and nursing a headache from the heat and sun.

I can compromise with a park if there’s a shady patch of grass for me to sit and read while my daughters pretend they’re pirates or unicorns or Avengers on the apparatus. I’m happy enough visiting friends for an evening barbecue because I’m always up for eating a disgusting amount of various charred animals. That’s as much as I can enjoy Summer though.

I tire of being an outcast when family, friends and colleagues discuss their Summer plans. I politely and quietly grumble about how I’d be happy enough inside and am always met with shock. How can you not like the Summer? That’s a bit weird isn’t it? You’re crazy! I don’t know why I feel this way so I did some research and found that there’s a ‘reverse’ Seasonal Affective Disorder. There are people out there who genuinely feel depressed during the Summer months.

Ah, the joys of summer: The withering heat and school vacations, when your kids give you minute-to-minute updates on their boredom levels. Isn’t summer supposed to be fun and relaxing? If you’ve got summer depression, it isn’t.

For some people, summer depression has a biological cause, says Ian A. Cook, MD, the director of the Depression Research Program at UCLA. For others, the particular stresses of summer can pile up and make them feel miserable.

Especially hard is that you feel like you’re supposed to be having a great time. Everyone else seems so happy splashing in the water and sweating in their lawn chairs. So why can’t you? And more importantly, what can you do to make this summer easier? Here’s what you need to know about summer depression.

I wouldn’t go as far as declaring I have a disorder or that I’m clinically depressed during summer but at least I know I’m not alone. Give me Autumn and Winter any day. Sure, they have their downsides when it’s raining non-stop for days but I’m at my happiest snuggled up under a thick blanket playing video games or watching television by candlelight. I like the dark evenings. I like burying myself under a cosy duvet-cocoon instead of sweating it out sleeplessly under a fan during August.

I like to think there’s a good reason for my anti-Summer stance. Perhaps my ancestors were a Scandinavian race and after thousands of years of cold, icy weather, my bloodline is yet to adapt to heat. Whatever it is, I’m preparing for my Summer hibernation. I’ll be purchasing three months worth of orange Calippos, replacing duvets with sheets and dragging my collection of electric fans out of storage. Please give this Viking a nudge once it’s Autumn again.

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