Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Heat, Climatism and Reverse SAD

I was gearing up to write a rant about the heat, and I had a revelation.

It turns out it's not just me. There's evidence that Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder exists.

I've joked about having Reverse SAD in the past, but I've found that it's real for some people.

I hate summer, and the fact that everyone and everything around mean seems to be pointing to the fact that this should be a happy time of year makes it that much harder.

When it's a little overcast and the weather is cool crisp, that's when I'm happy and energized. When it's warm and sunny, I want to retreat from the outdoors.

And there are plenty of other reasons for me to hate summer. I hate the fact that everything stops and slows down. The thrill of having summer vacation off was always fleeting. I missed my friends and I was always bored. I had band camp and the occasional family trip to visit relatives, but it always seemed like everyone else had better things to do.

I thought once I was done with school, it would get better. Then I moved to Florida where a huge chunk of the population is seasonal and everyone leaves in the summer. And everything slows down. Then I found myself working at a newspaper, scrambling for stories during the "slow season."

What is everyone slowing down for? Where's all the fun that's supposed to come with summer? Was I not invited to the party? I always associate summer with loneliness, despair and unbearable heat.

All of this seems to be a cruel contrast to fall and winter, when we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, etc.

Some of the worst times in my life have been during the summer. I can't even talk about the emotional and physical despair of the summer of 2006, when I was on short term disability. Not to mention 1996, when I had two terminally ill grandparents.

The good stuff that does happen in the summer is always outside. While WWKIP Day was cool, the whole time I was walking around the capital grounds, sweating, I'm thinking "Who's bright idea was it to have WWKIP Day in June?"

This is a horrible time for a garage sale, a camping trip or a trip to theme park. It's time to stay in the air conditioning.

I've often wondered why I haven't become "acclimatized" to the heat, considering I've always lived in warm climates. Recently I realized I am acclimatized. Because people who are acclimated sweat more. And I hate being sweaty. (I do appreciate that it prevents me from dying from heat stroke. I still don't like it.)

BTW - Did you know Austin is one of the the country's sweatiest cities? In fact, six of the ten cities are in Texas.

And that brings me to the subject of climatism. I know the northern half of the country is milder, and I all winter long I read blog entries from northern knitters lamenting the cold grayness, and actually having a use for think wool sweaters. But why is our culture so centered around they joy of spring of summer when half the country is plunged into oppressive heat?

Which brings me back to my original point. I don't have problems as severe as some of the people mentioned in this article, but there's definitely something more going on than being hot and bored.

"I actually feel kind of attacked by the sun." That's me.


Laura said...

Ha! This cracked me up, and I totally agree. I complain endlessly from May til September. I'm sure it's annoying for everyone around me!

Wendy said...

Very interesting. Wish we could figure out how to afford to live up here in Ohio in the summer and Texas in the winter!