When people think of seasonal depression, they often think of rainy days, cold breezes and dark clouds rolling across the horizon — but some people would much rather see a storm in sight than wake up to yet another sunny day. As a society, Americans are extremely biased toward anything but sunny days. When the weather is bright and warm, greetings include sayings like “What wonderful weather we are having!” When the colder weather comes, however, it is often referred to as awful and dreary.
There are few people who are willing to admit that sunny days are not their favorites — even if they say they long for a storm, they celebrate with everyone they know as soon as the sun comes out. Many bask in the warm weather in hopes of escaping the seemingly never-ending summer depression.
How could you hate the summer? The season brings barbecues, pool parties, sunbathing and warm nights. But there are plenty summer curses that accompany the scorching weather. First off — sunburns. If you burn easily, stepping outside in the summer heat for even a few minutes can leave you looking more like a lobster than a person. No matter how much sunscreen you slather onto your already greasy skin, those rays still somehow leak through, leaving you with nothing but painful memories (literally). People say to look on the bright side … but no thank you, let’s go find some clouds.
Say goodbye to being able to see outside for the next three months. The sunshine makes eyes burn and leaves them watery and begging for mercy, no matter how many sunglasses and hats are protecting them. And that’s not even to mention the sweat that leaks all over and makes showers a necessity multiple times a day. The heat melts organs, causing dehydration and longing for the peace of air conditioning. This is just the beginning. Summer brings bugs, strange rashes, heat exhaustion and more.
June through August (and soon to be even more months because of global warming) can be a sad and stressful time. Swimsuits and summer clothes become abundant, and while the body positivity movement is growing, society’s expectation of the perfect body leaves many people covering up in the summer, even if that means dying in the heat.
Everyone wants to escape the heat with shorts, tank tops and swimsuits, but a negative body image is all too common and contributes to summer depression. For anyone who has struggled with their body image (and, let’s face it, we all have in one way or another), the struggle to overcome it is difficult, and it’s much easier to hide away than to go out and deal with the judgement.
Colder seasons offer the comfort of layers, which are not only normal but also encouraged to fight against the cold. Feel free to gain whatever weight might come, and toss a warm sweater over the top — no one will even know.
Summertime also comes with a strict contingency to go out and have “fun” because it’s warm outside. There seem to be endless invites to social events, concerts, camping trips, hikes and festivals, with only ridicule to follow if they are turned down. Those events can be fun, but sometimes it’s better to stay home with fuzzy socks and pets to keep you company.
For those with summer depression, going out can be exhausting. The sun brings a sick feeling with its intense heat, and the brightness can be overwhelming. Staying indoors is simply easier. Society thinks that summer is meant to be celebrated, but for people who are less than enthusiastic about the heat, it becomes months of letting people down and hiding inside, wishing for it all to be over. There is so much pressure to enjoy the summertime. Sunshine means you have the obligation to approach the day with happy wishes and the same electric energy as the sunshine itself.
In the colder seasons, there is no expectation of happiness. People are instead given the freedom to approach the day however they see fit. Summer comes with a universal agreement that, if the sun is out, you are going to enjoy it no matter the cost. Clouds and cold weather don’t carry those rules with them.
Not convinced that summer depression is real? There are even songs written about it. Lost in the chaos of tunes about warm summer nights and beach days are songs like “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey and “Summer Depression” by Girl in Red.
The lyrics of “Summer Depression” perfectly illustrate the struggles that those that don’t bask in in the summertime beauty experience: “Summer depression comes every year I just want to disappear.” Girl in Red provides an anthem for those who have summer depression and are willing to admit that this season is far from the best, regardless of the ideals that society forces.
Some think colder weather brings colder hearts, but fall and winter are quiet, peaceful, snuggly and filled with warm holiday drinks. Rain falls softly against the house at night and snow blankets the earth as if it is tucking it in. Winter invites stillness and offers a time to transition with nature or to hibernate with the trees.
Summer depression is just as valid as winter blues, and some people just prefer winter storms to sunny days.