The sun is shining, it’s beautiful and blazing hot every day, there are barbeques and nights spent listening to music on patios with cool drinks and good friends. Why does it seem like everyone is having a great time except for you?
We often talk about how seasonal depression occurs most often when the days get shorter and colder, but as many as 10% of people with seasonal depression experience their low times in the summer, and for people whose depression does not swing with the seasons, experiencing depression during the summer can be harrowing because they think they’re supposed to be feeling better. While depression itself is a mood disorder and not dependent upon outside influences, if you’re feeling particularly down this summer and haven’t been able to pep talk your way out of it, know you’re not alone. There are plenty of good reasons to be depressed in the summer.
- Disrupted schedules: if you’re used to your kids being in school or away at college, having them home all day, every day, can throw your organized world into chaos. Work schedules can change in the summer, too. Anytime there is a big disruption in your routine, depression can set in.
- Finances: summertime is EXPENSIVE. Going out with friends, outings to the beach, parties and get-togethers, higher gas prices-throw in a vacation on top of that, and your wallet may be feeling the strain. Financial concerns often play a major role in depression, and those are easily heightened over the summer.
- Traffic: you live in a tourist town where outsiders flood the place all summer long. It takes you an hour to get anywhere. Facing your commute can get depressing on its own, and when you add all the other “fun” summer obligations, just the thought of getting in your car might have you crawling back into bed.
- Heat: it is a trillion degrees outside, on average. The humidity is roughly 1,000%. Some people relish the long, hazy, hot days, but if you don’t, the incessant pressure of the heat can cause depression to rear its ugly head, especially if you experience physical issues due to the heat, such as headaches or fatigue.
- Body image: it’s almost too hot to wear anything besides a bathing suit, but if you’re struggling with feeling comfortable in your own skin, summertime can be nonstop stress just trying to figure out what to wear so you feel okay about yourself and won’t sweat to death.
If you are experiencing depression this summer, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of pressure to feel happy and carefree in the summertime, and when you can’t live up to that expectation, it’s easy to get down on yourself. Some small things you can do to feel better right away are drink plenty of water, exercise moderately so it’s enjoyable and doesn’t make you sick in the heat, and get plenty of sleep.
The Charleston Counseling Center has therapists trained to deal with depression in any season, and don’t worry: we understand that not everyone is happy-go-lucky and cured of their depression just because it’s summer. Come see is if you need to talk. Call 843-501-1099, and we can help.