As I sit here typing this, I’ve lost count of all the sleepless nights I’ve had in this 30 degree heat. Why is summer seen as the best season of the year? It’s not everyone’s favourite, but it feels like more and more we’re strung up and treated like outcasts for not wanting to lay out in the sun all day. We all have our reasons, and personally I can’t wait for the grey cloudy mornings and cool Autumn air. There are many reasons I don’t like summer, and some of that comes down to living with mental illness.
- What am I going to wear?
Now this certainly isn’t a must, but lately it seems unavoidable with summer clothes when I go shopping; crop tops and bodycon skirts and dresses are everywhere. For some of us with body image issues, such as those recovering from an eating disorder, it can be a huge challenge to gather the courage to wear something that shows off a body part we’d rather hide. And for those with scars? The less said about sleeveless tops, the better. We don’t get the option to hide in an oversized sweater when we’re not feeling brave enough.
- What a beautiful day!
How many times have you had to roll your eyes at people who say, “Smile, it’s summer!”? I don’t know about you, but my depression doesn’t take the summer off. Just because it’s hot and sunny outside, doesn’t mean I need to be happy all of the time. Even for a mentally healthy person, that’s just not human. It feels like there’s a constant pressure to be a great barrel of laughs as soon as the first hot day comes around, and sometimes I do feel guilty for not being able to let go and enjoy it, but telling me to “Cheer up, it’s a lovely day” is not helpful.
- I’m just so busy…
I’m an introvert, and I have anxiety. I keep social events to a minimum, and make up for it with plenty of time alone to regain my energy for the next one. Summertime brings out the extrovert in most people – I am not one of them. I can’t keep up with all the summer activities I feel like I should be doing, especially as I’m young and feel like I should be living an adventurous life when the sun comes out. So of course, when I turn down some of the invites to festivals, barbecues, and god knows what else, I begin to feel like I’ve missed out on this huge and significant part of my youth. It’s a vicious cycle; I want to stay in, but I don’t want to miss anything.
- How am I supposed to sleep in this?
Trying to sleep in summer is absolutely unbearable, and unfortunately for me, my mental health really suffers if I don’t get a good nights sleep. I haven’t felt well rested since March. I don’t function well at work, my concentration is lower, my temper much shorter, and I lack any motivation to do anything more than the bare minimum. The intense heat and humidity also doesn’t help my anxiety because it constantly feels like I have no air to breathe. I can’t wait for the first cold night when I’ll finally sleep properly.
If, like me, you struggle during a particular season: hang in there, they’re always temporary. Summer feels like such a long drag for me but I know it ends eventually and then I have Autumn and Winter to look forward to which have always been my favourites. You’re allowed to dislike something that’s popular, and you don’t ever need to explain yourself. Your reasons are your reasons and they make sense to you. Now pass me my boots, it’s almost September…