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Old 07-03-2014, 01:14 AM
Location: Wilsonville, OR
1,261 posts, read 2,146,501 times
Reputation: 2361


I've been feeling intense anxiety and restlessness for the past several weeks. My sleep is extremely disturbed and I always wake up feeling unrested and miserable. I just can't seem to relax. Even powerful benzodiazepines like Klonopin barely take the edge off. I can hardly bring myself to eat because even the thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. I have to force myself to gulp down food or I'd otherwise end up eating once a day every other day or even less because my appetite is so severely reduced. It's like all the joy and color and mystery of life has been burnt away by a terrible sterilizing light that there is no escape from. No escape other than sitting alone in my room with the air conditioner turned up to full blast and left on twenty-four hours per day. Otherwise I will sweat profusely even while sitting down doing nothing.

I've never been a fan of summer, but the past few years have been taking a serious toll on me, physically and psychologically. It started when I moved to Oregon from Georgia in 2009. Although Georgia has much hotter and longer summers, they did not bother me as much because plentiful rainfall and interesting weather were practically assured. It kept things from getting monotonous and provided plentiful photographic opportunities.

Summers in Oregon are miserable. After a certain point the dry season begins, and with it my anxiety and depression. The ever-present piercing blue sky, the intense, dry heat beating down on me at all times and from every direction with no clouds or moisture of any kind to provide even a modicum of relief. There is no escape. I feel like a trapped animal, or an ant under a magnifying glass. The intense unfiltered sunlight on my skin is unbearable. It almost feels like the sun is attacking me, burning me, piercing me. The dry air hurts my nose, mouth, sinuses and eyes. The days are incredibly long. Twilight doesn't end until almost 10:30 at night, and the sun is already rising before 5:00 in the morning. It is just too much. I become overheated very easily and sweat VERY heavily with little exertion. It's getting to the point where I feel like I have a fever all the time and must take 2-3 showers a day and do laundry far more often, which only aggravates me even more. At work we have a freezer that is kept at a constant brisk 5 degrees F. Most people can't stand to be inside it, and some of them (mostly the smaller women) can't even stand to be in front of the open door, but I absolutely love it. I often go inside (wearing only a T-shirt and a pair of thin khaki pants) for a few minutes at a time when I start to feel overheated. The sensation of the below-freezing air on my skin is incredible. I LOVE it. I would bet an entire month's pay that I could stay inside it for at least an hour without even needing to shiver. It honestly doesn't even feel that cold to me.

Even my artistic endeavors are being affected. I love photography and would like to think of myself as highly skilled, especially when it comes to black and white photography. But with everything fully lighted and dry at all times during the day, there is no subtlety or nuance to the light. It is all over the place at an extremely uncomfortable intensity. Everything is high contrast. Shadows are too intensely black. Looking back over my body of work, almost all of my best photos were taken between September and March, which sharp drop-offs during the summer, both in Georgia and in Oregon.

Not only is the light terrible for photography, but it is also extremely painful to my eyes. I have extremely light-sensitive eyes. In the winter, when dark, dense cloud cover is plentiful and the light is cool and diffuse I don't have this problem. In fact, just the opposite is true. Where other people would have difficulty seeing and would call their surroundings dark, I would perceive them as only mildly dim. I can go from normal vision to fully dark-adapted vision in a matter of minutes. I can make my way through extremely dark surroundings with only the most minuscule amount of light. Summer is an entirely different matter. When the sun is directly overhead at midday, the light hurts so much I can barely keep my eyes open, and they water nonstop. I cannot leave the house without a pair of extremely dark, yellow-orange tinted polarized sunglasses, and even then just seeing that everything is fully lit is somehow psychologically disconcerting.

And to top it all off, I have to listen to the empty ramblings of overly-delighted 'normals' concerning how wonderful this hell is, all while sitting and wondering what kind of disturbed masochist could possibly enjoy this kind of torment! When I try to explain to them how I feel, they look at me like I am some kind of freak! Please tell me I am not alone in this! Does anyone else here feel the light of their spirit being crushed whenever summer rolls around? Do you feel incredible energy and relief when the first telltale cool breezes of autumn arrive? I cannot be the only one. It would be wonderful to commiserate with others who share my plight.

Last edited by Lunar Delta; 07-03-2014 at 02:25 AM..
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:53 AM
Location: north central Ohio
8,665 posts, read 5,847,565 times
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I also hate summer.I have lived in north central Ohio since '68 and the summers here are hot and humid.I am thinking of moving to either San Diego, or Seattle with my son[too many ice storms to consider Portland].

It is a hard choice because I do love sunshine,just not temps over 75,or below 45.

I am afraid that Seattle's climate may be too dreary and depressing for me,but since I was born in Idaho's panhandle and we spent almost every summer vacation in ID,WA state and MT,I absolutely love mountains and trees and GREEN,which I am afraid San Diego lacks.

I read a post by someone who said their Dr. told them that reverse SAD is a known condition suffered by some,so you are definitely not alone.I am sorry to hear how badly it affects you. I would suggest discussing it with your Dr. for suggestions on relief.

Meanwhile I do hope that others with your problem will be able to give you some helpful ideas.
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:13 AM
Location: Florida
144 posts, read 184,810 times
Reputation: 160
Oh dear, you're certainly not alone. I'm feeling it right now in early July. Here in Baltimore it's absolutely dreadful. Although we have winter, it's a little too mild for me. When I lived in Pittsburgh it was a little colder and cozier. I've always been a winter/grey day sort of person ever since I was little. I'm hyper-sensitive and it may be due to my Celtic/Slavic heritage where I can't face heat/light/sun as well as the cold.
I would TOTALLY move right now if I was ready but I'm strapped with money and I've no job right now.:\ Once I've saved enough I plan to head to either Northern MN or West WA.^^ I wish you the best in finding a spot you're more comfortable in!
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:58 AM
Location: Howard County, MD
2,222 posts, read 3,601,251 times
Reputation: 3417
I can relate a little. I've had some long term sleep/wake problems (basically being nocturnal) which seem to get worse in the summer.

I'm a somewhat big dude, and I don't like hot weather; sometimes I think the issue might be because the days are so long and muggy.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:33 PM
3 posts, read 5,672 times
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I can relate in certain ways. My sensitivity to temperature seems to go both ways (I get hot easily but also cold easily).. but I still much prefer cold because I can always put more clothing on I strongly relate to the light sensitivity issue, and I think your description of it relating to being a photographer was brilliant. I'm not a photographer by the way.. but I perfectly understood the feeling conveyed.. "just seeing that everything is fully lit is somehow psychologically disconcerting" (don't know why, but yes!!)

I've always been a rain/gray skies person, and I recently moved from the Southeast to Seattle, in large part for the climate change. This is my first full summer here, and supposedly these hot, sunny days are rare.. but it doesn't take many of them to wear me down both physically and mentally. (And now I don't have AC in my apartment to help... agh) I miss my clouds and that wonderful, dim sky. Diffuse and obscured sunlight makes me feel so much more relaxed.

At first it's just a preference, and I only feel miffed about hearing everyone else praise the sunny skies while I would rather have the clouds back.. the gray-er the better. (The one thing I miss about my previous climate: the thunderstorms and those beautiful dark clouds!) As the (freakishly) long, bright days drag on, I feel definite changes in my brain chemistry.. I have a meta-knowledge at some level that this isn't permanent, these thoughts and feelings aren't the "real me", they come to haunt me every summer... but it does feel like a cruel starvation of dopamine or something. Can that be light-related, I wonder?

When the "gloomy" skies and cool breezes of fall come around, I get a ridiculous high, a new hope and love for life, etc... Would be nice to know what to do to mitigate the summer symptoms, since I always know they're coming..

This was really scattered, but I wanted to say I understand what you're talking about, and I felt a sort of relieving sense of empathy reading what you wrote.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:08 PM
236 posts, read 259,137 times
Reputation: 293
I'm pretty sure I have reverse SAD. This time of the year is always depressing here to me because September and October are our two hottest months, while it's cooling off by October in many parts of the coutry. I feel like I'm living in a sweaty flu and have to stay inside all the time because the heat is draining, exhausting, and makes me feel sick and to top it off it started getting humid here a few years ago (even at night).

I really just need to move somewhere colder already even though my whole family is here. I can deal with cold weather down to the 30s but anything above 70 makes me sad, and it was 95 today. lt seems like transplants from cold states are the only ones who think we have great weather and who go on and on about how wonderful the year-round heat is.

My college town was cool and rainy about 7-8 months out of the year and I loved that. There were real autumns with leaves changing colors and real springs with everything blooming, that's what I want. July and August were the only consistently hot months and I can deal with 2 hot months, just not with year-round heat waves with 90 degree Christmases like we often have here (which everyone else seems to love).
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