Monday, October 8, 2012

Depression from Too Much Sun?


I can't tell you have many people have told me that the incessant sun and warmth is getting them down... making them feel anxious or depressed.   Well, I did some checking online and believe it or not, there is a real syndrome that strikes many thousands of folks during warm, sunny stretches:  Summer SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder), summer mania, and other names. And it seems the people who live in a generally cool, cloudy area...at least in winter (like us and England)....are particularly susceptible.  Surprisingly, quite a few articles on it.  For example:


 Here is a striking quote from an individual that came from Seattle:

 "It's the unrelenting sun day after day after day," she says. "I feel like I'm trapped and there's no relief from it. At my lowest point [last summer] I just wanted to die."

Or how about this one:



Or an article describing SUMMER MANIA.  You know this has to be true because of the huge number of degrees held by the author (B.A.ED., M.S., R.Sc.P, and Rs.D). 


Consider this one, describing how up to 600,000 Britons suffer from this affliction. How many of you look fearfully out of the window at sun and warmth?  Close your curtains to the sun? 


The Mayo Clinic describes Summer SAD (see article here) and lists its symptoms:
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Increased sex drive
Now this is s not all bad.  Weight loss, increased sex drive and trouble sleeping!   Some folks might not complain...

Don't worry, help is on the way.

Take a look at the forecast 24-h precipitation ending 5 PM on Saturday.  Really heavy precipitation over southwestern B.C., the Olympics and the north Cascades...as much as 2-5 inches!  Our dry spell when end in a bang, if not a flood.





27 comments:

  1. It's not April Fools Day, so this must be true!

    Actually, up here in Bellingham I get tired of the endless sun, but I also get tired of the endless rain. Now snow - I never get tired of that! (Though I used to when I lived in upstate NY).

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  2. I have a hard time understanding how anyone who's lived here for any length of time could ever complain about too much sun...

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  3. I recently had a friend say (here in Portland)..."if I liked sun I would have moved to Phoenix"...I guess he's not alone!

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  4. While Dr. Mass may have intended this as slightly tongue-in-cheek, I certainly agree with the science of his post. I moved to suburban Los Angeles after growing up north of Seattle. After two years there, I had to move back - the constant heat and sun and brown native vegetation was really getting me down. I couldn't stand it any more. Conversely, I have friends who live down there who feel depressed after only 2 or 3 grey days. Different strokes...

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  5. I've been telling people I have this for years. I lived in the Sacramento area during grad school, and the summers (read: May through October) rendered me crazy and depressed. No rain at all, 90 being "normal" and only 100 being "hot," dust coating everything...hated it. This 60s-70s weather isn't so hard to take, but I do want some variety. A cloud cover and a rain shower after a long spell of dry sunshine is the equivalent of a quiet hour to yourself after a loud party or a hectic day of work. Naturally I need that a few times a week. Don't see why it's hard to understand.

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  6. Oh these people are NUTS. In Phoenix, it's often over 100 degrees. The past weeks in Seattle have been perfect! I will remember them fondly and miss them very soon.

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  7. kagoit
    I think it's the lack of variety that gets to me. I love sunny days that start out foggy and then burn off or start sunny and end with a rain shower. Plus, there's always anticipation and looking forward to the next sunny day. I admit, I tend to like it cooler than most...these past few weeks have been exceptionally nice and I love sunny and in the 30's. If anything, what's bummed me out the over the last few weeks is that the sun goes down much too soon after I get home from work!

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  8. I think it's the lack of variety that gets to me. I love sunny days that start out foggy and then burn off or start sunny and end with a rain shower. Plus, there's always anticipation and looking forward to the next sunny day. I admit, I tend to like it cooler than most...these past few weeks have been exceptionally nice and I love sunny and in the 30's. If anything, what's bummed me out the over the last few weeks is that the sun goes down much too soon after I get home from work!

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  9. I think it's the lack of variety that gets to me. I love sunny days that start out foggy and then burn off or start sunny and end with a rain shower. Plus, there's always anticipation and looking forward to the next sunny day. I admit, I tend to like it cooler than most...these past few weeks have been exceptionally nice and I love sunny and in the 30's. If anything, what's bummed me out the over the last few weeks is that the sun goes down much too soon after I get home from work!

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  10. Oh my. I am definitely one of those people born to live in a sunny climate, I've been in heaven these past few weeks and could easily stand another 3 months of this. Someday maybe circumstances will allow me to move far south of here, but for now I tolerate the clouds (lots of rain gets me down, but clouds without rain make me panicky and claustrophobic) by warming my heart and soul in the company of the wonderful people up here. :)

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  11. I agree with Ruth, Those people are nuts!

    Dave S

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  12. I just want my town to look clean and shiny again.
    I miss the rain. I like sunshine, but now and then I really need a break from all the dry.

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  13. Cliff -

    as wonderful as the last couple of months have been, I have been surprised by the relatively good air quality - except for the smoky cast from the fires. Don't we usually have inversions in the fall when we have such a stretch of sun. Why isn't this happening now? And is this something we can expect to see more frequently? As a tomato-grower, I'd love your opinion...

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  14. I'm glad to hear this is a real thing! I noticed early last month, on a day when we had some spotty showers up here in Bellingham, that I was suddenly feeling re-energized -- I've been feeling especially unmotivated and lacking in energy lately, and it was at that point that I thought, "Perhaps it's the sun." I have, for several weeks now, been desperately longing for some rain!

    Good to see it's on the way -- and in force!

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  15. Well, it is nice to know I'm not alone. Moved to Denver for a couple years and this drove me nearly mad. The sun and the heat day after day would me depressed and anxious. The worst part was they would promise rain a few days out that never occurred.

    I'm much happier here in Seattle and we almost always get a rainy day to break things up at least every couple weeks, even during the summer. Mornings like today help as well as the sun is not so unrelenting.

    While I've never understood SAD in the winter, I'm completely with those who suffer from too much sun.

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  16. I'm only SAD because the air quality is so bad. We need a good rain to clean the air so we can breathe again and to get mushroom season started.

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  17. This past ninety minutes over Walla Walla (10,9,2012, 15:00-16:30 pdt) at every compass quarter contrails have dispersed to become cirrus.

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  18. I too find too much sun stressful.

    When droughts happen it's even worse.

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  19. I agree with some of the other posters. I think it's the changelessness that gets me down.

    I lived in LA when I was a youngster for two or three years. Had to get back to where it was green, the broken earth was rich and dark and you could smell fir and cedar even over the jet fuel at PDX.

    I'm a native PNWer. I love our gray misty days. But, there have been some years where it extends a little too long into the spring and makes me just as twitchy as this long dry spell.

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  20. I moved to the Northwest from the Southwest after getting my college degree, and have never regretted it. The Southwest is scenic and has a beauty of its own, but after living there for a few years I really started missing lushness and green. Plus, I have very fair skin and sunburn very easily; it's great to not have to worry about getting a painful sunburn for most of the year.

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  21. Once again, Dr. Seuss was ahead of his time. Bring on the Oobleck!

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  22. Depression is a real thing that affects real people. So what if the thing that exacerbates my depression happens to be something you enjoy? Is that a reason to be casually mean by calling people nuts?

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  23. I have been so careful not to mention the weather for the last five weeks or so--I thought I might jinx it! I can understand people starting to feel uncomfortable with the sameness, but I need only look ahead to the 7-8 months of wet/gray/cold to avoid feeling that way about this sunshine. I'm with dampscribbler--I don't mind the rainy days so much as solid cloud cover with no rain or just drizzle, day after day. "Panicky and claustrophobic" is a good way to describe it.

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  24. thank you, Three Ninjas, for saying what I was thinking...

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  25. I buy this completely. I dread summer. I've noticed the past few years that, starting sometime in June, I become very restless, discontented with everything in my life, generally unhappy. And then, about September, these feelings magically go away, and all becomes right with the world--well, my world anyway. Oh, by the way, I was born and raised in Arizona, and moved here for the rain. :)

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  26. I don't know how I missed this post, but the main reason I moved here was the weather. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and lived my first 30 years there and I hated the weather. Sun, sun, sun! It drove me nuts and the constant confortable "warmness" (80°) was not confortable, it was like being in a pressure cooker. The brown was depressing, the constant sun was depressing; sleep, what sleep? When it would rain I would feel recharged!

    Now I have lived here 6 years and I love the weather and though I may love the outdoors and you'll find me backpacking every weekend in the summer (ironically not when it is raining), I love this weather and now when it gets over 65° I start getting irritated. I'm loving this rain again!

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  27. My depression was horrible after I moved to Denver, CO. I was not the same person and that's where I figured out that I had Reverse SAD. The sun is so intense there, like nothing I had ever seen or felt. I moved after four months. I had lived in Texas in the past and the sun and high temperatures there made me miserable. I just thought I hated the heat and now I know it was more. I definitely have Reverse SAD and love the cloudy days, cool temps and snow! I can take the sun from time to time and even appreciate it at times, but I get excited and happy when it's going to rain or on cloudy days. I now live in New England and I am much happier. We got plenty of sun this summer but it was not intense like in Denver. We also had a nice mix of cloudy days and rain. This is a very real disorder and I am happy to know it's being talked about and taken seriously. My family needed proof and were very upset when I said I had to leave Colorado. My life literally depended on it. Since sending them articles some of them are now understanding but not all.

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