Summer Onset Depression–The June Blues

June Depression

I am part of the less than 1% of the population affected by “reverse SAD” or summer onset depression.  I find summer days insufferably long and empty.

Doctors can’t identify what causes reverse SAD but theorize that heat and extended sunlight hours are likely causes.  I am a native New Mexican and veteran of months of 100+ degree weather.  I attribute my troubles more to humidity than heat.  Most of all, I blame long summer days.

In New Mexico, my June Blues resembled a lasting case of the blahs. School was over, so I rented movies by the armful.  Watching movies and reading books for six weeks seemed like an awesome way to spend half the summer. Besides, the snakes were too active for rock collecting or desert adventures.

White Night 2

I experienced my first unmistakable summer depression in Russia. I assumed my new marriage, new country and new language overwhelmed and exhausted me.  The contribution of heat and unremitting sunlight were unconsidered factors.

On my honeymoon, I collapsed.  The air was crisp and fresh as Egor and I sailed north of Saint Petersburg to picturesque Vaalam .  Daylight glowed incessantly. Surrounded by pastoral riverfronts and whimsical Karelian cottages, I should have explored miles of coastline.

Instead, the white nights stupefied me. The sun scraped the horizon, casting the land in a hazy twilight.  Like an over-exposed Polaroid, the world was bleary, bleached, and glazed with an unnatural film.

Disoriented, I slept for most of the next two days. I assumed some mysterious northern illness incapacitated me when actually the culprits were depression and autism.

One of our white nights.

After two blinding summers in Moscow, Egor and I moved back to New Mexico. I welcomed the darker, longer summer nights.  My seasonal doldrums persisted, overlooked.

After moving to New Hampshire, my June Blues emerged conspicuously.  Oddly, our visible light lingers only 90 minutes more than in New Mexico.  Some sensitive neurological pathway is disturbed, nonetheless.

June’s eight p.m. sun feels like an unsavory protuberant eye, leering at me with wild diurnal thoughts. It is as disconcerting as a nude stroll in a crowded, but hushed stadium. So, I climb into bed, toss a black sheet over my head and watch movies on the laptop.

My blog, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter have fallen silent. I have not finished reading my dear friend’s novel.  A weekly shower is a major goal.

June Blues 2

This is not a pity party, however. Despite the electronic vanishing act, I manage my family responsibilities with aplomb.  I shop, clean, cook and vacuum.  I watercolored ten thank you cards for Liev’s awesome treatment team.  I even shampooed the kitty.

Solstice approaches and the June Blues will soon be behind me.  I await you, August Idylls!

17 thoughts on “Summer Onset Depression–The June Blues

  1. What a powerful post. I can sooooo relate. Because of my chronic pain (so bad today) I am affected by the cold and dampness…..and what do I do…move to the rainest state in the USA……hit me now….I was depressed all day. Clouds in June….booooo-hoooo. I love you and am sending you depression lifting hugs. This was a great read, and you are so dang creative!!!! Go Girl. 🙂

    1. Thank you for keeping in touch, Sam. I really appreciate having such thoughtful online buddies!

      I can’t imagine coping with both chronic pain and Asperger’s. Actually, perhaps having the ability to hyperfocus could be a blessing. When you are in the zone, you can bliss out. But the bad days–good grief! 🙂

      I have always loved the rain–a consequence of being a desert rat. I think humidity is the worst though. I bet you have the lovliest springs!

      Thanks agsin for reaching out and keeping in touch.


  2. Lori,
    June has been insufferable to me as well! I too have disappeared from the internet, going berserk in the paralyzing heat. My thoughts are with you as you struggle. I am huddled around your mental campfire of snow, hoping to push the creative urge back to the surface. Much luck on the long trek to August. Know I am it traveling with you, and that you are not alone.

    1. Thank you Susan! The NM weather has been odd and sultry. The heat is an even greater thief for you. I wish you the best and hope you feel better soon. Fortunately, the internet is not going anywhere!

      Nice to hear form you!

  3. Congratulations for managing so much! What you mentioned (housework e.t.c) and also the above beautiful & interesting artistic collages. I hope you will get to feel better soon!

  4. Oh, heavens! I have never heard of this. I am the opposite and gain depression in winter months, hence one of my fears about moving back to a colder climate. (I am a tad bit worried about my body pains reemerging as well, and allergies. Egad! I cannot think of it. Sorry this is your post I do not mean to babble on about myself.:-))

    You are accomplishing a ton wading through the dredge of June heat and that blasted sun! This did read very poetically and again your images are rock awesomeness! I do miss you peeping, popping and posting in and out, but my I wish you to get your rest and whatever you need to help you get through this time.

    My happy thoughts, and cheerful heart are thinking of you – hoping for a grand August to bust through to bring you smiles.

    Happy weeks to you ahead my friend!!

    Hugs and smiles!

    1. Angel, thank you so much for the sweet and thoughtful comment. I feel fortunate that I am able to maintain my online friendships. It means the world to me to have people to share with who also understand my occasional disappearing acts.

      I am continuously amazed with how you stay connected, especially with all of the change going on in your life. I am deeply grateful to you for keeping in touch!

      Happy Day!

  5. Your opening line really caught my curiosity.

    But as I read through you post, your words really started to resonate with me.

    Winter months at higher latitudes during Winter months for extended periods were absolute torture, like my life had been robbed from me.

    As a child and younger man, I loved the longer days of summer. There was always an underlying sense of the summer daylight being relentless, but this was suppressed by the joy of youthful activity.

    However, as I get older I am sensing a growing dislike for the changes in daylight hours, any change!

    I think ideally I would like to live in a place where it gets light around 6.30/7.00am, when I’m having breakfast and then gets dark around 7.00/8.00, all year round 🙂

    But that constancy doesn’t exist, even on the Equator!

    Thanks so much for writing this post.

    You are not alone.

    1. Please forgive my late response, I have felt unequal to making sensible, quality replies.

      Thank you for your eloquent comment. You make a very acute observation–change rattles the sensitive. I might dance a jig in autumn, but it is edged with frenzy. I don’t think I am calm about any shift in my life. I am flap-happy or stone bored. Alas!

      I appreciate you visiting and leaving an inspired comment!


  6. So hope your art serves as an outlet and comfort for you when you are struggling. It is beautiful, creative and quite expressive. “This too shall pass.”

  7. Interesting! My 6 year old suffers the most in our summer and comes
    Good in winter. Instinct has always wondered if the hotter
    Temps cause it or a coincidence!!

    1. You may be right. Since I wrote this post, my son was diagnosed with Tourette’s. While he does not become depressed, the heat makes his tics worse. Our pediatric neurologist said heat can impact neurological responses! I’m cranking up the cooler! Thanks for visiting!

  8. I hope you have some peaceful darkness soon!

    I experience a little of this, but not nearly as much as you are describing. For me, it feels like a sensory issue and also a metaphorical/spiritual thing. I am a person who needs big spaces of quietness and stillness. The sunlight and heat feels like the opposite and after a while I feel myself yearning and anxious for rainstorms.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    1. Thank you for the well-wishes, Emma. I appreciate it. You are right, a large component of my misery is sensory. Like you, rain storms are soothing to me. They rinse away heat and light and leave fresh smells!

      Thank you for visiting and sharing with me! 🙂


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