seasonal affective disorder in the summer

PSA: Not All Depression Is Seasonal, Stop Expecting Me To Be Happy Just Because It's Summer

Lana Del Rey was right, "summertime sadness" is 100% real.

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Now that it's summertime, there seems to be a huge misconception that because school is out and stress levels typically seem to be less, that depression just disappears. Unfortunately, this is not the case, rather just a misconception.

In case you are unfamiliar with seasonal affective disorder, also referred to as SAD, it is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons, beginning and ending at about the same time every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, leaving you feeling irritable and moody. However, although it is uncommon, what most people aren't aware of is that some people's seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring and summer months.

To be diagnosed with SAD, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons (appearing in the winter or summer months) for at least 2 years.

For the 1/10th that experience what some refer to as "reverse" seasonal affective disorder,, there are several daunting questions that critics seem to ask, such as: "Why are you so sad? Shouldn't you be happy because it's summertime?" The truth is, not nearly as many studies have been done to help psychologists understand reverse seasonal depression as much as the traditional seasonal depression that occurs during the year's colder months.

While winter SAD is often linked to a lack of sunlight, it is thought that summer SAD is due to the too much sunlight, leading to an increase of melatonin production. Others speculate that people stay up later in the summer, confusing their circadian rhythms. Surprisingly, summer SAD and winter SAD seem to be prevalent in areas that have hotter temperatures in the summertime. In summary, people in the southern region of the U.S. tend to experience summer SAD more so than those in the northern regions (and vice versa).

Another more modern link that researchers have tied summer depression to is a fear of missing out, or FOMO. When all your other friends are posting about how much fun they're having going to the beach and studying abroad, you can begin to feel like you're missing out on something, especially if you are already feeling down, to begin with.

That being said, if you notice one of your friends seems a little under the weather, do not assume that just because it's summertime that they're supposed to be happy. Depression can be seasonal, it can come in waves, or it can linger for months. Everyone's struggle with mental illness is different and should be treated as a deeply personal matter.

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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15 Steamy Summer Date Ideas That Won't Burn Through Your Bank

Don't let date night get repetitive this summer...

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With a new season, comes new opportunities for super fun date ideas to keep your love life fresh and fun. I'm sure your favorite brunch place is great, but why not take advantage of the beautiful weather and try out some new things with your significant other this summer?

1. Go to the farmers market.

There is something so refreshing about walking through a farmers market. How could you not be happy when surrounded by fresh fruit, coffee stands, and live music? This is such an easy way to get some sunshine and grab some AMAZING food. My farmers market used to have everything from freshly pressed lemonade to waffle sandwiches. If you want to take the date a step further, find a recipe before you go, and buy fresh ingredients to cook a yummy dinner together later that night.

2. Tie-dye matching T-shirts.

Tie-dye is messy, so take advantage of the beautiful weather and head outside where things can get as messy as you want! What a cute little date souvenir too!

3. Late night ice cream run.

Ice cream is cool and everything, but something about ice cream in the middle of the night seems way more adventurous than a mid-day scoop. And the only time of the year that its going to be warm enough out to get ice cream late at night is, of course, summer!

4. Draw with chalk.

Honestly, your possibilities with this are pretty endless. Drawing contests, hop-scotch, make a masterpiece together, whatever your heart desires. Bring a speaker and maybe some bubbles too while you're at it, sometimes embracing our inner child is a necessary, grounding experience.

5. Throw a barbecue.

Who says spending time together is limited to only the two of you? Cooking together for your friends can be great bonding time too. Invite the crew and spend the afternoon outside at a park or in a backyard. Bring some music and maybe some activities like frisbee or kickball and enjoy some beautiful social time.

6. Take partner dance lessons.

Salsa, tango, swing, rumba, foxtrot, your opportunities are endless. Nobody is saying you have to be good, but how fun will it be to have some new moves to show off next time you and your friends go out dancing or to a concert?

7. Float down a river.

Go with just the two of you or bring some friends, either way, this is a perfect way to spend a few hours out in the sun while staying cool in the water!

8. Take your dogs to the dog park.

Parks are already fun, but when they're full of dogs they're about a million times better! Also, who doesn't love watching their significant other play with puppies?!? It doesn't get cuter than that.

9. Go cliff jumping.

In a safe spot, of course! You know what they say, you should do something that scares you every day...

10. Go on a road trip

A road trip is perfect because it's not as huge of a commitment as going on a real vacation together, but it's still a good little getaway where you are sure to bond a ton. You will have the whole car ride to talk and jam out to each other's favorite songs, how could that not be a grand time?

11. Get artsy and do a photoshoot.

Even if you're not a photographer, its kind of fun to get creative with a camera! Pick a spot somewhere nearby with cool scenery (try golden hour for extra gorgeous photos) and be each other's models. It will be a nice simple date, plus you will get some good Insta content!

12. Go to a sports game.

Plan ahead and get some tickets to go see a sports game in your town or one nearby! Sports games have such a fun upbeat atmosphere, plus fun food, and they're a good excuse to get decked out in fun fan gear!

13. Go mini golfing.

SUCH a cute and fun date idea. Mini-golfing dates never fail to bring out peoples silly sides. Why not make it a competition? Loser buys ice cream for the two of you when you're finished.

14. Go rollerblading.

OK, this one scares me personally, but for anyone with the athletic ability to attempt this, I fully encourage (and envy) you! What cuter sight to see than the two of you holding hands gliding down the city walk together? Just please wear your pads!

15. Have a car wash.

I don't mean go to the car wash together! I mean break out the speaker, the buckets, the sponges, the hose, and get soapy and silly together in the sun. Who knew cleaning could be so much fun?!

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