It appears to be both a physical and a mental thing. Not everyone has a body designed to withstand high temperatures. Not everyone is overjoyed by endless months of brilliant hot sunshine.
And on the same note, not everyone hates winter: I adore winter. I'm bright and energetic. I am creative and full of ideas. I do stuff and go places and try new things. I exercise a lot, lose weight without even trying and look terrific. I love Christmas and dance in the rain and projects I undertake are successful and completed quickly and efficiently.
When thermometers creep up above 25C, however, a depression settles in that can only be lifted by a spit or spot of rain. And when months go by without a drop, when the grass is brown and young trees die, when the litter and filth on the sidewalks mounts up, that depression becomes impossible to shift.
I can't sleep so I feel constantly shattered. I can't even doze in the afternoon because the noise level in central London increases to mega-decibel levels (and there is ALWAYS a building site next door drilling metal for hours on end). I eat too much because there's nothing else to do. Also, people who have Summer SAD apparently are unable to cool down at night. I've ALWAYS been too hot at night. Only when the temperatures drop below 5C do I sleep well. So imagine what it's like for me when the thermometer still reads 27C at 11 o'clock - how am I supposed to sleep in that?
Being unable to sleep is worsened by the fact that I can't exercise, which would at least physically exhaust me. But if I did exercise in this heat, I'd probably die of a heart attack and anyway, the gym suddenly seems a hundred thousand miles away (in winter, it's just around the corner.) Nor can I go for a walk on the squares because it's just too hot to move, which means my body gets stiffer and stiffer (I get more backache in summer than winter, when I get almost none) and of course, fatter and fatter. The sidewalks are sheer utter hell: endless slabs of baking concrete. I'm the proverbial shade-seeking missile, crossing the street for an inch of shade.
Self-help pages talk a lot about cooling down. Yes, but how? I can't afford an air-conditioning unit. Those phenomenal Dyson fan things that are utterly silent and seem to radiate freezing cold air cost £500 for a small one (enough to cool down a cupboard.) I have two floor-standing fans which go twenty four hours a day but aside from moving the hot air about, they don't do much. I sleep with one trained on me and have constant dry eyes as a result.
While people suffering from normal SAD feel gloomy due to a lack of sunshine, I feel quite the reverse: all this endless hot, bright, relentless sunshine in London just crushes me. I feel as if I'm at the centre of a nuclear blast. I feel as if I'm in that desert from "The Sheltering Sky." I feel as if the sun fell down and white hot radiation has been dumped on me. I've read that others suffering from Summer SAD feel attacked by the sun - this describes me EXACTLY. The blazing sun probably triggers Summer SAD, just as the clocks going back in Autumn triggers Winter SAD.
I perceive the sun as my enemy - it feels as if it eats my skin. My skin actually hurts in the sunshine, like an acidic burn. I don't tan - too many pre-cancerous patches from my ghastly youth spent in - yes - blazing hot South Africa, the country from hell. I actually left SA to come to cool, rainy England. And while London roasts in the heat, the city I left behind is in the grip of its coldest winter ever.
Worst of all is that I can get no one to understand what this feels like. Most people are joyous in the heat. They smarm and sneer at me: oh, the British are always complaining; there's no pleasing some people. It's always raining, they say.......well, where? Where the fuck is it always raining? Can I go and live there? Because it hasn't rained since April in Bloomsbury, London, which I can prove as I have a hole the roof and it leaked and I phoned the council repairs to send someone out to inspect it. So it's in my diary.
The despair I feel is beyond anything I can describe. Every year I go through this, dreading summer, the heat, the humidity, the inactivity, the deathly pall of radioactive waste that crushes London in its massive fist (er, sorry, mixing metaphors but you try to write beautifully when it feels as if you're dying.) Last year was lovely - only a few short heatwaves at the start of summer and then the rest never got above 23C. A bit of a ghastly heatwave in September followed by a glorious long, long freezing winter.
Obviously I have to move. I need to get out of London. But with no money and no prospect of enough to move, what do I do in the meantime? I can't even afford to go on holiday. So I can't escape the filth and stink of London in the grip of the worst heatwave I've ever experienced. There is no relief in sight. Apparently August is going to be exactly the same. It didn't start raining the moment schools broke up (not in London, anyway.) And I can't spend all day in the freezer section in my supermarket.
A very small percentage of people suffer from Summer SAD. In Britain, so far, I gather there is only me. So no chance of finding a support group, then.