The hot weather is making me rather irritable, gloomy and tired. My background in psychology automatically separates the psychological from the physical. It doesn’t occur to me that summer may have something to do with it. Big mistake. The problem with summer is that it worsens the worst symptoms I have – migraine headaches, breathing problems, autonomic dysfunction.
The headaches I’ve not grown accustomed to, but they’re predictable and I can to a certain extent, fall back on the habit of headache days. Breathing problems are much improved with new drugs and so as summer symptoms go, I’m having a rather pleasant time of it. The last issue is rather more noticeable. Blood flow is directed away from the heart, lungs and brain resulting in a range of rather unpleasant symptoms: dizziness, fatigue, fainting, cold hands and feet, disorientation, shortness of breath, headache, muscle weakness, blurred vision, impaired concentration, insomnia, difficulty finding the right word, depression, anxiety, flushing, rapid heart rate. Quite a few of these are just part of daily life and it takes a little more to make me sit up and notice the gradual changes. Like, say, standing up this morning, fainting and finding myself on the floor with a few dislocated joints, thinking a little hazily that maybe something’s up.
The biggest problem with summer however is that heat stroke occurs much more readily in those with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, like me. It took a little longer to realize that it’s not just autonomic dysfunction wreaking a little pretty harmless havoc, but hyperthermia. Cold bath time. There used to be a time when heat stroke was a little more serious and when you read up on it, it’s always ‘heat stroke is a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately’. I no longer seek medical attention for dislocations, most asthma attacks, loosing consciousness and quite a few other things that are technically medical emergencies. The rules have got to be redefined or I’ll live at A&E.
I’ve been rather irritable since summer has arrived and it’s taken a while to realize that it’s not so much that I’m a moody person, although maybe I am just a little, but there’s definitely a physiologically component to it. One cold bath and copious bottles of chilled water later, I can sit in an air-conditioned room and am as right as rain. Well, maybe not so much but at least I know what’s going on. Silly, silly summer weather.