When Warm Weather Actually Makes You More Depressed and Suicidal
Spring has past and summer is here – and yet, I feel worse and already know my mood will sink lower in the months to come along with an increase in suicidality.
Not to be overly negative but: I hate this time of the year. I really, really do.
Despite the warmth, the sunshine and the premieres of all my favorite shows, I can’t help but be filled with dread. Not only was my birthday in late spring — a reminder I am unwillingly alive for yet another year — but it brings up a lot of family-related trauma resulting in me crying on and off while on edge the entire month of May. Then, there’s the anniversary of my last two suicide attempts and all the complicated baggage that comes with that.
But even if it weren’t for these things, I don’t think my feelings about this time of year would particularly change. For many people, the seasonal change lifts their moods but I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. For me, my severe depression and suicidality are a year-round thing. They’re like this annoying dark cloud hanging over me all year long, and during the spring and summer seasons, the cloud gets a buttload heavier. Maybe it’s a part of me being jealous and bitter that others get relief when I don’t. Maybe it’s the annoyance that the world around me seems to so glaringly be opposite of my inner gloom. Whatever it is, I’m not alone.
In fact, suicide rates increase during spring and summer months and there are several studies on the phenomenon. Which honestly seems like the ultimate irony considering how these months represent rebirth and growth. But maybe that’s part of it. It’s one thing to be fighting a demoralizing and crushing depression when the world outside is cold, dark and gloomy (like you). But it’s a whole another thing to fight the depression when everything outside reminds you that you should be fine, and that if anything you should be happier. It’s like a perfect mirror opposite to how you feel.
And let’s be honest, it’s easy to excuse the unwillingness to go outside when the weather is foul — but when it’s sunny and warm, what excuse does one have? Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I verbally abuse myself in an effort to will myself better. But our inner voices aren’t always the only ones who share this sentiment. How many of us have family, friends and other loved ones urging us to go out or enjoy warm weather activities? Even coworkers, bosses and strangers seem to have an opinion on the matter as they urge you to smile and enjoy the weather. And no matter how well-intentioned (or not), it fills me with a sense of dread and sadness. It’s just yet another reminder that something is wrong with me, something that I’m desperately trying hard to fight and have been for a very long time now. I’m reminded of all the things I’ve lost because of this and of all the things I can’t do now. I can’t help but feel so down and I think a lot of people probably feel the same way.
It’s only been a few months since spring started, and I’m already exhausted and counting down the days till colder weather (which I know my chronic pain will later hate me for). So, to all of you like me, you’re not crazy. You, like me, are just depressed and that unfortunately sucks big time. And yes, if there is a God out there in the beyond, I’d agree that it seems like they have a warped sense of humor subjecting us to this kind of irony.
But I hope you find some comfort in the fact that you’re not going through this alone. I probably won’t be outside much, for a variety of reasons, and rest assured my warm weather months will be spent mostly in and out of medical and psych appointments, so if you spend all or most of it indoors you’re not alone. And even if everyone in your life is telling you that you should be fine or enjoying yourself, think of me and all the other “Spring Gloomers.” I like to picture Wednesday in the second Addams Family movie where she’s at camp with all the other cheerful, colorful children while she’s dressed in her usual dark clothing and with her typical Wednesday flat tone. I imagine us to all be some different version of Wednesday like Spiderverse except Wednesday so like…Wednesday-verse?
Anyways, you’re not alone, Spring and Summer Gloomer. We’re out here depressed and suicidal too, despite the seasonal change. And if you’re not like me, check on those you know who are. Make sure they are safe and remind them while it really sucks that they’re depressed, it’s also OK that they are. Depression doesn’t just go away just cause the season changes (at least for those of us without seasonal depression).
Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash