“APRIL is the cruellest month,
breeding Lilacs out of the dead land,
mixing Memory and desire,
stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.”
— T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
Though I was calling it “Ungrateful for a Break in the Cold Gray Weather” and “Lame,” apparently some doctors have a kinder, more clinical term for the nice weather blues: “Spring Exacerbation.” No one knows why exactly suicides are at their highest this time of year, or why those suffering from SAD can get an extra dose of wham-slam when the sun re-appears. Some say sadness meets a slight energy lift–just enough to act on ruminations. Others speculate that there’s a feeling of “Wow it’s gorgeous out and I still feel crappy? That must mean I will never be happy.” Whatever it is, it’s true.
As someone who spent the weekend feeling absolutely blammoed by the extreme shift to utter gorgeousness, T.S. Eliot (above) makes sense. There’s something oddly comforting about the misery of winter, and a camaraderie with even those who aren’t normally depressed. When the sun comes and wrenches those lilacs from the earth and families and friends and couples all play frisbee and have picnics and talk about how happy they are, it’s almost too much to bear. And then that fact–that I’ve waited and prayed for spring and now I can’t even enjoy it–makes me feel like an ungrateful wretch in addition to completely alone and raw and skinless. The bad-thought pile-on.
I guess I’m writing about this for my own sense of needing to tell, but also to say to people who might think that no one else could possibly be bummed when the sun is beaming and the flowers are blooming–on a weekend no less–that you’re not alone. And from what I’ve read, things should start to level out again in June.
Meantime, if you or a loved one is suffering from the beautiful weather blues, be gentle, find softness, and try and get let a little sun. I’ve found that near-twilight felt easiest–the pressure was off to have a FANTASTIC day, you know? And here’s a reminder that a friend simply and potently texted me yesterday when I asked how I could possibly be depressed in this yummiest of weather: “You’re loved,” he said. And so are you.
Do you get depressed in the spring? How do you cope?
*Thank you, Jimi, for writing so adeptly about depression.