Seasonal Depression in Spring/Summer

                The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the days are longer, and I couldn’t be more miserable if I tried. Clearly, I’m not a doctor and I dislike doing research which means everything you’re about to read is from my personal experience and shouldn’t be taken as gospel on any subject.

                For those of you who are asking yourselves, “How can you possibly be depressed in such beautiful weather?” Be patient, I’m about to tell you. Yes, the weather is beautiful TO YOU. To me? Beautiful weather is gloomy skies, a chill in the air, and the threat of precipitation in any form. Unfortunately, for the next four months I must deal with ungodly high temperatures, sunburn, and sweating my ass off. Not my idea of a good time.

                There’s more to it than the general annoyances we all endure in the Spring and Summer. As I said, the days are longer and I don’t handle this well. To me, longer days means more time alone in my apartment. More alone time is NOT what I need right now. I’ve been taking naps almost every single day when I come home from work. I feel exhausted for no reason and taking naps makes the day go faster so I can go back to bed. I measure time by how much longer until I can crawl into my bed. Three more hours, two more hours, FINALLY!

                Depression runs deep on both sides of my family. However, I’m 50% Italian and 50% Irish so no one talks about anything. I’m the chatterbox in my family, the one who refuses to keep their mouth shut, the one who says what everyone else is too afraid to say. I have to talk about this because if I don’t then it only becomes worse and I sink deeper.

                Let me explain how I feel in the Spring/Summer. For one thing, I have a very difficult time sleeping at night. If I’m even the least bit hot I wake up and can’t fall back to sleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night and the birds are already chirping, I can’t get back to sleep unless I put ear plugs in and even then, it’s iffy. My apartment has central air but it doesn’t circulate well (especially in 90 degree weather) and I spent most of last summer sleeping on the floor of my living room. Not fun.

                Then there’s the whole clothing aspect of the warmer months. If you know me at all, you know I struggle with my weight and have for much of my life. Now it’s shorts, tank tops, and bathing suit weather. I would rather burrow into a hoodie, jeans, and under six blankets than wear those things. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made unbelievable progress over the past two-three years and I don’t just mean on the scale. Yes, I’ve lost almost 40lbs. But I’ve also reached a place where I can look in a mirror and not immediately cringe or cry because even though I’m still big, I’m happier and that’s more important than the number on the scale.

                Honestly, I am doing much better, but I hit my biggest setbacks in the Spring and Summer. I’ve gained some weight back and it’s completely derailed me. It’s not a lot of weight but that never seems to matter, does it? All we see is a bigger number and it sets us off. Hell, I even managed to keep my weight steady during the holidays but as soon as Spring hits, it’s up again.

                Sometimes I genuinely sabotage myself. When I see a higher number, my first thoughts are, “Oh fuck it then, I’m going to eat whatever I want. Screw this. It’s not worth it. It’s never going to be worth it. You’re always going to be fat, come to terms with it and do whatever you want.” Logically, I’m aware this is a TERRIBLE overreaction but it’s the easy reaction. Giving up is so easy and it feels SO good. For about a week before the self-loathing kicks in again. I’ve tried incredibly hard over the years to turn those thoughts around and not let myself ruin everything I’ve done. It’s tough to be kind to ourselves.

                Obviously, with all these thoughts running through my head the last thing I want to do is put on a pair of shorts or sit by the pool. There are very people in my life (mostly my best friends) who have seen me in shorts, even fewer people have seen me in sleeveless shirts. Sleeveless shirts…I mean WHY?! Why is this a thing? I HATE them. Well, that’s not true, I hate my arms. I hate my arms more than any other part of my body and I’d be perfectly content to never let another human being see them. It’s bad enough I have to see them.

                Are you starting to get it? Are you starting to understand why someone with these types of thoughts wouldn’t exactly thrive in the warmer weather?

                You might be saying to yourself, “Shouldn’t this warmer weather motivate you to work harder to achieve the results you desire?” Here’s my answer: NOPE. In fact, I have the exact opposite reaction. I want to hide. I want to hide away until the leaves start to fall. You know why? Because every time I try to set a goal for myself like “Oh I want to lose five pounds before July”, if that doesn’t happen, the disappoint sets me back MONTHS and then I’m miserable again.

                I’m already hard on myself. I beat myself up harder than anyone else. For instance, my Dad took a picture of me when I wasn’t paying attention and I was making a funny face in it. He sent me the picture, with absolutely no harm intended in any way, and I started crying. Because I had no neck, I had 18 chins and that’s ALL I could see. I told him, “Oh my god, delete that immediately and never show it to me again. That’s disgusting.” I called a picture of my own face “disgusting” and I meant it. Can you imagine what runs through my mind when I see a picture of myself in shorts and a sleeveless top?

                I wish I had solutions for any of this. I wish the first thoughts in my head weren’t always negative. I wish I didn’t care what other people think. I wish I thought better of myself. Don’t we all wish to think better of ourselves?

                These upcoming months are my worst. These are the months where every insecurity I have is amplified to the highest degree. I still have good days. I have days where I laugh and smile and have a great time.

                The reason I wrote this is because I want people to be mindful that not everyone loves Spring and Summer. Not everyone wants to sit on a beach all day. Not everyone wants to dress weather appropriate. Try to keep that in mind before you say something like, “Oh my god, aren’t you dying in those jeans?” Yeah, I am sweating in them but they’re also the only reason I’m standing outside right now and not lying in bed so give me a break.

                It’s rough for me right now. It’s rough for a lot of people.

                Be kind to yourselves and I promise I’ll try to do the same.