Not Seasonal, Just Depression

The more experience I’ve gained on my mental health journey, the better I’ve gotten at recognizing my depression and the reasons behind it. That being said, depression can still be tricky. There are times where I feel like I know exactly why I feel depressed; other times, it’s like a feeling or emotion comes out of nowhere. The wintertime is actually one of the trickiest times to recognize my feelings. Is it just a time of seasonal sadness, or is it something I need to look into further?

As I’ve written in previous posts, the wintertime isn’t easy. There are many ways that the wintertime can make us feel symptoms of depression. There are short days and cold nights; people aren’t as available to get together for social events as they might be other times of the year; and there’s an increased focus on reflecting on the year you’ve had that can make it difficult for many. This is a time of year that can feel magical one day, and the saddest day the next.

But how can you tell when something’s really wrong? I’ve written posts about the signs of depression, about looking out for different symptoms and noticing patterns that seem out of the ordinary, but it’s more complicated than that. There is so much going on all at once and for a lot of people, taking a step back and disengaging from the busyness is often the only way they know how to get the rest they need. If that starts happening more often than usual, that could be a sign something is wrong.

When you experience depression and anxiety on a regular basis, you get to know yourself and your limits quite well. Instead of relying on a desire to do something (something you can’t always afford to do), I rely on whether or not I have the capability to do something in the moment. If I can’t, I might take a minute or two and then reassess. This is how I move through most of my days during the winter season, and I wish there was more room for others to do the same.

So many mental health advocates talk about how “it’s okay to not be okay,” and this couldn’t be more true during this time of year. We don’t always need to qualify why we’re hurting or sad, and we can be depressed without meaning that we’re dealing with depression.

Definitions and clear-cut plans can be very helpful on our mental health journeys, but they aren’t always required for mental wellness. Sometimes we just need to look at what’s in front of us, and ask ourselves what we need in the moment. And many times, that’s exactly what we need.

5 thoughts on “Not Seasonal, Just Depression

  1. Virginia Martin Author December 11, 2022 / 12:09 pm

    I find this time of year is not the best for me. It conjures up sadness. Since I left a corporate job in March, I have spent quality time in educating myself about my mental illness with depression, and why I am a certain type of way. Also, making my mental wellness a priority, and not put it in the back burner. I have opened up about having this condition and want to help end the stigma and change the narrative around it. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith December 12, 2022 / 4:46 pm

      I’m glad to hear that you’re making your mental wellness a priority – it’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it! Thank you so much for reading and your comment!

      Like

  2. Rooks December 16, 2022 / 9:58 am

    I really enjoyed this. I think that’s the one thing that I struggle to tell people who earnestly wish to know about depression and how it affects one another.

    Like you mentioned, it seems like the hard ones are the ones that come out of left field, for no other reason than to simply be there. I’ve learned some of my triggers throughout the last few years, and those I can deal with. Financial hardship; I can pull myself out of a funk eventually by realizing I have a job and just need to scrimp and save a bit to pull out of it. Social Issues; I know I am friendly enough that I can talk to people and let them know what’s going on and those that are keepers will understand.

    But the one that hits you like a ton of bricks on some idle Tuesday morning while waiting at a stoplight on your way in to work? Yeah… no trick to solve that one. Just time and resilience, hopefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith December 16, 2022 / 2:49 pm

      Those times that feel like they come out of nowhere are some of the most challenging I’ve dealt with, but some of those moments have also taught me the most about my depression. I also haven’t found any great ways to solve those moments, but I believe it makes me stronger and better prepared for the next time it comes around. I like thinking about it in terms of time and resilience – that’s a great way of looking at it! Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

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