Depression may feel overwhelming, especially when the seasons change. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that may happen during cloudy, low light seasons that often include cold temperatures.
You may notice that depression happens for you during certain times of the year, which can also be related to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
However, you have permission to let go of the guilt if your depression occurs during sunny days too. As flowers begin to bloom, the sun comes out from the clouds, and warmer temperatures start to occur; you have permission to be gentle with yourself if it takes you longer to adjust.
One of the most difficult parts of depression is the shame that is attached to it.
Toxic positivity can re-emerge during shifts of season because you may hear about what you should be doing rather than honoring what feels most comfortable to you.
If you are in a bad mood, the last thing you may want to hear is how to feel better from a person that is not acknowledging your current emotion.
That being said, depression loves the partner of isolation and the most comfortable task isn’t always the most helpful in healing yourself. You get to champion yourself to help lessen the symptoms of depression.
When seasons shift, you may start to feel pressure about starting anew and setting intentions to help yourself in the coming months. Some people are tempted to create vision boards so that they can identify their priorities.
These can be helpful methods to move in a forward direction. Goal setting can help depression, and you do not have to feel shame if you are not there yet.
Shame creeps in when we allow our depressive thoughts to take over or feel we have to live up to what we perceive other’s expectations of us are. Some negative beliefs that often come with depression and fuel shame are:
“I’m not good enough.”
“There’s no reason for me to be depressed.”
“I’m a burden to others.”
“I should feel better by now”
Getting stuck in these unhelpful ways of thinking can keep us stuck, however, jumping to the opposites can also be too much. Learning to shift from these beliefs to more helpful ways of thinking while processing the meaning behind the beliefs can be helpful in reducing shame and depression.
Clinical depression is a prolonged form of depression that doesn’t occur during certain seasons, so there is even more of a responsibility to get help when you need it most.
Sunny days may be taunting you to get outside and do the thing that you haven’t done yet, no matter your mood. Go for it when you feel like you are honoring yourself and not doing it to please someone else.
You get to listen to yourself and take risks when you get too comfortable with behaviors that are no longer serving you.
A depressed mood doesn’t mean that you avoid taking action; it means that you can acknowledge that it takes extra effort and maybe the action steps taken are smaller in the beginning.
Healing is a process, and you do not have to force yourself into happiness even when there is sunshine outside if you are not there yet.
Repressing emotions and stuffing feelings can do more harm than good. When you stuff a feeling or repress an emotion, it can get stuck in your body rather than moving through appropriately.
Somatic therapies, that focus on emotions and sensations felt in the body, can be especially helpful when feelings get stuck in your body. Finding a mental health professional doesn’t have to be a deterrent to get help, there are many options available.
This may be a time to start something new, and you are welcome to engage in old habits that are helping you too. Identify what feels most helpful to you so that you can develop compassion and empathy for yourself.
You don’t have to suffer each day with negative feelings about yourself.
Here are 5 signs that you may be experiencing depression:
1. Persistent loss of interest2. Changes in appetite 3. Changes in sleep 4. Difficulty concentrating 5. Feeling of hopelessness/worthlessness
Though this list is not exhaustive and only a mental health professional can provide you with a diagnosis of depression; these experiences may be a sign of depression if they persist.
It is difficult to hold space for depression symptoms because they are often uncomfortable.
When your friends and loved ones are applying pressure to enjoy the outdoors and see the good, it may be the only way they know to help you. You don’t have to feel shame about not being where you want to be mentally.
Mental illness can be tiring especially when you don’t get the treatment that best matches your mental health condition. Mental health professionals can help with this and it is your choice who you work with.
Friends and loved ones are not professionals, so they often have good intentions that can lead to unhelpful outcomes regarding mental health disorders like depression.
If you are feeling the pressure from the people around you or yourself to improve your mental health, it may be time to seek help from a professional like a therapist.
A family member may want to help, and depressive symptoms can be best treated with professional treatment by therapists who know how to help with depression.
Negative thoughts, negative self talk, and negative emotions can be harmful when you are feeling depressed.
Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. When these thoughts and behaviors occur, getting the treatment or therapy from a therapist who understands suicide can be life saving. A phone call to the national suicide prevention lifeline or Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 can create a safety net that you may not have known you needed.
You deserve to get the help you need if you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal ideation as a depression symptom. Forcing yourself to go outside doesn’t have to be the solution and understanding that healthy discomfort like movement as well as nature can be beneficial in your overall mental health.
You get to honor your current mental health and make changes to improve your mental health if you are feeling depressed. You don’t have to cope with depression alone.
There are resources available, and you have tools that are already within you. A trusted professional like a therapist can help you navigate your mental health and identify the resources you have within and that are available to you.
A great local resource for therapy in Denver and Colorado is Denver Metro Counseling. Our clinicians specialize in helping people address shame and move through depression.
Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA and Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of Denver therapists who provide teen therapy, young adult therapy, adult therapy, family therapy and other counseling and therapy in Denver and throughout Colorado. We specialize in relationships, codependency, communication and boundaries and provide supportive therapy for people struggling with life transitions, trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, ADHD, negative body image, and more.