As T.S Eliot once said; "April is the cruellest month."
I totally relate to this. Having suffered with an eating disorder and depression for nine years, springtime has often equated to relapse. And from researching into this, it looks as though I am not the only one. Studies indicate that DST (Daylight Saving Time) not only robs us of an hours sleep, but it also plays havoc with our mood, health and body clock. So all in all, April is a month where depression is in abundance.
But unfortunately, not just depression increases; suicide does. It's an enigma that still baffles the science world that most suicides are recorded in the, what should be, more cheery, bright and sunny months of April and May. Psychologists have put this down to the fact that winter is a blanket we can hide behind, drawing the curtains at 5pm and shutting out the world. Socialising dwindles and the depression can manifest without much thought. However when the days are longer and brighter, those with depression, like myself, are exposed. We feel vulnerable, naked, our mood unmasked for everyone to see.
Whilst the nature of spring does induce energy levels, this newfound energy is often used to fulfil ruminations, and speaking from experience I have to agree. Suffering from a mental health disorder, I find that this energy is exerted on my depressive ponderings, hence why my disorder tends to relapse at the start of this season. Increased pressure to engage in social situations also plays a huge part; seeing everybody else being carried into the natural vibrancy of the season can act as a reminder and trigger that we are not. We are frozen in our escapism, the depression still grasping onto the darkness that is winter, clutching to a hope of cold rainy days where our mood can subtly blend in with the rest of society.
Another, more physical theory I've found is that of 'inflammation'. Without going into the scientific jargon, research has discovered a direct link between tree pollen and depression. The researchers analysed 13,700 suicides in a population of 2.86 million and found that suicides increased 6.5% when the pollen count reached 10 to 30 particles per cubic meter of air versus zero particles. A pollen count of 30 to 100 grains was linked to a 13.2% increase in suicides, the researchers reported in the journal BMJ Open.
[credit: Live Science]
I don't know what 'per cubic of air versus zero particles' means either.. However, we can sift through as many tests and experiments as we like, but will it actually provide any solutions? My hypothesis is no. Depression is such a grey area that there will be sufferers reading this that don't relate, as well as those that do. It's a testing time in many ways. Even sitting outside in the garden seems too much of a step towards conforming to springtime antics. I wake up and wish for it to be evening again; my safe place, my haven, but there's an entire day to get through that now seems endless.
Springtime is a limbo. A purgatory for people with depression. A spaceless void where we are trapped, unable to make the transition through to happiness. But hold on tight because summer is better, right?
Excerpts of this article were taken from Danielle's older piece on her blog.