Summer is my favorite season. It could be 100 degrees out and I could be sweating through my shirt, dehydrated, forced to walk a few miles, but still be grateful that it is this time of year.
I have been waiting for it, like a caterpillar ready to crawl out of its cocoon and emerge as a butterfly. But, despite all the excitement I held before it began—summer is finally here and I’ve been feeling an overwhelming gloom that you would only expect to hold when it’s pouring rain.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this is, but depression never gives you direct answers. It simply sits there in silence, coming in and out of your life at random times even after you thought you got rid of it for good.
Accepting unpleasant situations around us is easy. It’s when you’re placed in the most pleasant situation and feel unable to really appreciate it that makes life a little more difficult.
See, I know there will be days when it gets too hot and I won’t be able to sleep at night, or maybe I’ll get a little too excited on vacation and drink too many cocktails—but summer for me has always been worth the extra sweat and added pounds of consuming too much alcohol.
So, summer began and the sun peered down onto my ready-to-tan skin, but I felt an overwhelming hit of sadness that I just couldn’t shrug off.
With depression, the sun may be shining, but you can’t seem to find even a glimpse of light coming in through your window when you most need it to get up in the morning. And the smile of a friend or an hour-long conversation while laying out on a beach still doesn’t seem to pull you away from the nagging ache that remains deep in your core.
Just to be clear, I’ve had summers where I couldn’t enjoy anything. I’ve had summers where I didn’t even realize it was summer because I refused to leave my bed most days. I’ve had worse summers. I just thought that I finally was able to get ahold of my depression well enough, so that I could fully enjoy a summer without it getting in the way.
I wish I could say that depression gets easier over time, but I don’t think it’s ever supposed to. After years of battling it, I’ve discovered it’s really up to us to become stronger, for us to work out the muscles necessary to carry the weight that continues to add up on our shoulders. It seems so unfair. We gain an accomplishment, find habits that heal us, create friendships, get on a path towards success, but still, there seems to be more and more we have to conquer in order to remain happy.
Nothing and no one can promise us absolute freedom from being sad or overwhelmed or unhappy. The only promise we can make is the one to ourselves to keep going anyway. That even though depression may hit us at the most inconvenient times, we can still make it through. The sun doesn’t indicate our emotions, but we can choose how to react towards them.
Although summertime comes with a lot of expectations—warm beach days, endless cocktails, planned vacations and possibly more free time to be around those you love—seasons can’t make promises. They simply bring upon all that is conceptualized by ourselves and the people around us. It doesn’t mean you can’t be happy when the rain is pouring heavy, or you can’t be sad when the weather is just right enough to go for a bike ride.
You can be sad in the summer. If anything, you should embrace it. Because trying to hide from it or feeling shame will only cause it to grow. Dig deep down into those emotions to discover what it is that may be causing you distress, if anything at all. Watch movies in bed and journal every thought in your head. Cancel plans with friends if you have to.
You are not missing out anything because taking care of yourself is always a priority.
Besides, the sadness won’t last forever. Yes, there will always be waves. Even though there are times we feel utterly helpless and confused and hurt, there will also be the times we feel like we have made it. There will be times we feel like nothing bad in the world can even graze us with its fingertips and everything we are is in absolute perfect condition.
Those moments are what we live for and we should be grateful that they can come at any moment, any day, and any season.