There’s a common misconception that seasonal depression only occurs in the winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder – or SAD – is a real thing for many people, and certain aspects of winter, like there being less daylight, can certainly trigger anxiety. However, there’s also what some folks occasionally refer to as “reverse SAD.” This is essentially because one out of ten people with SAD actually experience the symptoms in reverse.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is, simply put, depression that features seasonal patterns. It does not have to be specific to any particular season.
Good weather can bring out uneasy feelings just the same as bad weather can. It just depends on the person. If you’re wondering why that is, we’ve got a few answers.
New allergens are in the air.
There’s actually been a decent amount of research regarding allergens and depression, and several studies have found a veritable link between the two.
One study found that for people with bipolar disorder and pollen allergies, depression worsened when pollen levels peaked.
Additionally, no one likes the sneezing, the stuffiness, or the itchy, watery eyes. Allergy symptoms alone can be enough to make one’s day not so wonderful. That doesn’t seem to fully explain worsening depression though.
Cytokines, on the other hand, may very well play a role. When allergies flare up, these chemical messengers that promote inflammation are released. High levels of these proteins have been associated with a thing called “sickness behavior.” This is characterized by anxiety, sleepiness, loss of appetite, withdrawal, decreased libido, and other symptoms of depression.
Allergies can also impact your sleep, and poor sleep isn’t good for depression either.
Not everyone welcomes change.
Another potential contributor to reverse SAD is simply the fact that changes are occurring. Many people fear change – even when it’s good change, it can still cause feelings of anxiety.
Change requires adjustment, which isn’t easy for everyone. For people who are highly sensitive and prone to depression and anxiety, change can be enough to set it off.
Not to mention there may also be shifts in our hormones and our circadian rhythms, too.
Worse still, while many welcome the spring with open arms, that can make it even more overwhelming for depression sufferers who may feel left out.
Memories can trigger sadness.
As if allergies, hormones, and the overall change wasn’t enough, spring can also unearth memories for some people. And not all memories are good ones. Sure, spring can bring positive feelings of nostalgia for some. For others, it can also trigger regrets and other negative thoughts. These can have a compounding effect when you may already feel uneasy, too.
Of course, the key takeaway here is that if you experience depression in the spring, know that you’re not alone. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety or other symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It doesn’t matter what spring is “supposed to be” for anyone. What matters is how you feel.