The first day of Spring always seems to come with a feeling of renewal, a fresh start. With the nice weather we’ve been having it’s hard to not feel a sense of hope and excitement for the upcoming days as winter leaves.
The people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder should be starting to feel better soon if they’re not already. SAD is a kind of depression that happens in those long, dark winter months where it’s hard to find the motivation to even get up in the morning. Sometimes the simplest of tasks can seem impossible to complete, much like depression itself.
It’s exciting to see the snow melt and to get back outside for a nature walk and yes, for many people this is all they need to get back to feeling like themselves again. But we should keep in mind not everyone’s depression is seasonal, and even for those who have SAD, everyone comes out of it at their own time.
While trying to give well-meaning advice about getting outside, doing some yard work or getting on that nature walk seems like a productive or positive thing to say to people who have depression, remember, if it’s hard for them to get out of bed, think about what going on a walk must sound like to them.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop being encouraging and supportive. People with depression oftentimes feel like a burden on their families; they might just get up and go on that walk with you if they think it will make you feel better. They might slap on that smile and happy façade because they know that’s what their family wants to see.
Oftentimes, well-meaning friends and family get frustrated with their loved ones who suffer from a mental health disorder, and that frustration is most definitely felt by those who are depressed. It is hard on both ends. But the best thing to remember is to be there for them even in their sadness and let them know that they don’t have to pretend with you.
So, invite that friend out who you know suffers with mental health, even if you’re certain they’re gonna cancel on you at the last minute. And when they do, accept it wholeheartedly, no guilt and no strings attached.
And when you start thinking that bringing them on a walk in this beautiful spring weather is a great idea and will make them feel better and then it doesn’t, or they decline to go with at all, accept that too. They just might need a hug, or someone to sit with them in silence to remind them they don’t have to smile or pretend to be happy to be loved.