The Worst Month for Mental Health Isn’t What You Think

Baby, the blues are calling, a little later than expected
The Worst Month for Mental Health Isn’t What You Think

Its conventional wisdom that the winter months are the saddest of the year. Natural light is hard to come by, plants arent exactly at their prettiest, and there are next to no barbecues occurring. Its enough that youre likely to hear plenty of people prattle on about how rough their “Seasonal Affective Disorder is, which, if youve got classic clinical depression like yours truly, feels a bit like someone taking a day trip into a coal mine and complaining about their cough the whole time. 

It turns out, however, that science doesnt agree with the dark months being the bleakest for mental health. Even the morbid statistic thats repeated ad nauseum about winter being the highest time for suicide is straight up not true. In fact, the time of year with the highest rate of suicide attempts is one that doesnt follow natural, poetic assumptions. It is spring. 

Yes, despite the preponderance of daisies and park picnics, spring is apparently the most depressing time of year.

So whats to blame here? There are a couple of theories. One includes those very same park picnics. The thinking is, that even though were not doing much during winter, theres also no pressure to do anything. Yes, it might be isolating, but its a very reliable, consistent level of isolation that minimizes disappointment. If its miserable outside, youre probably not blaming yourself for being a shut-in. But once the sun is shining, and youre blasted with Instagram carousels of people laughing like a lady in a salad dressing ad, it's a lot easier to label yourself a worthless sad sack.


Look at this asshole.

Another theory brought forward by the Psychology Today article linked above is that allergies have a connection with depression. As if they werent obnoxious enough already, apparently theres evidence that they have ill effects north of your nose as well. The inflammation caused by allergic reactions is linked to mood disorders, something borne out by injecting animals with inflammatory agents and watching them start to care less for themselves, which is fair, given that Im unlikely to primp myself thoroughly when I feel like Im smuggling a hunk of ambergris in the middle of my head. Theres also the fact that, if youre allergic to dust, like myself, it just feels like another indication that you werent intended to stick around for the long run (Im kidding, dont call the hotline on me).

In addition to these evidence-based, scientific links, Id put forward one more thing that might not be the root, but definitely isnt helping: tax season. Given that mental-health professionals seem to know that April and the months after are an emotionally volatile time, it feels doubly rude for Uncle Sam to choose that time of year to pull the bottom out of my bank account. 

All in all, though, its good news for curmudgeons like me that if youre not coursing with joie de vivre just because birds are chirping again, youre not that sick in the head. Or at least, no more sick than the base level of the modern human brain.

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