Blooming flowers, bunnies, Easter chocolate, lighter evenings and (hopefully) warmer temperatures – what’s not to love?
It’s seen as the time for new beginnings and fresh starts, winter is over and summer is coming!
And yet, for me, and many people like me, I find spring a real struggle.
There is a smell in the air which evokes a great sense of melancholy and, as I wrote here a few years back:
The sights and smells of spring awaken in so many memories. Some are lovely and precious, others are unimaginably painful. I don’t think I am alone in this. That the sun can hold as many bad memories, as good ones. The Spring, the start of the sunshine awakens these memories from the cold chill of winter.
The time which offers such hope and new life can make a struggle with mental health problems all the harder, unlike winter when everyone tends to hibernation, the spring encourages us to reach out and as Harvard academic Dr John Sharp points out;
‘At the same time as most of us are rolling up our sleeves and sending more time outdoors, others struggle with trying to get into that kind of mode, and counter-intuitively, they feel worse.’
Furthermore, there is a pointed increase in suicide during the spring months, it is perhaps that the contrast between how the world presents and how people feel inside is even sharper. As everything is made new, the feeling of going through the same pain can be unbearable.
And so instead of expecting people to ‘cheer up’ in the sun, allow them to be themselves. Make sure to offer them a shoulder to cry on, even in the sun and if you’re worried they might be stuck in the darkest place, encourage them to see a doctor or counsellor.
Because as painful a time as spring can be, if it does nothing else, allow it to remind you that nothing stays the same and in the midst of crisis, remission can come.