Seasonal depression is not limited to fall and winter

Written By Chandni Shah, Opinions Editor

The leaves on the few and far between saplings planted around Downtown Pittsburgh are beginning to turn into pallets of mellow yellows, crisp reds and burnt oranges. The sun is setting during late afternoon midterm study sessions, and mercury in retrograde has just ended. Do you know what this means? Fall is in full swing, and winter is right around the corner.

For some, this time of year can conjure feelings of sadness and leave some in a state of seasonal depression until the warmer months come back around. However, for others, colder nights, shorter days and the upcoming holiday break provide emotions of relief and happiness. Relief from the heat of the sun, not having to blast an AC unit through the night and getting to cozy up under a favorite fluffy, winter-themed blanket. I am one of the people who gets seasonal depression in the spring and summertime.

Now, my intentions are not to negate others feelings and emotions that arise during this time of year because their feelings are completely valid. But there must be some students out there donning knit beanies and relishing in the fact that they can now wear triple layers of flannels and cardigans. The comfort of a hot coffee between your fingertips as you walk to class during a chilly November day is one of those brief but savory moments that makes fall much more than a season.

Fall is a feeling. Changes in the weather and colors of nature encourage transformations that we wish to make within or for ourselves.

When winter comes to a close and spring is at the front door, the fresh blossoms of vibrant colored flowers and the return of chirping birds are the only redeeming factors of the season. As the years go on, the stranger the season gets—it has become unpredictable. This unpredictability can be attributed to the ongoing climate crisis. Random frosts kill all the new blooming plants and nowadays a snowstorm can come plummeting down in the middle of April. Spring’s personality is temperamental and I cannot adjust to its mood swings.

I find myself feeling sad or depressed during the summertime. Yes, summer is a season meant for travelling, vacation from a long school year and getting to see our families and friends a lot more. I just don’t understand all of the hype it gets. Maybe I’m the odd one out, but the excessive heat and infinite hours of sunlight makes the days drag on, and I find myself unfortunately wishing for school to start so I can get out of the house.

In the fall and winter, there is the promise of short breaks for holidays, snow days and pumpkin spice lattes.

One of my favorite authors, Stephen King, describes this fall feeling perfectly in his novel “‘Salem’s Lot.” King writes, “But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous [butt] as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since he last saw you.”

The more I think about it, fall is like an old friend. A friend who can chill us, but at the same time wrap us up in all of the warm, comforting things it has to offer. Fall teaches us that change doesn’t have to be scary, but something quite beautiful and an aspect of life that we can look forward to. The season rests as a reminder of the great life that spring creates and carries into summer, but the inevitability that it cannot stay forever. Our old friend tells us of all the wonderful things that came to pass and that great things can happen again.

As we continue to pass through these last days of October and begin to enter November, appreciate everything fall has to offer. If these aren’t your favorite seasons and you are dreading the impending winter, then that’s okay, but at least try to look on the bright side of these seemingly dreary months. Imagine fall as Stephen King does—as an old friend.