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Late Summer Depression and the Call of the Unlived Life

August 13th, 2018 · No Comments · summer depression

Yes, late summer depression is a reality!  Summer is the season of care-free sun and beaches — yet many struggle with depression at this time.

summer depression

As depression expert Prof. Deborah Serani points out the possible sources of summer depression are many and varied.  It’s possible that the seasonal changes of summer may disrupt an individual’s circadian rhythm, forcing his or her body clock out of alignment.  Heat and humidity in summer may also trigger changes in mood and behavior, bringing feelings of helplessness and irritability.
It may also be that factors like poor body image, or constrained finances that prohibit individuals from enjoying vacations or the other opportunities of  summer create summer depression.
Additionally, the late summer period, when our society as a whole is thinking about re-engaging with the busy round of fall and winter activities, and many young adults and others are embarking on new educational or life opportunities, may be a difficult period for many.  It may be a time when individuals experience a real sense of “stuckness” or regret about their lives.

The Unlived Life and Summer Depression

Individuals at any point in their life journey, and especially individuals in the second half of life, can experience the steadily increasing tempo of late summer days.  Kids get ready to go back to school, and young adults head off to university and other opportunities can lead to reflection on the course of one’s own life.  This can easily lead to complex feelings about missed opportunities, and aspirations that may never have been realized.  As I well know myself, any of us can reflect with yearning about how life could have been — “if only”!  Sometimes, too, we yearn for something in our lives and we can’t even articulate what it is.

Ignoring the Unlived Life Brings Us Less and Less Fulfillment

These unlived possibilities in ourselves can sometimes actually show up in the form of depression.  We may become strongly aware of those feelings of summer depression at times when others are optimistically embarking on new journeys and adventures.

If we continue to ignore or deny the unlived life within us, we may find ourselves moving towards a place of steadily increasing sterility, where life seems to offer us less and less.  Is there any alternative to becoming more and more absorbed in pining for and regretting what might have been?

Discovering the Undiscovered Self

In dealing with the unlived life, there can be tremendous value in working on focusing on the present moment, and trying to get the most out of life that we can.  Being very conscious about doing this can be a very helpful way to stay in a place of feeling good about your life.

It may well be, though, that depth psychotherapy can provide essential assistance in dealing with depression related to the unlived life.  It can help greatly in the whole process of exploring what it is that we really do want from life.  It can also help greatly in understanding the barriers coming from trauma, pain, loss, guilt, fear and regret that might stand in the way of both living in the present, and also finding ways to live out of our true selves.  In these ways, depth psychotherapy can prove to be an essential part of our life journey.

Brian  Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist & Jungian Psychoanalyst

PHOTOS: TheBusyBrain (Creative Commons Licence) ; (Creative Commons Licence) ;
© 2018 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

 

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