It’s Back…Cyclical Depression

I’ve never kept my depression a secret. I’ve always been very open and honest about it. Last year in August, after months of agonizing depression, I got back on my anti-depressants. That’s when I realized that for the last three years, I always go through a really bad bout of depression during the summer months. Cyclical depression.

Cyclical Depression

Dealing with cyclical depression. How it feels going into depression and how it feels coming out of depression. It's not the same for everybody. This is my story.

I’ve mentioned before that I never, ever see it coming. I only notice that I’ve been depressed after the fact…when I’m crawling out of the darkness. I describe it as kind of a rebirth. It’s like I’ve been in a fog that starts to clear.

My sister Angie and my husband Jason usually notice sometime in the middle of it; asking if I’m feeling okay, if I’m taking my medicine, and all that fun stuff. I don’t get mad when they ask – I don’t have the energy to do that. But I always appreciate them telling me because it instantly clicks that something is…for a lack of a better word…off.

My friend Katie does see her depression coming, and describes it like this: …every time it starts to push me, it feels the same way and it starts with the feeling of falling and of my whole world melting and distorting.

Over the weekend, my sister sent Jason a text asking him if I was okay, that I didn’t seem to be myself. She then texted me to let me know that she texted him, not wanting me to get angry about it. I told her that I felt fine and that everything was fine. We had just gotten back from vacation, so I was just tired.

But then I started thinking about it, and realized that I wasn’t okay. I was tired, exhausted really. No energy. No desire to do anything. I just wanted to curl up into myself. I also told her in a text: “Now that you mention it, this is the time of the year when it always happens. So maybe yes? I’m just feeling really tired all of the time…this might be the beginning of it :(”

She then told me a couple of our other friends who I’d seen over the weekend also asked her if I was okay. That I seemed mad or indifferent; not myself.

Now that I know what’s going on, let me try to explain the process…

Dealing with cyclical depression. How it feels going into depression and how it feels coming out of depression. It's not the same for everybody. This is my story.

My depression is cyclical, and every year around this time I have a major bout. Which is weird because I love summer. But the last few years it always happens at this time.

So while I’m still on my anti-depressants, they dull the depression but don’t have the power to make it disappear completely (for some of us).

It’s hard for Jason to see it until I am in the thick of it because I never say anything about how I’m feeling. All moms are tired. He sees me everyday so he doesn’t see the change. It’s not an overnight thing, it’s more like a slow draining.

So the next month or two is going to be hard for me, though I am going to fight it this time since I know it’s coming. If you know me personally, please don’t ask me how I’m doing or treat me with kid gloves. I just have to get through it and plan to by changing my diet, exercise, drinking, and stress. I’m going to take care of myself.

And soon, I’ll be back to normal. Until the next bout of cyclical depression takes over next summer.

Do you experience cyclical depression? How do you deal with it?


  1. I’m so sorry Natalie…I know a lot of people who don’t see it coming either.
    I have bipolar disorder and I cycle between depression and mania — mine follows the seasons as well. Depression starts in the summer. The reason being is because my son was born in August and it triggers postpartum depression memories (even though those memories aren’t as painful anymore — let’s just say science) and then it lifts in January and I go manic. It’s weird.
    I wish I had magical answers for you. It’s literally one day at a time and just a lot of love and patience for yourself — write BE KIND somewhere. When thoughts come (and you know the ones I’m talking about) read that BE KIND….
    Also, Apps on my phone for meditation are really good. I love Happify (yes, it’s called happify.)
    Hang in there friend xo
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    • Your comment is EYE OPENING to me! All 3 of my kids were born in August and I had PPD with after both births. What you said makes perfect sense.

      And I will definitely check out Happify!

      I’ve missed you :)
      Natalie recently posted..Are You Listening?My Profile

  2. Hey Natalie,
    So sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well during your favorite time of year! I have had friends and family who have dealt with depression that recurs. I’m never sure what to say or do for them, knowing that I can’t really make things better in the long run. I always try to brighten their days where I can though. Is there anything people do that makes your depression ease up a little, if even for a short while?
    Thinking of you,

  3. I needed to read this. I’ve been struggling with a lot of self-loathing and feeling like everything is crumbling around me. I would probably classify it as depression as I’ve been diagnosed in the past and have spent time on anti-depressants (not on anything currently). But it was your closing that hit home for me… “I’m going to take care of myself.” I’ve already decided that this will be the summer of self care for myself. Diet, exercise, meditation. I’m going to check out that app too mentioned above. Thank you Natalie. :)
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  4. Michelle Villemaire says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Depression is brutal and posts like this help both the writer and the readers. Wishing you sunnier days this summer. xoxo

  5. Thank you for sharing this. My cycles go in the opposite direction. Winter is the hardest for me because my anxiety couples with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s hard for my husband to see it, too. It’s almost like we don’t realize how big our kids are getting because we see them every day, but when a relative sees them for the first time in a month, they realize how much they’ve grown and then we notice it, too. Sending you lots of love, hugs, and strength.
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