April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory with desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. –T.S. Eliot

“The Waste Land” by British poet T.S. Eliot points out a poignant contradiction noticed by many psychologists. Spring, which is supposed to be a happy time, isn’t fun for some people. In fact, statistics show April and May are the most common months for suicide nationwide.

One theory on this, in particular, grips me. Despite a new season, nothing changes in the seriously depressed person’s life. It seems a promise has been broken. The despondent person sinks further into hopelessness, falling below his or her “suicide threshold.” The next step downward is for the person to take his or her own life.

Like spring, weekends and holidays have a potential to deliver much more happiness than they often do. This may be a reason behind other nationwide statistics: Monday is the day of the week when most suicides occur, and suicides are much more common the first few days after a major U.S. holiday than they are in the days immediately before the holiday.

(Much thanks to Ned Rozel, science writer at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska — Fairbanks, for the information)

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