I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- anxious people are sensitive people.
We notice everything. Details. Lights. Smells. Temperature. So it comes to me as less a surprise and more a moment of clarity when I realize that the change of seasons can be a really big deal for me. I guess you would call this seasonal anxiety.
I happen to love the fall. I love the air, the shadows, the light, and the smells of autumn. I have really sort of fragmented sensory memories of fall that for some reason bring me comfort.
One of my best “feeling” memories of fall is a somewhat strange memory of when I was in kindergarten and my class was watching a movie. In it, a girl had rain boots on and the wind was blowing and it was late afternoon.
I also remember sunny days and putting up Halloween decorations in the living room window- carefully peeling off last year’s tape and adding fresh tape to the paper witch and the jack-o-lantern and the bats.
Fragmented memories notwithstanding, I love the crisp, clean smells of fall and the cold mornings. Something about fall just makes me feel “safe”. I also love Halloween- not so much the actual day- my kids are too old to care anymore and handing out candy to greedy kids doesn’t thrill me- but the weeks leading up to it, this I love. I love seeing the pumpkins and scarecrows and decorations on the houses.
The other night I was driving home from work. It was 11pm and the moon was huge. It was low and glowing yellow- a harvest moon! I could see the silhouettes of houses and trees in front of it. It was so surreal I felt like I was making it up. I actually pulled the car over so I could stare at it for a few moments. It was a Thank you Lord vision for me.
Winter is wonderful for me too. I get nostalgic for the Christmases of my past and the memories evoked when I see Christmas lights, new fallen snow, church lights at night, or deer picking their way through a snowy field. The imagery I am drawn to is Thomas Kinkade-esque- even if it’s corny and nothing I ever lived actually really looked like that. I guess there’s a good reason his stuff has such a big audience- he sells the feeling of nostalgia. (I am a closeted Thomas Kinkade fan!)
So what’s not so wonderful for me, from a seasonal anxiety perspective, is summer. Looong days of brightness and intense heat have made me more anxious for at least as long as I’ve been a mother. Before that I think I loved summer. The social nature of summer (seeing families out and about, noticing neighborhood get togethers, and noticing I’m not invited, lol) coupled with my heat intolerance is just a social anxiety nightmare for me. Stifling heat can make me feel like it’s hard to take a deep breath. Summer definitely freaks me out.
Spring is pretty and I love the rebirth when the flowers bloom and everything is just so green. Who doesn’t right? And the air is so fresh and clean. But when we turn those clocks forward and it is suddenly bright out again, this affects me. Inside I feel a sort of low level dread that summer is coming. Its almost here.. Long days, blazing hot sun, bright light. Exposure. Kids out of school…
But today it’s October. The air is crisp and light. The kids are safe in school and I have a lovely cinnamon cider candle burning. It’s a quiet fall morning and there is no anxiety in my body right now. I can see Buddy is sleeping on the front porch. Today feels wonderful.
Last night the moon was a crescent high up in the sky. The stars were out could see some wispy clouds. It was glorious.
Are you affected by seasonal anxiety? Are you sensitive to the changing of the seasons too? Do you find you’re less anxious during certain times of the year? What seasons do you find harder or easier?
I wish you peace,