Reckoning with Fall: My Past with Autumn Anxiety

I (Gerry) can remember as far back as my teens, autumn bringing on a little anxiety, that I may not have felt in the ensuing months of spring and summer. As a child, I always loved fall, and still do, but now I see it as coming with some difficulties, especially, if you are prone to anxiety.

Starting with the fun stuff, I always enjoyed those early, crisp, cool days of fall, with that nip in the air that gave you a boost of energy. There was always excitement for the new school year, putting on sweatshirts and sweaters, and football getting underway. My family always took a little beach trip in the last few weeks of summer. The contrast in the next few weeks was one of excitement and fun when things began to change so rapidly.

With that change, as I know now, can bring along feelings of heightened anxiety. Beginning in my teens, I noticed the heavier feelings that came along with the season, that I had not previously noticed at a younger, more carefree age. I remember being 15 and at the North Carolina State Fair in October, and just not being able to handle the overwhelming feelings of the event. It was probably bundled in with the heavier feelings that come with that particular stage of lie. I remember leaving my friends, going outside of the gates of the fair, to sit, where my sister eventually came to take me home. I didn’t put much thought into these feelings at the time, and would not for many years to come.

Over the years, I have found ways to deal with this heavy, autumn apprehensiveness to winter, type of feelings. These are explored in much greater detail in this link, but I will skirt over them briefly:

  • Exercise– for me, heightened exercise that helps me to cope can be cycling, walking, or playing tennis with Shannon.
  • Enjoying the early morning hours– finding ways to get out, especially on a crisp sunny morning, is essential. After 2pm, in the fall, you really notice the shortened days and the anxiety that comes along with it.
  • Diet– avoiding or cutting back on alcohol (a known depressant) helps, and proper nutrition (getting all of your greens) helps to stabilize mood.  

In recent years, I have learned to enjoy fall, much like I did as a child. I consider myself a balanced season type of person, who savors the finer qualities of each of the four seasons (not the band). 😊  

2 thoughts on “Reckoning with Fall: My Past with Autumn Anxiety

  1. Ahhh. Fall. The season I love most. For me, it means the earth is going into hibernation. It needs to rest before being renewed. In highschool my love of mythology began when I read about Demeter, goddess of agriculture, losing her daughter Persephone to Hades, the god of the underworld. She grieved so much the earth died away. When Persephone was allowed to return to her mother for half of the year, Demeter allowed the earth to renew. I don’t know why that story has resounded so much, but it has. For me, fall is symbolic as the beginning of “cleaning” the earth making it ready for it’s eventual awakening.

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