Sigh – As Autumn Leaves Fall I’m SAD…

Winds in the east, mist coming in,  Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin.  Can’t put me finger on what lies in store,  But I fear what’s to happen all happened before… 

I don’t actually have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I have some version of old fashioned melancholia, I think. The exquisite, nostalgia of autumn in a northern clime is something I had forgotten. I am in Michigan for the whole shebang this year: the leaves on the cusp of crimson, the hint of what is to come… And I love this season, but it makes me feel kind of sentimental and sad.

Even mums make me tear up… All photos by Claire O’Brien

But in a good way…

The smell of a cider mill, pumpkins stacked like river rocks, apples ripening in gnarled orchards, even bales of hay give me this weird yen. Like something is going to happen or maybe something should happen. I feel like Bert in the musical Mary Poppins, singing longingly about “what lies in store”.  That song is the closest thing I can think of, to how I feel. Hopefully some snooty nanny in witch boots and a hacking jacket won’t drop from my ceiling.  It’s not Buckingham Palace. Still it’s clean…

Does anyone else feel this way? Not that a nanny will fall out of the sky and do the white glove test on your coffee table, but the feeling there is something missing

In the old days, did anyone else “fix” this feeling with an enormous mug of hot, mulled wine?

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depressive disorder, where mood and behavior changes with the seasons, usually at the onset of winter. SAD can present a challenge to recovery.

The symptoms of SAD are:

  •  A drop in energy level
  •  Depression
  •  Isolation
  •  Anxiety
  • Lack of interest in activities and
  • Weight gain.

A few of my least favorite things (to mix old musical metaphors)… And all them used to have me reaching for a bottle of chardonnay for a quick remedy.

SAD is actually quite common. Between 4% and 6% of people in the United States suffer from SAD. Another 10% to 20% may experience a mild form of winter-onset SAD.  The symptoms are more common in women than in men. More common in the colder months, although some folks feel sad at the coming of summer. And interestingly enough, SAD is an adult condition. It usually doesn’t start in people younger than 20 years of age.

And perhaps that explains things…

The feelings I am feeling are born of a long life of experience. A few regrets. When I asked friends about this melancholy feeling, they said the fall made them think of “change”. They referred to children growing up, thoughts of their college days and the harbinger of winter. I am reminded of shuffled leaves in the yard in Darien, graveyard hunting in Scotland and my children (young then) in their Halloween costumes…

Sigh… I am going hiking this weekend. Up North where the leaves are changing and the wind is biting in the morning. I recommend getting outside if you’re feeling like I’m feeling. Fresh air. Exercise. The smell of logs on a fire. Hot mulled cider….

Today I’m not drinking because I’m melancholy…nostalgic… SAD?

How come you’re not drinking?