I can feel the fall air approaching. Where I live (in Georgia), we often have what we call “False Fall” where we get a little taste of cooler, less humid days, and then we are right back to 90 degrees and sauna-like air. I am not sure if what I am sensing is just our tease of fall or if it is here to stay, but I know that everyone around me (and on social media especially) is VERY excited for this season always. The pumpkin spice, the flannel shirts, the boots, going to pumpkin patches, etc. Everyone loves fall. And I really want to love fall, too. I like that I can go on more walks because the weather is so nice, I like desserts with apples, and I love wearing cozy sweatshirts. But, every fall I feel sad. The first day of the crisp fall air always brings about a melancholy feeling and honestly some existential dread. Fall is when I feel my seasonal depression the most. While everyone else is living their best autumn life.
Today, the weather is cool, so it is starting to creep in, and I wondered to myself, have I always felt this way or did it begin after Boris died? And, then I considered that maybe I had symptoms of depression and anxiety before Boris died, but maybe I didn’t realize it. The year before he died, I learned so much about mental health conditions, even more than what I learned in my graduate degree in social work program. And then when he died I was immediately immersed in therapy, books, etc. about my own responses to his very traumatic death. About 9 months later, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribed medication. And I know that what I was experiencing was directly related to what I’d experienced with his death, however, I wonder if my seasonal depression and the sad feelings I get around seemingly unrelated things are connected to Boris…or are they just because? Maybe now I am just more comfortable with the feelings. Maybe before I just covered them up and pushed through more easily. It’s so hard to parse out what is related to him and what is not. And, then it begs the question, does it really matter? And, isn’t everything in my life somehow connected to that experience? It colored my entire worldview and shaped who I am–so how do I know what is related and what is not?