I don’t know if anyone else feels like this, but spring is a nervous time. Actually, in writing about this I am searching for others that feel the nervousness of spring. I’d like to know that there are other humans that feel this intangible pressure and sense of impending doom that lasts from now-ish until school is out.
I know that I don’t go to school anymore so I can’t use “when school is out” as a reference to time but just know that I mean the first week in June-ish. Like when the weather is finally warm and you’re safely absorbing the warmth of a consistent, seemingly reliable sun.
But until then, I am plagued by an uncontrollable and constantly increasing sense of anxiety. Because spring is a nervous time. We all know I’m very anxious and suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Did basic bitches invent this affliction? Did they create it because they were driven to boredom/desperation/insanity by their inane and perfect reality? Perhaps, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.
Just know that every single year I can remember, from 1987 to Quarantine 2020, March through May is a very difficult time for me to keep it together.
As a young kid, I would definitely wake up more in the night during the spring. When I woke up in the night, I would lay in my bed and have circular thoughts of terror for hours. These were legit child-size panic attacks. I would get really sweaty and my heart would beat really fast but I would feel glued to my bed with fear. I was too afraid to get up and face whatever supernatural character was waiting to mess with me. After a couple of hours laying there and feeling terrified I would fall back into a restless sleep.
Some nights I wouldn’t be able to tire myself out or talk myself off the ledge. I would wind myself up and up into a tornado frenzy of terror and insanity and I would need to jump out of bed and run as fast as I could to my parents’ room. My voice would shake as I said, “Parents?” The relief I felt at making it to their room and being in their presence would calm me for a moment. I knew they would fight the monsters. SOMEONE HAD TO FIGHT THE MONSTERS.
As I got older and developed free will, and like, self awareness, the carnival of night time terrors dancing in my brain started to include immense amounts of guilt about dumb shit I did that day/week/year that I felt I had to confess to someone. Sometimes it was dumb shit that I didn’t even do but thought about and I would feel so, so, incredibly terrible about it until I told someone and got it off my chest.
Quick example, one spring day when I was playing outside at a pal’s house, I smashed a small crayfish with a rock in a stream. I felt so so awful about it. I still feel bad thinking back…but I was a little kid and I was playing in a stream and sometimes bugs and bug-like creatures get smashed by little kids. It happens. I felt sick about it for days. It woke me up at night. I finally told my mom and felt absolved of guilt.
Another time I became obsessed with the idea that the world essentially ended for the dinosaurs. Like they all died in a blast of fire and pain and it was beyond their control. I thought long and hard about how there was nothing to stop that from happening to us. And I was right, you guys. But at the time…when I was like 8…it wasn’t the best thing to be thinking about. And I was embarrassed and felt guilty about even bringing it up. I don’t know why I felt guilty all the time but I did. Again I told my mom and I felt better about it…for like a day.
The problem was, during the spring, once I confessed one anxiety-producing incident or thought and “got over it,” there were like 10 more that popped up to replace it. As the days went by, one of them would push its way to the top of the pile until it took over my whole life. There was nothing I could do to stop thinking about it. I would be playing outside with my neighborhood pals, digging up these wild onion things that grew in the spring and bringing them into our little “kitchen” to make “soup” and I would be plagued with grief and shame and the full weight of the world.
I can see it/feel it/smell it now: the chilly air, the naked trees with buds starting to bloom, the fresh dirt. All that spring shit! The spring shit I should be excited about because I hate the winter! But maybe I get too excited? I don’t know. I just know that it was always way harder to shake my anxiety and talk myself out of it in the spring.
To this day I experience a great deal of anxiety in the spring. This whole social distancing, stuck in the prison of my apartment thing is happening at a very bad time. The last couple of years haven’t been so bad but I distinctly remember the spring of 2017 being one of the most anxiety-ridden periods of my life. I wasn’t able to shake off the cloak of sheer terror until at least the end of July. And I still can’t explain it really. I don’t fully know what it is that makes me so much more anxious in the spring.
The Disney movie Bambi, a dumb movie I’ve always disliked, has a dumb and annoying scene in it about the spring. They even created their own term for this state of mind, “twitter-pated,” although it carries an entirely positive connotation. Ugh it made me feel gross to even type “twitter-pated.” I’m going to barf.
One advantage of Disney acknowledging “twitter-pation” (barf) is that someone is admitting that there is a weird feeling in the air in spring time. I use the word “weird” very loosely and I often get yelled at (by someone I won’t identify but you may be aware who would be rude about something like this in my life) for not using “the better vocabulary I certainly have available” and just saying “weird,” but I think an ambiguous “weird” is suitable for how it feels out there in springtime.
The air…or like, the “vibes” or whatever are kind of teetering and unsettled. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. And sometimes that can feel exciting, but for people like me that dislike the unexpected it feels terrifying.
Some people are pumped up in a good way, like the annoying animals in Bambi. And they’re happy to be outside and the sun is shining and flowers are blooming. They’re trying to find other annoying animals to bone. Things are looking up. But I find that there is a fine, fine line between a pumped up positive experience and a pumped up anxious one. The springtime energy feels as if it is too much for me to bear.
One of the worst parts of the spring is that it is tentative and unreliable. Each day you don’t know how much sunshine you’re going to get, or how much rain. Some years we even get snow! One day it’s in the 70s, then back down to 40. Do you know the feeling you get the first time of the year you wear a dress without tights and your legs are so pale and you’re walking down the street and you kind of second guess the whole thing like, “Okay maybe I’m being ridiculous?” That’s how I feel for the entirety of spring. Like I don’t have ground to stand on. Like at any minute someone can be like, “Wait what are you even DOING?” and I’ll just burst into tears.
Oh I thought of another analogy! I know you were hoping for one! So as an adult sometimes we drink too much. And the next day we wake up and we feel sick and we have a headache, but we also feel like we did something wrong and everyone hates us. We don’t know for a fact that we did something wrong, everyone tells us we were fine. We don’t have any proof. 99% of the time we def didn’t even do anything wrong. But deep down in a dark hole inside ourselves we just KNOW. WE JUST KNOW. And we can’t feel better about it until we do something to fix it and redeem ourselves.
That’s what spring feels like to me. And I don’t feel better until I am fully healed by a consistent, warm sun. It sounds ridiculous but the only cure is to be outside in a bathing suit in direct sunlight for at least 5 hours on a clear day over 80 degrees. Until that day comes, don’t ask me to have my shit together because I won’t.