humor, Seasons

Restless Life Syndrome – The Bane of My Existence Each August

DSC_0015 - Restless Yellow maple

Today I watched a yellow maple leaf flutter out of the sky and land on my picnic table, and while this might have been charming for other people, it’s not for me.

I suffer from Restless Life Syndrome (Yes, I made this up and the corresponding acronym RLS). RLS is a debilitating affliction brought on by the changing of the seasons, most specifically summer to fall. I’ve suffered from this my entire life and it may be hereditary since my father made similar complaints, but then as now, no one recognizes this as a “real” disease so there are no studies to quote or remedies to try. And so we sufferers wait (sometimes for months) until it slides back into the recesses of our bodies or we build up the immunity to the effects of the dwindling summer.

Many people mourn the loss of summer, for sure, but it’s the way it manifests – the self-diagnosed heightened, palpable, anxiety ridden and inexplicable sensations – that determines whether one has RLS or not.

I have plenty of theories of why I personally experience RLS….there was always a lot going on with the end of summer and this year’s got even bigger stuff on my horizon…school starts, my birthday, fall cleaning, the loss of sun itself, the loss of outdoor freedom, being deserted by leaves and birds alike.

Saw this on June 23 this year
Saw this on June 23 this year, just 2 days after summer began

Seriously what good comes of the end of summer? Nothing I can think of, though my mother loves the cooler air and changing leaves. I see less sweltering air as the beginning of freezing (The Farmers’ Almanac predicts a bitterly cold winter this year) and changing leaves as a little bit horrifying. Have you ever noticed you can find the first changing leaf in the first week of July? People smile and photograph millions of leaves in red, orange, and gold without a thought to the fact they are brightly colored because they are dying. It’s the tree equivalent of grey hair, but without the possibility of a good dye job. Thanks swamp maples, birches and sumac for putting the fear of death in my head while summer is technically only a couple of weeks old.

Did you know many of our migrating summer birds leave in August? Oh ya, try finding a scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole (bird not ball player), or a puffin in August. Their desertion is not offset by the influx of other birds. Those new birds are just passing through heading to warmer climes. Nobody wants to spend winter in New England especially with global warming being called off this year.

Geese Practicing a Mass evacuation
Geese practicing a Mass evacuation, they’re pretty much forming an “A” for Alison aren’t they? Pointing my in some direction, but where?

Will I feel better knowing others experience Restless Life Syndrome, too? No, this is kind of an all encompassing, all about me affliction. Mine will be different and more intense than anything you can experience whether that’s true or not. But on the off chance it’s good for you to know others experience the same mindless anxiety…Let’s find out.

You may suffer from Restless Life Syndrome (RLS) if you/r….

  1. Feel the need to run away but without any clue about where, why or how you should go
  2. Feel a paralyzing need to implode, to shrink into yourself? (Personally, I find I want to withdraw all my extremities (including my head) into my core. What the heck is that all about?)
  3. Thoughts are bumping up against the sides of your brain and careening off in new, unexpected directions like a pinball machine on steroids, in your head
  4. Are  incapable of finishing a task as well as a thought…must feed rabbits…must type…must make breakfast…must call friends, and getting none of it done
  5. Every muscle is coiled and poised to leap at an undetermined assailant or opportunity – (could be good, could be bad makes no difference). I’ve quit more jobs and more relationships in August and September than any other months. (Don’t worry Jon, I’m pretty sure we’re okay, though I did kick start my movie career just this morning by applying to be a 3-day extra in an upcoming film. That’s not too far off my well thought out and much loved career path in marketing is it?)
  6. Think nights are the worst, everyone is winding down and you’re winding up feeling a need to drive away to be somewhere outside.
  7. Wake up early, hurry to dress, with nothing to do, but “just in case” always sensing you’re on the brink of something unknown
  8. Are tired but too wound up, hungry but incapable of finding something appetizing, needy and needing to be ignored at the same time?
  9. Are incapable of answering intelligently when your significant other asks  – “what’s up with you?”
  10. Find it impossible to listen to people speaking with you, even if you’ve specifically asked them a question?
  11. Go through this EVERY year?

Mark Twain had the sentiment right, but messed up on the season….

“It’s spring fever…. You don’t quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

 Mark Twain quotes

If you share these complaints, you too may suffer from Restless Life Syndrome. We might need a support group or something, but who would participate, we all must wait expectantly, anxiously, nervously for nothing, and that my friends is a full time (plus overtime) job right now.

The skies the wrong color for summer blue and the light casts creepy shadows
The sky is the wrong color blue for summer, and the low light casts creepy shadows


Fox News Story on the Farmers Almanac

Massachusetts Audubon Society

©2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell

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