Elul Anxiety

Therapists who work in the frum community often report a dramatic increase in patients’ anxiety symptoms during the month of Elul. Patients who are, in general, prone to anxiety will often experience a sense of impending doom especially after failed attempts at dramatically improving their level of learning, davening etc., and similar failed attempts at abruptly eliminating bad habits. These suffering patients usually justify their extreme anxiety reactions by quoting from seforim that strongly emphasize the negative consequences of aveiros and the admiring comments in seforim regarding those who exhibit high levels of אימת הדין (fear of divine justice) during Elul . At the same time, they are aware that many of the people whom they look up to as role models in avodas Hashem – and who approach Elul with all the seriousness it demands – do not react with this type of emotionally paralyzing anxiety. They are at a loss to explain their own paralyzing, panic – stricken mode of fear.

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