Blue Sunday

This weekend was a bit of a disappointment to say the least, and I’m going to write a whole post about it because it’s my blog and I can!

My mood has been only just about okay-ish all week – my mood tracker tells me that it’s been “meh” most days, with a dip into “bit miserable, actually” on Thursday.  Then the weekend arrived, usually a bit of respite from my usual low-level constant misery.

Saturday the weather was fine, and, as I had planned, I went into Oxford to go to the library and buy a couple of things. However, they didn’t have any of the books I’d hoped for, so that was a bit of a blow. I walked back to my car, which takes quite some time, and usually I don’t find it bad, but on that day is just gave me too much opportunity to ruminate about how much I dread the week ahead, and how much I hate my life in general. I spent the rest of the day in this sort of mood, which is still bearable. I even managed to complete a couple of household chores.

Sunday started okay. The weather was fine again, I had a leisurely breakfast and read the paper for 2 hours. Then I had a shower, then I read some more, and then I decided to go to the supermarket. That’s when I discovered that during the shower, I had missed a call. A Person I know had left a message on the answerphone, threatening me with things we need to talk about. (This is not as sinister as I’m making it sound, this Person is from one of the associations where I’m treasurer, and they only want to talk over some association business.) For some reason this completely tipped me over the edge. I tried to call back but only got their answerphone  (on which I refused to leave a message). Then I started to cry. Yeah, I know, a missed call, what’s the big deal? I hate missed calls. I hate getting phone calls, period, but missed calls might even be worse, and voicemail messages. A missed call comprehensively bursts my bubble, the bubble I need to keep the world at bay, the bubble I depend on for survival. A normal call bursts my bubble as well, but at least once it’s over, I can start with the repair work. A missed call however is like a pebble in your shoe. It nags at you, it’s always there at the back of your mind, chafing. If you missed their call, they might call back. When? Who knows! You’ll just have to sit there squirming for a few hours until they do. Or they have left a message, saying “I’ll call you again but not before 5 because I’ll be out”. You day is going to be a write-off until 5, because you are always thinking “what did they want? what is this about? what will they say? what am I supposed to say?” etc. etc.

It’s difficult to explain, but that missed call felt like such an intrusion into my quiet private Sunday life that I just lost it. I sat down for half an hour, tears streaming down my face, and didn’t move. Going to the supermarket was now out of the question. I couldn’t even get out of my chair! Eventually I scraped enough energy together to go upstairs and lie on my bed. And there I stayed for over two hours, crying occasionally at how much my life sucks but otherwise reading a book. When I got up again, the weather was still fine. I should have gone outside to make the most of it, but seriously: outside? Outside is hot, noisy and peopled. To get to the nearest bit of nature, you have to walk through half the town first. And when you get to that bit of nature, it’s full of people, and kids, and dogs. Kids that scream, dogs that bark. I’m not saying they shouldn’t, it’s what they do, I just don’t want to be around when they do it. That’s the problem with nature: any bit of countryside that I can easily get to is always full of other people, which pretty much negates any relaxation factor. Or else it’s got crow scarers. To get further away from it all, I’d have to drive somewhere. Think about it: deciding where to go, getting into the car, driving somewhere UNKNOWN, sweating with fear because you can’t find the car park (it’s not like they’ve got sat-nav friendly postcodes), then walking somewhere unknown which is probably full of crow scarers as well…you’ve got to be joking, right? Much better to stay in the house, where there is at least a certain degree of safety.

It’s often said (and rightly so) that a walk in nature can lift depression and such. It’s true, it can really boost your mood. But to do that, you have to get to nature first. And when you don’t even feel capable of leaving the house, it’s not going to happen.

Autism, anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. I don’t know if that is what’s happening here. It’s not even “proper” depression. This low mood will persist for a week or so, then it will probably improve. Actually, it goes up and down within a day – mornings are the worst, then it gets better as the day goes on. Often when I’m really down I think “maybe I should talk to someone about this” but then by the time I could get, say, a GP appointment, it will be better and there is nothing to talk about. I’ve picked up a leaflet for an anxiety and depression helpline months ago, but I haven’t used it. I think I don’t have it bad enough (yes, that old chestnut). Besides, a phone call? To a stranger? I don’t think so.

My father understands what I’m going through, because he gets these short periods of depressive mood as well. According to him, so did his mother, so in a way I can blame my genes. My mother is sympathetic but thinks I need more friends. She thinks I’m alone too much. She believes me when I say I’m not lonely, but she fears that I will be lonely in the future and then not have any friends to call on because I didn’t make any earlier. She also thinks that I should just push myself to do things I don’t want to do when I’m down (like go outside) because I will see that it’s good for me. I really really don’t want to force myself to do anything when I’m feeling miserable. What about self-care? But then doubt sets in. Do I really know best? Perhaps my instincts really can’t be trusted here. Perhaps I do need to force myself to go out because the result will prove me wrong. Perhaps I should force myself into more contact with people because humans are hardwired for companionship. Perhaps it’s a similar mindset to that of an addict who can’t admit that they are an addict. I think I know what’s best for me, but perhaps I don’t? Could I be harming myself without knowing it? Does mother really know best in this case? Where is the line between self-care and self-indulgence? I don’t know. I just can’t imagine that it can be good for you to push yourself further if you need all your spoons to stop yourself from crying.

Anyway. I stayed indoors for the rest of Sunday, doing only the bare minimum and hoping for improvement overnight. It is now Monday afternoon. I did manage to go to work, and I will do so for the rest of the week, but oh man, I am not looking forward to it. I’m still standing, but I’m teetering on the edge. I feel as if the smallest thing could push me over.

And what of the future? This is just going to be a bit of venting now, so be warned. I think the future looks bleak. Even when I’m not completely down in the dumps, my mood rarely rises above “meh”. I don’t get happiness, I just get the occasional absence of unhappiness. I haven’t been truly happy for years. There have been happy moments, I can’t deny it, but the base level has just been indifference at best and misery at worst. Any such moment of happiness is also spoilt by the knowledge that it is transient, and that the same old sh*t is going to catch up with me soon enough. I’m the sort of person who get’s the Monday blues not on Sunday night but on Saturday night, because my mind fast-forwards through Sunday in the knowledge that it is only a single day and almost doesn’t count. Most of the time I don’t feel like that my life is ever going to improve. I think I used up all my happiness in the first half of my life, and now there’s nothing left but scraps. Life is pointless, futile and without meaning. I might just as well disappear. I’m not talking about suicide, I’ve never contemplated that. But if I could snap my fingers and just make myself gone, preferably with altering the past in such a way that I never actually existed, so no one would miss me – I sometimes think that would be neat. But since this would require more magic than I’m capable of or, I don’t know, pressing the reset button on the universe or something,  I guess I’ll have to stay around. I won’t do…the other thing. No, I’m committed to another 30 or 40 years of misery and futility. I’ll live my life, never fear – it’s just that I don’t expect anything from it.

Sorry for all that bleakness. In all honesty, in a week or two things are bound to look marginally better at least. But I have a truly sh*tty week ahead of me, and it’s only Monday, and it feels good just to unburden myself a bit. “It’s good to talk.” So I did.

 

Image: Clouds over the Wadden Sea in Schleswig-Holstein, on Germany’s west coast. Photograph by Friedrich Haag via Wikimedia.

16 thoughts on “Blue Sunday

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  1. I too get what are often called in the autism community “depression attacks”. While they may seem, in the moment, that they may never go away, they do. It is a mood disorder, so it comes and goes. I too get triggered by sounds (though, for me, it is man made sounds.) It is like someone who has bouts of pain;one can get through them. Setting up a safe, positive sensory place in your home can be helpful. I have found calling a crisis line also works. They are strangers, but they do have knowledge in social work. I have also found prayer lines helpful.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Nicole. I know from experience that these “depression attacks” will disappear again, so I just need to hold on tight and ride it out. I call my parents which always helps, even if they sometimes say not so helpful things. And if all else fails, there’s still my teddy bear…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You may not have an “active” social life, but you have two blogs which are intellectual and creative. You’re involved in organizations outside of work which make demands on your time (a big no-no for me). You need “down” time, private time. Your mother sounds like a wise person, but different people have different social needs. On the other hand, the line between self-care and self-indulgence is hard to pin down. I think about it a lot. Maybe just trust yourself to go outside and be around people when you’re ready? (I need to read more of your earlier posts to try to get a sense of why you’re unhappy with life in general.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, I blame the mid-life crisis! My mother is the best – yes, I think she is a wise person. Actually, it’s been my parents who have advised my to drop these involvements outside work, which periodically stress me out extremely, but I have such a sense of duty and a fear of disappointing people that I’ve always said no. I always think that as long as I’m not isolated completely I’m fine, and since I don’t work on my own, I have several hours of company each day already!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I know all those feelings very well. Sometimes lying in bed and crying is the best thing you can do. It always gives me a terrible headache but it does make me feel a little “cleared out”. I explained to a therapist once that recognizing that I’m feeling down, the mental/logical/analytical awareness of the feelings, is what kept me from falling into a pit of despair. The therapist told me that was actually really great. So, second-hand therapy advice is you’re handling things just fine.
    I hate the missed calls and calls in general too. Which is funny because I worked in a customer service type industry and spent the majority of my time plugged in with my headset–with NO problems.
    My favorite place to go is the beach. To be near the power of the ocean calms & reenergizes me. I hate driving the 20 miles(32km) to get there though. I can usually only *force* myself to do things if I get angry.
    Hang in there my friend. Rant away! Daily, hourly if it helps. You’re definitely not alone in your feelings and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with preferring your own company.💌💌💌

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! I just wish I could fast-forward through this week. Actually, no, that wouldn’t help, some of the issues that are getting me down will go on after that. It’s mostly just things I have to do at work, and on the face of it there’s nothing terrible about them, but I find them very anxiety-inducing. I find work in general to be anxiety inducing, And then I think ‘oh, you just don’t want to work, you’re lazy, you just want to have fun’. I’m an adult, There’s no way out. (Yes, that was a bit more ranting, thanks for listening 😉 .)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I can relate so much 💞 It might seem so simple, to walk in nature (or anywhere else), but when you can’t raise the energy/desire to leave the house, it’s hard. I’m right there with you – AS, depression, anxiety, the whole bit. All I can say is, one day at a time 💜💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking just this morning, you would think that to go into nature would give you some solitude but actually I’ve got more solitude when I stay at home! It’s more like an hour at a time at the moment, but yeah, this too shall pass…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Amen 💗💗. When I go walking, there’s always a chance I might encounter someone when I’m not in the mood to be chatty. Staying home can often be the perfect solution 😊👍🏼

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  5. I read this post few days ago but keep coming back to read and finally decided to leave a reply, I don’t have any comfort words nor advice, just thank you for writing this, I see so much of myself in this post.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I know I already commented but I came back to read again and found that there’s more stuff swirling around in my head 💓 Missed calls: oh yes! You’re not alone. Sometimes for me it’s a “oh man, who wanted what??” Because although some people do call me just to chat, but most people call me when they want something. The phone call itself can be an intrusion that pushes me over a threshold, too 🌺 Sometimes I’m doing great, but then a phone call comes in, and I’m all “dammit, I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone just now!” I hadn’t planned for it, so now it’s an abrupt suggested change to the laid-out plans for my day–my day’s navigation, so to speak. Suddenly those formerly-smooth waters get choppy and I start worrying about losing my footing 😳. If I was already fragile, then it might knock me over.

    So when that call comes in, I might be sitting right there, watching it come in, being careful not to curse the person calling, because I don’t expect them to be attuned to my needs or frequently-changing cognitive/emotional state. But their timing unintentionally sucks, just the same.

    So, in a moment of self-defense and self-care, I let the phone go to voicemail, at least so that I have time to collect my thoughts and prepare to talk to them later. But until I do, it nags and nags, like a weight on my shoulders. Ugh. And then I resent that person (or at least the situation) for causing this weight and pressure. Gah lol 😉

    (This doesn’t happen with text, just unplanned phone calls, especially from people *outside* my inner circle. Texting and planned phone calls are fine, for whatever reason lol) 😉💗💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Even though you posted this in May, I presume a lot of this is ongoing so hopefully my comment will still be relevant.

    I’ve been a depressive all my life (well, since I was 3 yrs old) and I can assure you that what you’re describing IS depression. You don’t have to have long periods of it or be suicidal to be identified as having depression. Check out the condition called Cyclothymia and you’ll get an idea of this type of cyclical depression. https://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/cyclothymia-cyclothymic-disorder#1 (that link goes to a popular article about it so there’s nothing in it about it being ‘serious’, but really, it is. If it rings any bells, look for a more serious explanation of it). And yes, it’s difficult to get treatment for it when it eases off just when you’ve plucked up courage to talk to someone about it. And then of course, it returns. And goes. And returns. If you think it’s Cyclothymia (or something similar) there will be others suffering from it that you can get in touch with – just look for them. (Myself, I’ve always stayed away from groups of people with the same symptoms as we never seem to be in synch with each other!)

    As for missed phone calls, I’m a phone-phobic and always have been and it’s absolutely hell when I finally pluck up courage to phone someone and get an answering machine that tells me “leave your number and I’ll phone you back.” I never do, as I never know when they’ll return my call. So… just to say I sympathise and also empathise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right, this is ongoing, and it is exactly as you describe, it comes and goes etc. I looked it up in the ‘Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry’ and it sounds like it could be a good fit. I’ll do some more research, but just being able to put a name to it would be helpful. Thanks for the tip! The good thing is that I know that even if it’s bad, I only have to wait a week or two before it gets better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m the same,though mine can come and go several times a day (and I don’t often get the ‘highs’, thankfully, as they are often more difficult to cope with as I don’t recognise them as anything wrong til afterwards.)

        Liked by 1 person

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