March 5, 2017

The Sunday Night Blues Club

What is it about Sundays that makes the day start off so great, with so much possibility, and then end with such a feeling of dread? Apparently I'm not alone. One recent study found that more than 75% of the people who responded feel it too. Are you one of them?

I can see how Sundays might hold a certain amount of stress and anxiety for people who hate their job and the idea of returning to it on Monday morning. I happen to really enjoy the work I get to do, so it's not that for me.

There's just something unsettling about Sunday night.

I think some of it has to do with my Sunday experiences from childhood.

Some Sundays were spent with my entire family, gathering for a big meal after church. We'd eat til our bellies were full and then the adults would nap or talk while the kids played. These Sundays didn't fill me with any sort of dread, except that I hated for all the fun to come to an end.

Then there were other Sundays on the weekends I spent with my biological dad. Most of the time, we'd spend Sunday lunch and some of the afternoon with my great grandma, which I enjoyed a lot. But when our visit came to an end, I knew it was only a matter of time before he took me back home, and back to my regular life.

Don't get me regular life was good. But sometimes it was tough to try and straddle the fence between both worlds. It was almost like I saw myself as two different people...playing two different parts.

I think that's the toughest thing about divorce. As a kid, you want to feel a certain level of security from your surroundings and part of that comes from having all the people you love most gathered together, interacting. As strange as it sounds, I think it has to do with this feeling that there is strength in numbers. That there are enough people around who love you and won't let anything bad happen to you. Isn't that what family is all about?

Of course this isn't always possible.

I worried a lot as a kid. About a host of different things. Bizarre things. Things you probably wouldn't believe even if I told you.

For example, when I was really little, some teacher in a church Sunday school class told us that one day Jesus would come back to earth to save everyone. And she told us that he'd be riding on a majestic white horse. What's more, he'd be bringing an army of horses with him and when he snatched up all the Christians into the sky, we'd each ride on our own horse back to Heaven.

I don't know about you, but the thought of this scared the $hi# out of me. I had ridden horses before with my grandpa, but not by myself. I didn't even know how to ride a horse by myself across a pasture, let alone ACROSS THE SKY.

So naturally I added this to the top of my list of things to worry about, and spent lots of time and energy being concerned about it.

In many ways, my propensity to worry has helped me get where I am in life. It has driven me to do more, to be better, to achieve things. But I don't always get to enjoy these achievements as much as I'd like because it can feel like I'm always worried about the next thing.

And thus, here I sit, on a Sunday night, feeling those little persistent worries creep in.

I have no idea why I'm sharing any of this malarky. For real. But I guess I was thinking that maybe if someone else out there feels this way, you might realize you aren't alone.

So how do you combat these feelings? I'm sure there are plenty of solutions. I have no idea what might work for you. Here's what helps me:

- Marry a funny guy. Or girl. Or if you opt not to be married, at least choose a partner who can make you laugh. It goes a long way in helping me with feelings of anxiety and the blues.

- Adopt a shelter pet. Or two. My dogs make a huge difference contributing to my feelings of peace and calm. Even the dearly departed ones.

- Find a spiritual community. Maybe this is a church. Or a group of other like-minded folks. It helps to be part of something where you're united in the common good.

- Consider getting some counseling. If you have issues to work through (and don't we all?), having someone to talk to really helps.

If you stumbled on this post, and anything I've written resonates with you, I hope you feel a little bit less alone. And I hope you don't spend any of your precious energy worrying about silly stuff like I have. I mean, here I am, thirty years later, and I still haven't had the chance to ride my sky horse.