#SELFCARESUNDAYS: fighting Sunday blues
16 Dec 2018
Illustration by Maia Magoga
“You exist for the purpose of someone else” – it was a thought I had that ransacked my mind last weekend. Ah, those sweet, sweet Sunday blues. A sentence like that can be beautified with a pleasant floral background, highlighted and turned into an italic, bold Arial font and shared on Tumblr, but when it is repeated again and again in your head with no respite (not even a pleasant floral background!) it can be brutal.
Sunday blues is a notion well-affiliated with most of us. For me, it consists of thoughts and actions from the past, from as recent as last night to years ago – “Why did I do that?” “What do people think of me?” “What if that hadn’t happened?” “Why do I feel everything but nothing at all?” – you know, the usual.
“It’s like there’s a fog that appears most Sundays that forces me back to painful memories”
My mind has a habit of taking my hand and leading me back to the past – a friend refers to it as a “regression session”. It makes it hard to live in the present but more importantly, appreciate it – and it happens on Sundays. It’s a vicious cycle of rehashing the past, becoming desensitised to the present and only being aware when something truly terrible happens. It’s like there’s a fog that appears most Sundays that forces me back to painful memories, lamenting for hours trying to contort what I remember to quell my aching self.
These Sunday blues are at best a time to reflect and at worst, a day of sorrow for reasons not quite known, but conjured up by my mind. Such is the matter with memory; the original is never quite as you remember it and any chance to contort is met with anguish.
“These Sunday blues are at best a time to reflect and at worst, a day of sorrow for reasons not quite known, but conjured up by my mind”
It’s been difficult writing this for a couple of reasons: I haven’t truly done so before (especially not to an audience), and I don’t have the best short-term memory, meaning that I can often go through my Sunday blues each week for months and by the time mid-week rolls around, I can barely remember choking on my tears just a few days earlier. Whether that’s a mechanism I’ve developed over time to quash painful memories or a correct hypothesis on the perils of using your mobile phone/internet too often, I have yet to figure out (any tips on how to improve my memory, please send them my way!)
I didn’t write this with much in mind other than to share my feelings for the first time in the hope that someone else would understand what goes on in my head on certain days. Please don’t think I limit myself to just Sundays, my mind isn’t day-of-the-week prejudiced – I’m just busier other days, so it doesn’t have time to play its tricks on me.
Which leads me nicely onto what I do in order to keep my mind at bay:
Everything is an achievement
You brushing your teeth, making your bed, having a shower, putting a wash on, speaking to someone. They’re all achievements and milestones.
Know what triggers you and nourishes you. I cut down on drinking because it would feel me with an overwhelming sense of dread the next day. I’ve started engaging in self-discipline and setting rules for myself, so I know where my personal boundaries lie. I feel more myself this way.
Everything in moderation
We need everything in moderation otherwise it goes unappreciated. Everyone has a vice: drinking, smoking, relationships, the list goes on. Allowing yourself to gorge on these can become a way to fill a void (it has for me, anyway). Keeping things in moderation allows you to appreciate or take a step back. It is a form of self-discipline.
Practising these doesn’t mean that I feel better all the time – it’s taken me weeks to write this piece because I’ve stumbled on creating a routine, whereby I set aside time in my day to write (one of my favourite things to do). Just know that if you’re reading this on a Sunday evening, or any evening in fact, you’re not alone.