Oh depression

I’ve become depressed. For today anyway. Mostly I lay down and read. I did go for a walk. I did cook soup. So, some efforts where made.

Yesterday I’d invited my ex and my son over for Easter dinner. In a way it was good. I’d already told my ex I was still kind of sick, so would just do a basic ham and bake some potatoes. I also bought wine and dessert. He was to bring veg.

It was OK. Everyone chatted. This time I was nice to my ex – I didn’t put him down or criticize as I did last holiday, so I felt good about that. I think the depressing thing was how he was at dinner reminded me so much of the past, of how impossible he was. He was in a bad mood, but trying to be polite also.

He has this weird philosophy of life that I hate. He has to work very very hard, but at his own self-directed tasks. Other people are obstacles to him accomplishing all this work. And the work seems useless to me – like Sisyphean tasks. He is endlessly rebuilding his old house. He is the messiest person I ever met, and he hates to spend money on furniture or anything that people usually buy. His house is such a wreck. He doesn’t clean, won’t pay anyone to clean, and he has hoarding tendencies, so it’s filled with junk. It’s just so odd – he devotes himself to this house, and yet it is always such a shambles, he can’t really have anyone over comfortably.

He mentioned his mother. He always does, at holiday meals. It’s like he longs for her to come back and for food to be as she would have cooked it. Ham should have pineapple. I happen to dislike pineapple, so don’t cook it like that. She never had smoked salmon, so he doesn’t like it when I serve it. He’s at the same time very emotionally entranced by food, guilty about it, and wanting his childhood foods.

He was upset that some students took up some of his day (he teaches a course at a college), so presumably he didn’t get in his quota of “work”.

I guess….I want to be understanding, and I kind of am. But his attitude just reminded me how awful he was to live with. People always being in the way of his “work”. The stress about the food. And I felt judged, for only cooking a ham and potatoes. For not going all out to ensure I had many complex dishes. That is kind of women’s unspoken duty, in his philosophy. Not that he said it. But I felt that.

Besides being afraid of his temper, I was extremely lonely living with him. He does not value connections and doesn’t value talk about feelings very much. Everything is about his work. Which never pays, he’s always fairly poor, rarely working full time, but always completely stressed out and overburdened by his projects.

I know he has severe issues. But he hasn’t worked on them, as I have mine.

Anyway, the dinner actually went fine. I was glad I’d made the effort. It can be rewarding just to feed people, and eat together. I really want to do more of that, but maybe with different people.

I feel I’ve really failed in not establishing another family, finding someone who shares some of my own values. Who clings to their ex like that? Not that I see him that often. But there’s no one else really.

I thought I did well with the conversation. Even some topics that get me mad, like a high profile sexual assault case here where the accused was acquitted, I skated over OK. I was able to have my opinion and state it, without fighting with his opinion or my son’s opinion too much. This is a new skill, that I pay attention to the tone of the conversation, and don’t attack people’s opinions.

When they left, I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep. Finally I took some gravol and did get some sleep. And today, I was so depressed I could barely move. It was similar to how I’ve sometimes felt after therapy – needing to lie in bed for hours, doing nothing much. Maybe it’s numbness. Or being dissociated somehow. I was surprised that happened, because as I keep saying, the dinner was OK and had it’s good points.

Doing nothing most of the day feels bad once I come out of that state. I feel cut off from the world and stuck in my own stupid head. I start to doubt that anyone would ever want to hear from me or talk to me.

Tomorrow I hope things will feel more normal once again.

  1. leb105 said:

    Lol – “maybe with different people”. You have so much perspective now, that you didn’t have then!

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, I do. I really noticed how I’d changed. Thanks

  2. Grainne said:

    Sounds to me like you did a really good job of navigating a lot of social hurdles at dinner. When you talk about your ex it reminds me of one of mine who was pathetically self-focused and absorbed. It’s very hard to fell good about yourself when someone is picking apart everything you’ve done, whether they mean it as an insult or otherwise.

    Hope you start feeling better soon. I keep hoping this new job of yours is going to turn out to be better than you’re expecting. I know it’s not what you wanted it to be, but maybe there will be good things that come along with the rest. xx

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you. I feel I did navigate social hurdles in a way I wasn’t able to previously.

      He is self-absorbed. But he didn’t verbally directly criticize – I’ve just known him for a long time and read between the lines. Our values just don’t mesh at all.

      You’re right – the job might be good for me. I’m picturing it a positive way in my mind anyway. Starts next week. šŸ™‚

  3. Rachel said:

    I heard some judgment around spending the holiday with your ex, and not having someone else. I can understand why you’d want people/a person who is more at your level in terms of emotional and social intelligence. And, he has been part of your life for a long time and is your son’s father, so I don’t judge you for inviting him to holidays. He isn’t a complete troll, I imagine there is something about his company that brings you positive experience.
    Sorry about the depression. Your attitude seems helpful though.

    • Ellen said:

      I do feel judgy around that – thanks. He absolutely isn’t a troll – in this post, I listed my complaints/misgivings because i was trying to get it out of me, but he has good qualities. He showed up at 4 am when I had cancer surgery to drive me to the hospital for surgery. He built me a cupboard. He made me soup when I was sick. He is caring, in many ways. Just there’s a bad history, I guess, that’s the main trouble. Thanks.

      • leb105 said:

        I was wondering if there isn’t a kind of comfort to be found in being around people from this part of your family, even if they can be challenging – at least their routines are also familiar…. I’m noticing this with my Mom, who can really upset me sometimes, but I can also feel comforted by just being around her. Maybe if you’re not (at the moment) being triggered by their routine, and you have some distance on it?
        Maybe you’ll be a writer (of books), someday!

        • Ellen said:

          Yeah, I think that’s true. I feel similar about my mother Laura – I’ve even longed for her when I was in real distress, which is kind of stupid, because I cannot tell her anything about my feelings and expect a good response, but she has soothing qualities. And my ex – yes, he is familiar and part of my life, and a lot nicer than when we were together.


  4. e.Nice said:

    That sounds very tiring. I tend to have more depressive symptoms when things are somewhat stressful/tiring/exhausting. Sounds like you are taking care of yourself appropriately šŸ™‚ were you reading a good book?

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah….I don’t have your kind of depression Nice, and I’m not sure it’s comparable. Maybe it is though. This was more like a disabling fit of some kind, and I felt better again the next day.

      I was reading The Illegal, which I got for my birthday. It’s been chosen for Canada Reads as the book all Canadians ‘should’ read for this year. I though it was just OK – the characters were a bit one dimensional, but the plot was interesting. I just think – surely there was a better novel written in Canada last year than that. I was also reading Lincoln’s Melancholy, about Lincoln’s struggles with depression in the nineteenth century, which is real interesting. So – told you more than you wanted to know I bet.


      • e.Nice said:

        I think having hard days is comparable, even if the underlying cause of depression is different. I like hearing about what you are reading. I haven’t read much lately and I miss it.

        • Ellen said:

          I also think the quality of my difficulty is different, from what I read on your blog. I don’t hate myself, I don’t wish to die in a continuous way – I don’t have these constant desperately sad thoughts the way you seem to. I think probably, the way my brain is wired, is more abnormal and difficult than yours, at bottom. However, I’m not in an acute crisis mostly. Even when I actually mess up, at work say, it doesn’t upset me the way a possible imperfection on your part upsets you. I turn my anger outwards. Your depression reminds me of the memoir I read of Styron’s on his depression. I find I can relate to the struggle, but it seems quite different for me.

          I do love to read and always have, though have also been through some times with little reading. I found light reading really good for bad spells – mysteries, science fiction series….Lots of plot, where the heroine wins out in the end. Cheers

          • e.Nice said:

            For some reason the thought of our brain wiring makes me smile. I can imagine what the tangle of wires looks like in my head! Our struggles are different and come from different causes, yet I still relate and find help in your writings. Perhaps the human experience of dealing with painful and hard things is pretty universal? At any rate I appreciate you writing your experiences and commenting on mine. Reading can be a break, an escape, even bringing some hope. I avoid it when really down because it becomes a chore, it’s hard to concentrate, to leave the depression world. I don’t want to ruin a good book when the best I can do is “meh.” I should try some “light” reading, the happy fluffy kind (like cake!) again.

            • Ellen said:

              The wiring – it’s just not a pretty picture at all! And I relate to your struggles also for sure.

              I really recommend light reading when you’re down. It gives the malfunctioning brain something neutral to do, plus I find it’s great to be in a different world for a while. For me, reading is mostly not about ‘improving my mind’ obviously. Cheers

            • e.Nice said:

              Lincoln’s memoir that you mentioned reading doesn’t really seem like light reading to me….. šŸ™‚ Tangled wiring all in different colors could look pretty cool šŸ™‚

  5. It was good you could express yourself; being honest about how it all made you feel. I am sure the familiarity of his presence is comforting, you know what to expect (mostly). I wonder if your depression is, like after therapy, that overwhelming, undone feeling of not being sure what to do with it all. It would be great if you could process verbally after those times, with someone (you trust), maybe that would be helpful. Hope you are feeling better.

    • Ellen said:

      That’s such a wise comment. I did feel overwhelmed. I’ve wondered also whether if I had someone to talk to after, it would help me come through it faster. Part of the struggle is the isolation of it.

      I’m much better thanks. Most triggers I can get through in a day or so it seems.

      Thanks me12.

      • Glad you are doing better! I told my T yesterday, even though I have great support, it feels so lonely sometimes. I understand the isolation and loneliness, for sure!

  6. Tthe food sounds nice, you made a huge effort even in cooking a ham and potatos. Don’t put your efforts down. I’m sure your ex and son appreciated it, if they didn’t more fools them. You did your best. XX

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