Today I received an email from a dear friend I'll call Maria. Here's the question she posed:
I am always trying to think what really is the difference in my life that keeps me depressed. I know there's something very different than before because I just got better on the meds & lived a fulfilled normal life!
I think I just realized a BIG thing that I NEVER thought of before...I feel very dis-connected. By this I mean I feel like I fill my days but my days aren't just filled. If you know what I mean.
I used to just get into my car & ride over & see a friend. Or my friends would just stop by...I had a very busy life. Now I see my friends when we make plans to see each other & I am even that way with my family members.
I don't feel like I am a part of anyone's life. Nothing is a routine. If I stop over my mom's...I call first. I have many friends but not a friend that I just drop over & see. Even my kids don't just stop over...although I know they don't live close enough to just stop by but they would rather go out & eat then get together here.
What do you think? Did it take years for my life to turn into this or is this the way everybody lives now? I just don't feel like I am a part of anybody's life but my husband's.
I know I did distance myself from people when I was depressed for a long time...is that what happened? I don't know how this happened. Yet when I make plans with people..1/2 the time I have to force myself to go. Does any of this make sense to you? Is there a name for this? How can I change this?
Great question, Maria. I'll take a stab at answering this but maybe some of our readers can offer some insights such as fellow bloggers Iris or Stephen.
First of all, times have indeed changed. Many families remain close and see their grown children regularly. This, I am told, is the exception. People are primarily motivated by what other people do. They don't like to think for themselves. Peer pressure.
People mostly hang out with their own age group. They'd prefer seeing their contemporaries than being with the parents that raised them. This is a fact and must be accepted or we'll be miserable.
In the 'good ole days' visiting was something everyone looked forward to. Every Sunday when I was growing up, like you, in the 1950s and 60s, we'd drive to Aunt Selma and Uncle Marv's house. We'd sit in the den and talk. Or I'd visit with cousin Mark to see his latest artwork or maybe shoot a few hoops in the backyard. Gramma Green also lived with them back then. There were no such things as assisted living homes.
How times have changed.
Thother day I said to boyfriend Scott, let's go visit your folks! They live 15 minutes away.
What for? was his answer.
People also work long hours just as in the past. Are we busier today than ever before? Dunno. But time is more precious, perhaps, and with the lost art of visiting, people occupy themselves by their favorite pasttime of going out to eat. Why? Is it the commercialization of eating out? Is it just plain fun? Again, I dunno.
Without question, people are meant to live together and socialize together. It's in our DNA. You are an exceptionally social person. Perhaps that part of your brain is more developed than others, a darn good thing, cuz you're very good w/people.
Perhaps that's why you have such a tough time being alone.
What to do to help yourself? Well, you helped yourself enormously by doing all your volunteer work during the week, but clearly that's not enough. You're a person who can't enjoy your days off.
There is nothing wrong with that. Again, it's how you're wired.
Even tho you said you don't like making plans, you should probly schedule at least one fun activity on weekends to get you out of your home doldrums. You are one person who cannot be home and be happy. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. It's simply the way you are.
When I worked for 13 yrs as a psychotherapist, I used to dread weekends. Like you, I was always blue. Not depressed. Blue. Without work, as Camus said, everything went rotten.
Once I scheduled activities on the weekend I was fine. It took me an awfly long time to do dat, though, cuz I was sunk in my routine.
Hope this is helpful, Maria. Let me have your thoughts.