I think the Sunday blues are universal, or at least I imagine that they would be in places where Sunday marks the end of the weekend and the slow creeping forward of the new work week. It starts to hit you somewhere around 3 or 4 pm; that time when you realize it’s too late to make much of your day, when you realize that your chance at a meaningful/relaxing/different kind of weekend has already passed, when you realize that all that is left are the boring things you have to do to prepare for the week ahead, things you have postponed while trying to exist in a psychic space where work doesn’t exist. On Sunday afternoon, it is almost impossible to imagine the hope you felt on Friday. Friday exists in another world. It is a sinking feeling, so much like the last week of August as a child, like the shortening of the days in winter.
I’m someone who can get very very depressed, and so the Sunday blues, in addition to being melancholy and supremely existential, is layered with the added panic that these feelings of sadness might augur something more permanent. If you’ve fallen into the pit of depression, chances are you are now slightly allergic to even slight dips in mood. Waking up with a pit in your stomach or napping excessively on a Saturday afternoon can be enough to strike fear in your heart. What if this feeling is not just a feeling, but rather the start of something very bad? What if it gets bad like ‘that’ time? What if it gets worse than ‘that’ time? Reminding yourself that fluctuations in mood are normal and that you are, alas, conditioned to be slightly allergic doesn’t help. This feeling is embodied. It is a memory you carry in the body; it is not of the mind.
I have no magic answer for the Sunday blues. Going out and ‘doing something’, as is so often recommended for depression, is liable to backfire as you will likely find yourself getting home late and hit suddenly with a double-dose of the Sunday blues, as though all the melancholy you managed to stave off by going out has been accreting exponentially under the skin and only waiting for you to take a pause before it rushes in all at once.
What did I do? I drew closer to my pug Violet. I took her out with me in the car as I did errands, I pressed my forehead against her backside and smelled her distinctly pug smell-bales of hay with the faint trace of mushrooms and yeast. I read about Zadie Smith splashing through fountains in Rome with her pug and contemplated an author photo where the two of them are pictured together. I remembered my six months in Paris with Violet, sitting in cafes in Montmartre eating Croque Monsieur and walking with damp feet through the Jardin de Tuleries. I remember lying in bed with Violet through a string of days and weeks that each felt like a Sunday. I remembered how waking up next to her and going to bed with her at night were the only things I looked forward to or cared about or felt anything about at all.