Sunday, March 18, 2007

An angry day

Woke up this morning feeling blank. A feeling which rapidly disintegrated into anger, with the odd wave of depression. Great start to the day then. Lord H went to church, as he was doing the prayers, but I cried off, as the thought of the Mothers' Day jollity was beyond bearing. I got so frustrated during the morning that I resorted to taking two calming pills. Thank God for Lane's Quiet Life remedies, eh?

There are really two things which have been upping the rollercoaster levels of my blood pressure today but God only knows why they're preying on my mind together. Lucky me, I suppose. Not. The first thing is the church. My specific (ex-) church rather than the generic one, though that's not so hot either. It strikes me that I spent most of 2006 being increasingly depressed and withdrawing from all kinds of church activity. I gave up going once a week to the daily Evening Prayer service held by the Lay Reader, I withdrew from the prayer rota, I gave my notice in as Sacristan and I stopped going to church every week. And when I did go, more often than not I didn't take communion. During that time, I've had a couple of church people tell me that if I wanted to talk I was welcome (a) to phone them, or (b) pop round for a chat. Which might seem nice on the outside, but you try asking someone suffering from depression to take any kind of action whatsoever in relation to the outside world. Believe me, it just wasn't possible. It was more than enough for me to (a) go to a counsellor and (b) talk to the doctor about it. I couldn't have done anything else. So, in all that time, not one person from my ruddy so-called caring bloody church has either popped round, rung me or left me a note. And, yes, I am bloody fucking angry about it. I'm beginning to see I have a right to be. I'm not sure I'd treat my dog (if I had one or even if I liked dogs) like this. Surely if something is sick, it's up to the healthier people to do something about it. Well, hell I've been sick and no-one's done a damn thing. Yes, I feel let down, yes I feel hurt, and yes I feel angry. The last straw today was when Lord H came home bearing a little gift of Mothers' Day flowers for me and conveying the good wishes of the church. I'm afraid my answer was (a) to chuck the flowers in the bin, and (b) say bollocks to their good wishes. I don't believe them and I don't want them. Not Lord H's fault, I know, and we did have a good talk about it today - which is a blessing which has been a long time coming. I've been wary about raising my feelings about church as I know how much a part of his life it is. My cowardice - I should have trusted him more. I think now that if anyone from the church did come round (with the possible exception of Paul, the new and very strange priest, who has been the first person there in a long time to treat me like a real human being with opinions and feelings that might be important ...), I wouldn't let them in. I also think that when I come back from our holidays, I'm going to cancel my monthly direct debit to the church, which I've been running for ages. And I'm not going to bother telling the treasurer either. I mean fuck it, why should I be proactively caring when not one other bugger has been? Bollocks to them, I say.

The other thing is that I'm not, I don't think, actively looking to find another church. I'm not sure I want to. It's way too difficult and too hurtful. If push comes to shove, or if my feelings change, I might think about the Quakers, as they've been good to me in the past when I was "between churches", but for now I think I just want to lick my wounds and be still. Hell, it's a plan. Of sorts.

And the second thing that's been making me wildly angry (and very hurt) today is my so-called old University friends. These are people I don't see very often, but have known for twenty years. Yes, I know I've blogged about them before, but this is the first time I've had this wave of anger about them. It feels as if for a long time I've been doing a lot of the running and since I made the decision last year about not organising so many group social activities, it all seems to be drifting away. It seems as if when I hear about any good or bad things that have happened to them, I'm first to respond with the appropriate celebrations or sympathy, but the same thing does not happen, in any sense, in return. Last year, one of them was in severe crisis and I drove over her way several times to have chats about it, and kept in touch by email/phone. Yet when I'm in trouble (as last year indeed), there's nothing in return - just once again the invitation to ring them if I need to talk. Well, once again, bollocks to that. It doesn't work. What I need is someone on my doorstep/on the phone/email being proactive about it. That has never happened. I've also sent emails telling them the good news about my books and, in one or two cases, how difficult things have been. Response on both counts: zilch. Surely, if someone emails you with good or bad news, it's just a matter of courtesy to respond?? I make sure I always do. It feels very hurtful, and I feel very empty, that this isn't happening from them. And, God, I think: what is it about me that makes people use me when they need a shoulder to cry on, but disappear to the fucking hills when I need the same from them? Do I have the label "Social Pushover" tattoed to my head? Bollocks to my old university gang, I say. I can do without you tossers. Everyone I know is a bloody better friend than you. So go screw yourselves.

So. What a morning that was, eh? The rest of the day I've spent doing the cleaning, stuffing sliced lemons up a chicken's arse (which has been extremely satisfying and I really must do it more often, especially when I can imagine it's the bloody church or my bloody so-called friends - though no doubt some of them would enjoy it ...) for lunch, cleaning the car, chatting to the neighbour and napping. The latter for two glorious hours - bliss! Oh, and I've rung mother to wish her the usual happy returns of today and to sound like a normal daughter with a normal life. God, what a consummate actor I indeed am.

And I've just finished reading Wendy Cope's "Serious Concerns" - poetry that always makes me smile and she's so damn clever. I've also given up on Carol Anne Davis' "Shrouded", as I couldn't bear the characters and I'm deeply uninterested in fish tanks, a subject which seemed to take up most of the first few chapters for reasons known only to her.

Tonight, I'm going to watch Billie Piper (who I think is a lovely person) in "Mansfield Park". I must admit to being in two minds about it, as I really really don't see her as Fanny - she's too blonde, too bosomy and too uncontained. Fanny is more of the quiet, slow-burn, brunette type, in my opinion. Still, we'll see.

This week's haiku (and probably appropriate for today in some strange fashion ...) is:

I speak of childhood.
Inside me, a door opens
and darkness spills out.

Today's nice things:

1. Being angry about the crap thrown at me (strangely)
2. Having the "church talk" at last with Lord H, and we're still hugging (thankfully)
3. TV.

Anne Brooke


Joanna said...

I sympathise with your feelings of anger and melancholy...and indeed, similar things have happened to me regarding friendships. I've told people I get very down and don't feel like being social when I'm in 'That Mood', but instead of comforting me over my depression, they take it as a personal insult and get annoyed with me! And so I get zero sympathy. I really do think being a creative type is bloody hard sometimes...but hey, we're allowed to be angry and moody. It's part of the writer's package! Keep up the good work.

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Joanna - and yes I know exactly what you're saying! And you're right about the creative thing, damn it!


Peter said...

Oh tell me about it Anne. I went through a dressing time of it a while back and told one close friend. Got not much sympathy back. And as for the friends not contacting you. Well that’s one of the reasons I don’t see my very good friend James anymore. I had to do all the calling and if I didn’t call for a while I would just a sarcastic ‘oh you are still alive then, we thought you must be dead as you haven’t been in touch recently’. Well he obviously didn’t care that much if I was alive/ill/dead etc.

Some relatives are the same. Meet up with my mate Duncan a while back. The first thing he said to me? My Aunt who lives across the road from him had moaned to him that I hadn’t been in touch lately. Well its just as easy for you to contact me and it is for me to contact you.. If you are that concerned about the lack of communication then pick up the phone or drop me a letter. Just don’t sit on your backside doing nothing but moan to my mates about it.

Sorry you got me angry now… grrrrrrrr



Anne Brooke said...

Give 'em hell, Peter!! I can really sympathise. Sorry for getting you cross about stuff like that too though ...

Empathetic (is that even a word??) hugs


Lover of Books, Films and Good Coffee Shops Everywhere! said...

Oh Anne, you poor thing, I’m so sorry you are feeling so down.

I can't comment on the religous thing as I am the most unreligous person you could find.
The ‘friend’ thing seems to be pretty universal – I had a good old moan to Peter about a close friend of mine only a week ago. When I lived closer too her I was always popping in to see her – several times a week in fact but, because she had kids, I sort of accepted that I’d be doing most of the ‘going to see’ bit – so it was always my petrol being used, me making the arrangements to go out etc.

Now I’ve moved further away from her,and her children are grown up enough to look after themselves, I find that it’s still me going to see her – I see her every 2 to 3 weeks at least. She has been to our house about 4 times (in a period of 1½ years) – each time at my instigation – not her phoning up and suggesting she come round.

My latest annoyance was over me making several phone calls to keep in touch and her not phoning back (maybe the daughters didn’t pass on the message I don’t know). When I did finally get hold of her – she’d had a bad day at work and didn’t have time to chat but said she ring me at the week-end. She did finally ring on the Sunday but only to ask me when I was going round with a present for her daughter, and then that got re-arranged when the daughter wasn’t going to be in (therefore messing up my other arrangements). As I have blogged, I am making a cake for the party, but I wasn’t ‘asked’ to make it – it was phrased as "oh, Sue will do the cake, won’t you? as I’ll be too busy with the rest of the arrangements". I was pretty miffed in being taken advantage of in that way I can tell you – sometimes it’s just the way a question is asked that makes all the difference.

Anyway, at my latest visit last Thursday, I had promised myself that if there was any sort of ‘atmosphere’ I was going to speak my mind but said friend was very welcoming (maybe she had been feeling a little guilty about neglecting me, I don’t know) and we are back on firm ground again (albeit with me having a few niggles in the back of my mind).

At the end of the day though, it is a friendship that has lasted since we were 18 and I can’t imagine my life without her, and her family, in it. So sometimes you have to step back and look at the bigger picture.

I think in life you are either a ‘giver’ or a ‘taker’ and it is sad to say that if you are friends with someone who errs towards the ‘taker’ end of the spectrum you either have to accept it or let the friendship drift as people rarely change.

Reading this back, I’m sure this helps at all! but I hope this helps you to realise that you are not alone in feeling the way you do and that lot’s of people question their friendships from time to time – I guess it’s like any relationship – ups and downs.

I hope today is a easier day for you. Huge hugs from me and Peter.

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks so much, Sue - that's really helpful. Good to know I'm not alone for sure! Sorry to hear about the ups and downs with your friend though - and glad things seem to be better right now. I hope the cake is fab - I'm sure it will be - btw.

Huge hugs back


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear how you've been feeling.

The big problem with depression, is that for the main part, you don't look any different. If you have a broken arm, people can 'see it' and comment on it.

With depression, people ask how are you feeling? That is not something you can sum up and usually end up with the answer 'fine' because you try and make it easy for them.

Sad I know, but as my mom used to say about being a woman. If you're standing up, then everything's okay!

You make the most of your break and have a fab time. Being away from everything can bring great clarity.


Sue xx

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Sue - much appreciated! And yes the break was good!