It seems a bit weird to quote Richard Nixon in the title line of a post, but I came across the quote (apparently a favourite of the disgraced President’s) in a newspaper article today and it seemed something worth holding on to. The last few days have been difficult. My OCD has rocketed up and my anxiety has been higher too. There’s been some guilt over stuff I probably shouldn’t feel guilty about. The Thing That I Seem To Talk About A Lot For A Thing That I Don’t Talk About has loomed large in a more negative way, connected with the guilt and anxiety. The high OCD levels led to some tension with my parents, particularly my father; I am worrying about him as several months after being made redundant it looks like he won’t find a new job and he’s taking it badly (he was distracted for a while with job searching, but he’s grown despondent about that, and also with house decorations and planning my sister’s wedding, but those have reached a temporary lull, with things being as far advanced as they can be for now and not likely to be resumed in earnest for a while). So I feel guilty for bickering with him, even as I felt that it was hard not to at times.
I went to bed very late last night, having stayed up for over an hour blogging and another hour watching Doctor Who; after last week I told myself I wouldn’t do either, at least not to the same extent, but I did anyway. I must have more self-control next week, at least while Shabbat is going out so late. Shabbat finishes about 10.20pm at the moment in London; factor in Ma’ariv (the evening service), walking home from shul (synagogue) and tidying up and it’s about half-past eleven or later before I even sit down to blog and it always takes longer than expected.
Inevitably, I woke up late this morning feeling very lethargic. I slept for about ten hours, so it was not entirely due to going to bed late; depression is probably a factor there too. My mood is somewhat low today, more depressed than anxious/OCD, although there is some of that too. I want to try to go for a run, even if I do nothing else, but I am not sure if I will manage it. I feel like I just want to go back to bed.
I’m worried about drifting back into depression, as I seem to have been doing in the last week or so. A few factors are possible. The ongoing stresses of That Thing. Reducing the dosage of olanzapine, which may have been doing more good than I thought (supporting evidence: last time I tried to come off it, I also got worse and I am only trying again because my psychiatrist was insistent). Exhaustion at working three full days a week for a full term with only one week off, itself interrupted by Yom Tov. The start of the Three Weeks of mourning, which always brings my mood down and stops me listening to music to cheer myself up. A general sense of loneliness and feeling that I still haven’t got my life where I want it to be, particularly religiously – feeling other people (FFB and BT) are innately more religious and pleasing to God than I am, that my mental health issues cripple me religiously and stop me getting to where I should be, to where God wants me to be (again, the Three Weeks and the start of what I think of as the long road to Yom Kippur exacerbates this). And it all becomes a vicious circle where feeling a bit depressed and anxious sets of the OCD, which makes me feel more depressed and anxious, which makes me worry that I am falling back into mental illness, which makes me more depressed, anxious and OCD…
Hence the quote in the title, trying to see this as a new beginning not a return to negativity. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, another nineteenth century rabbi I admire greatly, spoke a lot about this, about starting anew every day. “If your tomorrow is the same as your today, what need have you for tomorrow?” (Quoting from memory as my books on Breslov are all at my parents’ house.) It’s hard to hold on to that when I just feel stuck, however.