I’m still feeling very depressed and I’m getting worried by how long it’s going on.  I wish I was at work, for the distraction, but I’m also worried that I won’t be able to get up at 6am when I do go back to work in three weeks.  My therapist is in Spain (her husband had to relocate there for work reasons due to Brexit so she goes there with her children during the school holidays), but she said that if I got depressed (she actually said if I broke up and got depressed, which just seemed to jinx the whole thing and I’m not even superstitious (or I tell myself I’m not)) I could email and try to arrange a Skype session.  I emailed yesterday, so I’m waiting to here back about when we could speak.

I wanted to go for a run today, but I just didn’t have the energy.  I went for a half-hour walk instead, in the wind and the drizzle, initially briskly, but after twenty minutes slowing down.  I listened all the while to a podcast on the history of Hell in different religions.  It’s OK, as Judaism doesn’t believe in eternal Hell.  In Judaism punishment (Gehennom) is internalized feelings of guilt and distance from God; in extreme cases, condemnation to non-existence.  For me, Hell/Gehennom is other people (Sartre), but also loneliness and aloneness (as well as guilt and self-loathing), so you see the quandry I’m in.

I’m apprehensive about this Shabbat, wondering whether I will be well enough to get to shul (synagogue) at all and how to respond when people ask how I am: open up to the truth or pretend everything is fine.  I usually do the latter, and hate myself for it, as most people don’t really want to know how I am, they are just being polite.  Next week will be very hard.  I have the dentist and the dental hygienist on Monday.   I don’t worry about that the way most people do, as I have good teeth, but I dislike the invasion of personal space and, the way I am at the moment, that could set off shaking from the olanzapine.  And then Monday night and Tuesday is the fast of 9 Av (Tisha Be’Av), the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, when we mourn the destruction of our Temple in Jerusalem and the many, many tragedies of Jewish history.  I can’t actually fast because of the medication I’m on, but I will be cutting down and observing the many other restrictions of the day (basically, no fun stuff, including things that most people wouldn’t even associate with fun, like washing).  It’s a difficult day even if you aren’t feeling quite clinically depressed, and I won’t even be able to vegetate in front of the TV.  Not sure whether I will be able to get to shul, or for how long.  I intend to read Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust for as long as I can, but I don’t know what I’ll do if it all gets too depressing.

At least on Wednesday afternoon the restrictions of the Three Weeks of mourning fall away and I can shave and listen to music again (my beard itches).

I still feel that I’m unmarriable, too weird and broken to get married and have kids.  I keep thinking of my date telling me to stop being scared of her and wonder how anyone could date (let alone marry) someone as screwed up as I am.  Lots of Orthodox Jews are into segulot/segulahs, basically good luck rituals: do X for money, do Y to find a spouse etc.  You can find them all over the internet.  I think they are magical thinking at best, darkhei haEmori (borderline idol worship) at worst.  I don’t believe you can force God to let you get married by reciting Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) forty days straight or get rich by baking challah (bread) in the shape of a key (which is probably a Medieval Christian or even pagan practice anyway!) and thinking that doing a ritual will force God to give you the outcome you want is paganism, not Judaism.  Our rituals (I mean ritual mitzvot) are meant to teach and improve ourselves, not to bribe or force God, who is beyond coercion or bribery.  Still, sometimes it is tempting to look for the quick fix, for both the depression and being single.  One well-known segulah for marriage is to drink the wine at a sheva bracha celebration (celebration in the week after a wedding).  I have only been to one once, and I nearly got into an argument with some people who practically forced the single people there to drink!  I said I couldn’t because of medication because I didn’t want to cause an argument by calling it idolatry.  My sister rather unwillingly drank; it still took her several more years to meet her fiancée.  My scepticism is maintained.

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