Weirdly, even though it’s the saddest day of the Jewish year, and even though I was in a terrible state last night, I’m actually OK today. I slept through the whole morning, fairly deliberately. I didn’t set my main alarm, thinking my phone alarms would wake me, but I forgot I had turned them off in case I wanted to go to shul (synagogue), so I slept until about 11.30 or 12.00, eventually getting up around 12.30. I waited until 1.07pm (halakhic midday) until breaking my fast properly (not counting taking my tablets last night). I felt better for eating; since childhood my mood has been strongly affected by my blood sugar levels.
I spent a couple of hours writing emails and sorting through my accounts. Not stuff I would normally do on Tisha Be’Av, but I was wary of going too far into the depression after last night. I tried reading Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust, but didn’t get very far with it. It set off a load of difficult thoughts, partly obvious upsetting thoughts about the Holocaust, but also thoughts closer to home, about lost childhoods, loneliness, thinking that my lot in life is obviously enormously better than that of the Jews in the Holocaust, so why am I so depressed? I should stop being depressed, I don’t ‘deserve’ to be depressed! Also conflicted thoughts about stories of people’s lives apparently being changed by blessings from rebbes – I am enough of a Mitnaged in outlook to be sceptical of such things, but sometimes I wish I could find an easy answer, go to some rabbi and get a blessing for health and marriage.
I spent a lot of the day sleeping or lying in/on the bed or working on my Doctor Who book. I don’t know why I can’t get motivated to read depressing Tisha Be’Av books as I would normally do. It can’t be because of the depression, because I have gone through many years of being depressed, far more so than I am today, on Tisha Be’Av while reading appropriate books. Maybe because I hope I’m coming out of the hole I’ve been in for the last week and a bit and don’t want to risk pushing myself back into it. Or maybe that’s just rationalizing. I feel a bit guilty about it all, but I just can’t do it this year. Maybe I’m scared after last night: I hadn’t been that depressed and anxious in shul for nearly a year (when I had a panic attack in shul on Rosh Hashanah last year). That’s why I didn’t go back to shul today, which in retrospect was probably a mistake: one needs to confront anxiety rather than letting it grow. I must make sure I get to shul on Shabbat this week.
Less than forty minutes left…