I think I’ve returned to where I was before I broke up two weeks ago, emotionally. I managed to navigate a number of things this weekend without falling back into depression, social anxiety or OCD (at least not too much).
The background to the weekend is that my aunt and one of my five cousins were over here from Israel. I was a bit nervous about how I would be over the weekend in terms of my mental health. The plan was that my aunt and cousin would be with us (me and my parents) over Shabbat alongside my sister and, on Shabbat lunch, my sister’s fiancé and then I would go out with my parents, aunt and cousin on Sunday.
Shabbat meals passed off well. No arguments or anything like that. Across the whole weekend I didn’t have much depression or social anxiety around my aunt, cousin or my sister’s fiancé (who asked my advice on what Yom Tov machzor (festival prayer book) to buy – he was probably just making conversation, but it was nice that he asked me). There were a few OCD thoughts, but I tried hard to keep them under control, with a reasonable degree of success.
My sister was the only person who noticed that I’d deliberately left my sideburns a bit longer and more tapered than usual when I shaved off my Three Weeks beard last week. Somehow I thought she would notice. It was a bit of a whim on my part. I’ve always liked long sideburns (although my sideburns aren’t hugely long) and have been toying with growning the longer for a while. I felt facial hair is back in fashion, so I decided to go for it. I’m vaguely nervous about how they will be seen at work and especially at shul (synagogue) as peyot (sidecurls) are common, but not long sideburns. I guess this is something where I have to be willing to stand out, as with wearing a kippah sruga (crocheted skullcap) and coloured shirt.
I got to shul on Shabbat morning, albeit quarter of an hour late (I somehow slept through my alarm). I still didn’t really talk to anyone in the kiddush, but I did talk a little bit at the seudah shlishit (third meal). I nearly answered a question in the shiur (class) during seudah, but chickened out at the last minute. I guess social anxiety won that one.
On Saturday night, after Shabbat went out, I sat around in the kitchen with my parents, aunt and cousin, just chatting. I’ve written before here about not being good at just “hanging out” with people and tending to go off by myself either because I don’t think I’ll enjoy being with other people or because I’m worried what they will think of me or what I will say, so it was good that I managed to do this. I then went to bed, but couldn’t sleep because of a migraine, so I ended up lying in bed watching Doctor Who, waiting for my painkillers to kick in (in the end a Cool ‘n’ Soothe strip proved more effective). Death to the Daleks is far from being seventies Doctor Who at its best and it wasn’t improved by being watched at 2.00am with a sick headache.
Today I went out to the park with my parents, aunt and cousin. Again, it’s something I might have used the depression to avoid in the past, but I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my family, particularly as I’ve now realized how important family is to me. We had a good time and bumped into a couple of people we knew, including my primary school teacher from when I was about five. She hadn’t changed. She said I hadn’t changed either, but I’m not sure if that was because I do tend to run into her every couple of years.
The last hour or two has been a bit harder. I’m back in my flat by myself now and I’m tired from the afternoon out (I do worry a little that my energy levels are still low; I’m not sure how much it’s depression or just that I’m older now. It makes me worry about being able to cope with having children) and ended up feeling a little down and OCD, although I’ve mostly kept things under control. Eating the wrong food probably doesn’t help (my Mum took a lot of junk food out with us, but no fruit other than grapes; I would have taken apples and bananas). Hopefully eating dinner will help.