(Did you see what I did with the title?)

I’ve been feeling pretty bad again, with a head full of brain fog, and it seems to be going on too long to be simply the result of the break up of my non-relationship two weeks ago.  I’m worried that I’ve drifted back into another episode of full-blown depression, two weeks being the minimum period for a diagnosis.  It would fit my general pattern of recovering for six months or so every few years and then falling straight back into depression again.  My lithium level was a little low at my last blood test and I’ve used this as an excuse to try and get an appointment with a psychiatrist, or at least to get some advice.

Today felt like a wasted day because of the depression.  I wish I had work to distract me, but I worry I couldn’t make it in if I did.  I suppose the day wasn’t entirely wasted, but I failed to achieve several objectives.  I wanted to repaint the (now mould-free) woodwork in the bathrooom and to go for a run.  I didn’t manage either.  I did at least manage to walk down to the shops and to somehow find the energy and motivation to cook dinner.  I had to fight the OCD to do this, which I suppose is good (good that I fought it, not that I had to fight it).

I also managed about forty minutes of Torah study, mostly Horeb, Rabbi S. R. Hirsch’s book on the philosophy of the mitzvot (commandments).  I have been reading this, or rather, re-reading it (as I read it many years ago) for a long time now, certainly well over a year, possibly over two years (I don’t like giving up on books).  It is written in a flowery nineteenth century style that is not easy to read while depressed (the same reason I haven’t made much progress in Daniel Deronda lately).  I was hoping to finish it this holiday.  I might still manage it, as I only have one hundred pages left, but it will depend on how depressed I am over the next week and a half before I go back to work.  I did read some depressing political and cultural stuff on Mosaic Magazine, however, which was probably a bad idea.

I feel pretty exhausted now.  I feel bad that when I saw Dad before, I lied and said I was feeling fine today and he believed me.  I didn’t want to admit that I feel depressed, because I feel like a failure, and because he’ll ask why I feel depressed and I’ll get annoyed and say I don’t know, because non-depressed people don’t realize you don’t need a reason to feel depressed (although you can have an obvious trigger, like my break-up), just as you don’t need a reason to have cancer (although you can have one, like smoking).  I don’t think I’m depressed because of my break-up, I’m over the woman I was seeing, but once the depression has started, it becomes self-sustaining.

I have, however, been drama queening on Hevria again.  I suppose I do feel envious of someone who is twenty-one, married and feels her life is going well, even if she does seem to be suffering from mild anxiety; when I was twenty-one I was struggling to finish my BA, feeling utterly alone and unloved in Oxford, semi-seriously contemplating drowning myself in the weir… I wouldn’t take away anyone else’s happiness, but I wish they could share some round with me.  I feel bad about drama queening as however bad my life is, other people have it worse (my parents’ friends’ son has leukemia and he’s considerably younger than me), although someone once said that the worst thing that happened to you is still the worst thing that happened to you, even if others have had it even worse.

I actually wasn’t drama queening too badly this time… but here I am drama queening here instead.  I do wonder why people read and like this stuff.  I wish people would comment more, though.  My friends are almost all virtual friends.  To quote Hancock: The Radio Ham (by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson) “I’ve got friends all over the world… none in this country, but friends all over the world.”  I have one friend in London and I haven’t seen him for months, maybe over a year.

I’m still procrastinating over joining the shul.  I’ll need to do it soon if I want to daven there on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  I haven’t emailed the rabbi yet (I think he’s on holiday anyway), but I did just email the administrator to check what the fees are and when they are due.  I had to really fight my social anxiety even to do that, I was so worried that it would be considered a rude or stupid question, I don’t know why.

I don’t know if I’ve described my flat.  It’s a garage that my landlords converted into a flat.  75% is taken up with the bedroom/living room/dining room – basically the room with my bed, main storage space and tiny tables and desk.  Behind that is a tiny kitchenette and behind that is a similarly tiny toilet/bathroom.  The window of the main room looks onto the street, albeit that it is set back somewhat from the road.  There have been glaziers at work fitting new windows and doors to my neighbours’ house the last two days.  If I leave the blind up, they can stare right in at me and my bedroom.  If I draw the blind, it’s really dark.  Difficult.  There’s quite a bit of noise too (banging and radio), although I’m better at mentally tuning that out.

On the plus side, my viewing of Doctor Who in order has very nearly reached Tom Baker’s time in the lead role, my favourite era (or eras plural, but you’ll have to buy my book when it comes out to learn why!) of the show.  If I’m going to be too depressed to do anything other than vegetate in front of a DVD, I might as well vegetate in front of something good.  But for now I am watching Planet of the Spiders in a flat infested by spiders.

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4 thoughts on “Watching the Defectives

  1. Thank you for sharing, as ever. Sometimes it’s so much easier to say ‘I’m fine’ than the truth and it can both protect us and the person we’re misleading as often it would not be helpful to anyone to tell the whole truth. I remember once I was quite angry regarding a situation like this: I was about to co-facilitate a therapeutic writing workshop in a mental health setting, and my co-facilitator asked me (in private) how I was and I said ‘I’m OK’ – that being the most positive way I could describe how I was feeling (I was actually feeling acutely depressed at the time) and she said ‘Why just ‘OK?’ You should be saying ‘I feel great! Fantastic! Wonderful!’ I wanted to scream. Instead I calmly said ‘Actually, I’m not feeling very well at all and it was an ordeal for me to get here and ‘OK’ was the very best I could do and what I really wanted to say was I’m feeling like sh*t.’ Fortunately she responded kindly but still it was a risk. Usually I say ‘Fine’ unless it’s a person and situation where it feels safe and appropriate and helpful to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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  2. Thanks for commenting. Normally I can tell my parents I’m depressed. I don’t know why I didn’t want to tell Dad today, probably partly embarrassment and, as I said, not wanting to get involved in a discussion about why I feel depressed when I don’t actually know why.

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  3. ” someone once said that the worst thing that happened to you is still the worst thing that happened to you, even if others have had it even worse.”

    ……yes; and like you, I do that. Compare and contrast and always end up minimising and feeling guilty. But as I heard someone say and never forgot, ”My pain’s my pain”. Sounds oversimplified but basically the same – though I admit I find it much easier to say than to apply to myself.

    An example…..a five minute walk to the surgery, on Monday, for a blood test. The blood test was – for a change – quick and easy. The whole thing, however, was a nightmare, even before I went…..this time, the anxiety kicked in hours before(and that in itself made it worse, as it triggered memories of spending three hours in snd out of the loo with nerves – my stomach is the first thing to go when my emotions are upset – before calling my mother…..it was indescribably dreadful. A list of topics and questions which should have lasted half an hour? Used up in five minutes. Then the Big Silences. But……as soon as I tried to make an attempt to go, I’d be pulled back in, and somehow it would last at least half an hour after all, of what, I can’t remember, only that it was awful) and got worse, like a snowball down a hill. And the physical pain added to all the other pain….by the time ?I got there, /I was a little ball of fizzling, crackling anxiety, and the sounds of humanity made me jump and flinch. Screaming baby. Chattering people. Click clacking of heels up and down corridors, echoing. And more.

    And then home, wiped out, still, after something which sounds so ‘nothing’ but was horrible. So, there goes another week…..that was Monday, early morning, and I’m still messed up.

    Who’s the drama queen now? 🤔 Sorry for going on about me on your blog. And I don’t find you drama queenish at all……rather, honest. That helps me. You are good at expressing your feelings in ways I can’t find the words for. I’m just so sorry you go through it all.

    Thank you, Luft, for your honesty and openness. And Tom Baker is my favourite, too 😊, even though as you know I’m a Trekkie first and foremost. Look forward to reading your book…….

    Live long and prosper
    Alex

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