I’m back from my first day of enrollment. I have a lot to
complain say about it, but I’ve decided that I had better not go into too many details about work as my false identity here is far from secure and there aren’t that many further education colleges in London. I already spent a chunk of today feeling anxious about something I wrote in a blog comment (probably innocuous, but I suddenly became paranoid it could be misinterpreted and get me in trouble – this may have been OCD and/or a response to stress). So I will just say (a) some teenagers would lose their heads if they weren’t screwed on and then deny that they ever had a head in the first place when you tried to talk to them about it and (b) I coped reasonably well, considering the job I was given was not a great one for someone with social anxieties and difficulty making quick decisions especially when surrounded by people I don’t know well (I’m not sure if this is just my personality or my borderline Asperger’s, poor executive function (decision-making) being a symptom). I felt I was checking with my colleagues a lot that I was doing the right thing, although they were more experienced than I am both with enrollment and with the college in general (knowing who people are and where places are) and I may have made a few mistakes, which I hope were not too significant. I only called one person back once to check I had given him the right papers (OCD).
The other thing I wondered about at work was opening up to people about my mental health issues. My boss knows about this a little bit because I told her when she gave me the option to increase my hours per week, but when she asked how my holiday was today I just said it was OK and quickly asked how hers was to divert the conversation from my depressive episode. I am not sure if it would have been good or bad to be more open about my depression with her, especially as I recently advised someone to be open about mental health at work and that didn’t work out too well. My other colleagues don’t know about my mental health at all and I’m not sure how to have a conversation about it. In theory I’m in favour of openness about mental health, but in practice I find it almost impossible. I’m not sure if I feel ashamed of being ill or scared of the response, or if it’s just a very English/masculine reserve about talking about emotions (at least in person – no problem writing about how I feel here).
On a somewhat related note, I feel pretty despondent about dating and am semi-seriously considering giving up, at least for a while. The factors in favour of dating are my extreme loneliness and desire for a family, as well as the religious obligation, and my desire to be able to love someone and give to her. Plus I do actually have a libido (I think it’s at the back of the cupboard). Against this is that dating is just soul-destroying, or rather being dumped is soul-destroying and dating leads pretty swiftly to being dumped for me. Given my weird interests and my brokenness (mental health issues plus character defects plus general emotional/relationship problems) I seriously doubt that I could meet the right person even with a shadchan (professional matchmaker), at least not without moving to New York where there are more Jews per square mile than anywhere outside Israel and perhaps weirder and geekier Jews than anywhere at all, although that may be biased by the fact that most of the New York Jews I know are geeky (and not interested in me, so moving may not work either… not that immigration to the US is going to be any easier (or more sensible) under Trump). I was going to wait until after the chaggim (Jewish autumnal festivals) before going to a shadchan, about two months but now I wonder if I should wait longer, much longer, maybe six months or even longer, to really get settled into the longer work week, plus set aside some time to work on my book. Against this, my CBT therapist said I’m as ready as anyone to date and while everyone laughs at me if I say I have a biological clock, given that I want to have children and given that I have no intention of cradle-snatching, I think time is an issue. Of course, I could just procrastinate as usual, which is tantamount to deciding to wait.
EDIT: one good thing: I finished two Jewish books in the last two days (Horeb and God, Man and History). My tally of Jewish books read this Jewish year is disappointingly low with less than one month left, but I’m glad to have finally finished Horeb after over a year, probably nearer two.