Today was a better day. I’m pretty tired, though, so I will quickly go through a few things.
I was worried I was about to have a panic attack on the Tube this morning thinking about yesterday, but I managed to calm myself down. I spoke to my sister this evening about the last few days. I should have thought of speaking to her earlier as she is really good at job advice (I’m sure her advice about my CV and application got me this job in the first place!). I spoke to her this evening and she gave me some tips about handling situations like this in the future and what to say to my boss in the immediate future. For what it’s worth, I saw my boss today and she seemed OK with me. I do need to ask her for some time off in lieu in the next week or so for the chaggim (festivals) – I’ve already done three days unpaid overtime to cover the chaggim themselves, but I need to do another three or four hours so I can leave early the days before the chaggim and be home before sunset. I hate to ask for this stuff (even without yesterday), I hate to be a pain (my Muslim colleagues ask for two days off a year, I’m asking for three and a half just this term, although to be fair I should only need one or two and maybe a late start for the rest of the year), but there is no halakhic (in Jewish law) way around it: I absolutely need to be the other side of London less than an hour after my official end time, which is impossible without leaving early. (I guess it’s a reason to live in Israel…)
I spent four hours doing enrollment and the rest of the day cataloguing. I finally began to get to grips with the enrollment process: what I was supposed to be doing, how it fitted in with the rest of the enrollment process and therefore to be able to improvize a bit when people had unexpected questions. A pity it was on the last day, but it will hopefully stand me in good stead for next year, even if they give me a different job.
Things were really slow with the enrollment, though, or at least my part of it, so I had a lot of time to think about some things. I spent some time doing more cheshbon nafesh (soul-searching over the past year) and thinking about how I am doing with things. I think I need to talk to my rabbi mentor about my davening (praying) and Torah study, because I feel that I just have to accept that they will be sub-optimal for the foreseeable future (e.g. davening late, without a minyan (quorum), with poor concentration, skipping parts of the service) as a result of my not being 100% recovered (or anything close… at my best I’m perhaps 80% recovered, but then I have days like yesterday when I’m more like 50% and struggling to hold on to that), but I’m reluctant to make that decision for myself without talking it through with a rabbi. I also feel I need to really deal with the social anxiety as a matter of urgency and halakhic importance, because it has really got me into trouble this week. Last year I wanted to deal with the OCD and depression and although I actually failed to meet the targets I set for myself, I tried other approaches and I’m a lot better than I was one year ago, so perhaps I will be able to make similar strides if I prioritize dealing with my social anxiety. It is a genuine mitzvah (commandment) to care for your health and one too many people neglect. It is a bit hard to know what to do though.
As a result of this, on the Tube home I finished reading the CBT booklet I have on social anxiety and want to try out some of the techniques, but they are scary and I have had mixed results with CBT in the past (it worked for my OCD, but not for my depression). I think I do need to re-read the booklet to make sure I’ve learnt the techniques, but I want to make a start so I don’t procrastinate over it. I thought I would start by trying to say “Shabbat shalom” to one person I wouldn’t normally talk to on Shabbat. It’s very small, but I think anything bigger (e.g. starting a full conversation with a stranger) would be too much at this stage.
I found a list of shadchanim (matchmakers) who deal with people with health issues online. All US-based, of course, and probably all more Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) than I am. Still, one of the shadchanim says she deals with Europeans, although she seems to deal with people with physical health issues more than mental; also, she lives in Lakewood NJ, which, from my limited knowledge of American Jewish culture, is ultra-ultra-Orthodox i.e. people who wouldn’t want to date me because I’m not religious enough, didn’t go to yeshiva, have a job instead of studying Torah all day etc. I don’t know if I should email anyway and see what happens…