Another miscellaneous post:
Today was probably the best work day this week, in terms of mood, energy, concentration and not making mistakes (although I still made a few), but even then on the way home I found myself reflecting that I’ll probably kill myself one day. It’s frightening how a despairing and self-hating thought (if it was self-hating – it came more from resignation and despair than self-loathing) can spring from nowhere and make me assume that I will always be sad and lonely until eventually I won’t be able to take it any more. On the way home I also found myself reflecting that my lapse back into depression means that I still haven’t managed to go more than six months or so without clinical depression since the start of 2003. That’s almost the entire lifetime of some of the students I’m dealing with! (Registering people to use the library today I reflected that many of them were born in the twenty-first century, whereas I can remember when the twenty-first century seemed a distant and unobtainable science fictional future to me).
My CBT therapist suggested a while back that my mental health is worsened by a lack of intellectual stimulation. At the time I thought that my work was intellectual stimulation enough, but now I’m not sure. I don’t think blogging or writing my book help either. I don’t know what to do about this.
I have an appointment set up with the rabbi of the shul (synagogue) I am hoping to join. I’m terrified that I’ll somehow be caught out, embarrassed and forbidden to join. I’m sure it’s just a friendly meeting to get to know me better, but I can’t stop catastrophizing and feeling that this will be yet another situation where I don’t fit in. I have also booked to go to the shul‘s siyum Mishnayot next week (a siyum is a big party to celebrate finishing some Jewish study, typically Mishnah or Talmud). I’m a bit nervous and worried about who I will talk to, if I will embarrass myself, if I was supposed to do some study to be allowed to attend…
I mentioned volunteering yesterday as something that I should consider doing instead of dating. I had a quick look on the Jewish Volunteering Network website, but there was very little that was suitable for me, although my lack of confidence in my abilities probably didn’t help; I used the site’s filters to rule out a whole load of areas assuming that I couldn’t do those things. I’d like to do something interpersonal, maybe with children or the elderly, but I doubt that my social skills are good enough and expect that I would probably be a mess of social anxiety the whole time and be a liability rather than an asset.
So dating seems like more of an option, if I get through the chaggim (Jewish festivals) without collapsing under the strain of depression, social anxiety and OCD (I already feel anxious just thinking about them!). But I still can’t see myself finding someone who both likes me and is compatible with me, even if I go to the shadchan (matchmaker) who specializes in dealing with people with health issues. The better option would seem to be accepting being single and find other ways to give (but see my comments about volunteering) and receive love and companionship (unfortunately, people are not queueing up to be my friend). I’d be tempted to get a pet, but I don’t have room in my flat and anyway I’m not really an animal person.
A thought that has bothered me for the last twenty-four hours or so: one Valentine’s Day I was on a crowded Tube train going to school. There were some girls from my class in the same carriage. I could hear them talking, but they couldn’t see me through the crowd and I could hear them saying that they had a Valentine’s Day card and were going to write a fake message to one of the geeky boys as a practical joke. My name was one of the ones mentioned, I think. At another time, I was sitting in French class working when I could here the girls behind me writing a frankly obscene “romantic” note supposedly from one of the geeky girls to me, as another practical joke. My friend intercepted the note, not realizing that I had heard what they were saying as much as he had. (This was the same friend who got production of our yearbook when we finished GCSEs aged 16 stopped because the writers were so rude about the geeky crowd I was friendly with. I never found out what they said, although sometimes I wonder what they said about me. Maybe it is better not to know.)
I don’t know why I keep thinking of these two incidents. Maybe it’s another way of beating myself up, of saying that everyone has known for years that I am weird and unlovable, laughably so, and I should just stop trying to be happy and loved. Maybe it’s because I wonder what would have happened if I had asked one of the geeky girls out (they were geeky in terms of being clever and academic rather than being interested in science fiction and the like, but still). My oldest friend did that and they got married and have two children. Most of the geeky girls were not frum, so far as I was aware, but I wasn’t frum then either. I doubt I would have married any of them, but perhaps if I had dated a bit when I was sixteen or seventeen I would have had a better self-image. I know, I’m frum now and supposed to disapprove of casual dating and focus on dating for marriage. But I still wonder. I guess my life could have gone very differently, but there is no end to self-recrimination if one goes down this route.