I had a tough day, a lot of anxiety and depression at work. At lunch time I started writing a blog post listing the anxieties I have regarding the (nearly upon us) chaggim (Jewish festivals), but I was running out of time and decided to work on my Doctor Who book instead. Suffice to say every festival (and we have one a week for a month now) has its own unique anxieties, alongside general anxieties like the fact that I’m finding it harder and harder to get up in the mornings for work and shul (resurgent depression), I keep being too tired to go to Talmud shiur (class) and general social anxiety and work anxiety. I just sent an email to pretty much every Jewish relative, friend and acquaintance in my address book wishing them shana tova tikatev vetikatem (may you be written and sealed for a good new year), but even that was a struggle with social anxiety. I kept asking myself if they would want an email from me, maybe they would even be offended by it (now I’m worrying if my non-Jewish friends and readers would want to be included… if you do, consider the greetings extended to you too).
Work was hard not just because of anxiety and depression, but because I was cataloguing a lot of books on childcare (and I have literally just discovered that the catalogue was spelling ‘childcare’ wrongly as ‘child care’ – I should have caught that earlier and am now worried I will get in trouble, although I am really supposed to stick with what is already in the catalogue, which I did) and catalogued a book on learning disabilities and read a lot about Asperger’s Syndrome and autism which reminded me of my odd non-diagnosis. I was assessed twice for Asperger’s and was told that I have a lot of the symptoms, but not broken down in the right way across the diagnostic categories to be diagnosed. Then another psychiatrist said she thought I did have it, but without doing an assessment (I think by that stage she didn’t know what to do with me and was just throwing stuff out there). These days I think I probably don’t have it, as my early childhood was fairly free of symptoms. I think a naturally introverted personality developed a lot of social anxieties and had somewhat retarded social development as a result of family stress, school bullying and a degree of emotional neglect, but I do feel a certain kinship with people who have Asperger’s and have never worked out quite what to do with my non-diagnosis. So the book I was cataloguing raised questions I wasn’t really in a fit state to answer, as well as reminding me of some of the more upsetting parts of my childhood.
I missed Talmud shiur again tonight, as I hinted above. I was too late to say most of Shacharit (morning prayers) this morning too. I’m struggling to keep my head above the water at the moment and it’s going to get worse before it gets better, with the chaggim and the onset of winter, which always triggers depression in me. It occurred to me over Shabbat (the Sabbath) that both my rabbi mentor and the rabbi of the shul I am joining are aware that my mental health issues affect/reduce my Torah study and davening (praying) and both are supportive of what I am currently managing to do, so if they are OK with it, maybe I should stop beating myself up. It’s hard, though.
Anyway, shana tova tikatev vetikatem to anyone I missed out before. May 5778 be a year of blessing, health, prosperity and peace for us, the Jewish people and the world as a whole.