“The situation, Lavel, is normal and it doesn’t get much worse than that.” – Doctor Who: Battlefield by Ben Aaronovitch

A loosely timecoded account of my day.

13.54  Utterly exhausted.  I’ve been awake about two hours, after sleeping for about ten  hours (I went to bed late because I was watching Doctor Who).  I’m still in my pyjamas.  I had breakfast, which usually gives me some energy, but hasn’t today.  I’m just too tired to do anything.

15.01  Dressed now.  Somehow I managed to just daven Minchah (say afternoon prayers), even though I have zero energy and I feel really angry with God and disinclined to pray to Him.  I was reflecting on the hasgachah pratit (Divine providence) stories that you can find on Jewish sites like Hevria.com, Aish.com and Chabad.org, where people say, “Bad things happened to me, but I trusted in HaShem (God)” and everything turned out OK in the end” or even “I didn’t believe in God, but He did some amazing miracle for me and now I’m a frum (religious) Jew.”  I try really hard to see God’s hand in my life, but mostly it’s seeing His responsibility for my suffering and pain.  Every day I try to find five things to thank Him for, even if it’s tiny things in otherwise bleak situations, for example, “Thank you that, although I was too depressed [You made me too depressed] to get up for forty-five minutes after I should have done, thank you that you gave me a tiny bit of energy so I got to work on time, even though that meant I had to skip most of davening [for which I expect You will punish me at some point].”  But despite this, He seems to hate me.  Certainly whenever something good happens, it quickly turns bad (the opposite of all the hasgachah pratit stories on those websites).  My new job seemed good, but I feel I can’t handle the hours or the commute any more, nor the other stresses of the job.

I hate myself and feel that I’m worthless and other unmentionable words.  I’m pretty sure that God feels the same way about me, otherwise He would help me or at least show me why He hates me so much, what my sins are, so I could change and be worthy of His love.  I know what my worst sins are, but they are caused by my psychological issues rather than causing them, so I don’t know how to change unless He heals me first, something He has been refusing to do for twenty years or more.

I just want to know that I’m loved, really.  By God and preferably by a woman who will let me love her too.  I don’t know which I want more.   I guess that depends how pious or lonely I feel.

Whatever.  I’m supposed to do a load of things today: Torah study, cleaning the flat, cooking, proof-reading my Dad’s speech for the wedding, and I don’t have energy for any of them.  And I slept so late and took so long to get the energy to get dressed, that ludicrously, I have to get ready for bed again in just a few hours so that I might just get up in time for work tomorrow.  I just want to watch DVDs all afternoon, really, but the flat hasn’t been cleaned for about three weeks and I really ought to cook something so I’m not eating convenience food all week.

15.58  I’ve eaten lunch and watched an episode of Doctor Who, but I still have no energy or motivation.

16.27  Still exhausted.  I don’t think I’m going to get anything done today.  I would like to go for a walk, but I don’t have the energy; even the thought of putting my coat, gloves and scarf on is intimidating.

I didn’t find a mental health Torah reflection this week.   The nearest I could find was discomfort with Yitzchak (Isaac) getting married.  At forty, he was older than me, but then living to 180, he lived rather longer than I’m likely to live.

16.54  I just managed thirteen minutes of Torah study and feel exhausted.  Mostly it was reading over a bit of the Gemarah that we skipped in Talmud shiur (class) last week because it was too mathematical and complicated.  I couldn’t understand it at all by myself, even in translation.  Going over what we did study last week was only a little easier.  I tried to skim a religious article online, but couldn’t concentrate.  I hate it when I am too depressed to read, reading is so important to me.

17.19  Phoned my parents, trying very hard not to sound irritable and depressed.  When I’m depressed it’s very hard not to be irritable, especially when I feel people are patronising me.  This is another reason I have made a mistake looking into dating again.  I’m just not good enough.

17.36 Davened Ma’ariv (evening prayers) with zero kavannah (concentration).  I would feel lousy, if I could feel anything.

18.25 Went shopping.  It was a struggle to walk home, even though it’s only ten minutes away.  I don’t know how I am going to get to work tomorrow, but I’m scared to phone in sick, both because I don’t know how my boss will react and because if I miss one day, I know I will get out of the routine of going and it will be impossible to get back into it.  I’m like a cartoon character who can run off a cliff provided I don’t look down and see that I’ve run out of road (not my metaphor, sadly.  I wish I could write that well).  A bit of me wants to just watch DVDs, but mostly I just want not to exist, although I’m not actively suicidal.  People as messed up as me don’t deserve to be happy or loved, so I guess it’s just as well I’m not happy or loved romantically (I guess a couple of people care about me platonically or familially, though sometimes it’s hard to feel it).

I guess I should make some dinner, but I don’t really have the energy.  I should at least cook some plain pasta for tonight and tomorrow and boil some eggs for lunch tomorrow and Tuesday, otherwise I’ll be eating convenience food for dinner all week and cheese sandwiches every day for lunch.  I really need to clean the flat, but it isn’t going to happen now until next weekend at the earliest.

18.40  My sister phoned about wedding stuff.  I feel bad because she’s worried she’s upset me by talking too much about the wedding and with aspects of the party.  So of course I feel bad for signposting my boredom with the wedding too obviously and for being ill and not knowing what I’m going to be able to do about the wedding until the day and not really caring about the things she wants me to do.  And then I feel guilty that she picked up that I wasn’t in a state to have that conversation today, because I should hide my feelings better to avoid inconveniencing people.  The one good thing about thinking I’m never going to get married is not having to worry about having a wedding party.  I hate parties.  I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a party since I was a young child.

Right now I just can’t cope.  I hate myself for the things I do when I’m depressed, the person I become.  I hate myself for self-sabotaging every chance I have at happiness.  I hate myself for being generally stupid and useless and I hate myself for being depressed and socially anxious and Aspie (and undiagnosed) and still sometimes OCD.

19.26  I feel numb now.  I’m not really feeling anything except wanting to curl up and sleep.  I should make dinner, but I can’t really be bothered.  Incredibly, I need to start getting ready for bed in an hour or so, even though I feel like I’ve only just got up.  I achieved more or less nothing today and don’t know how I’m going to cope with the coming week.

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10 thoughts on “Normal, Unfortunately

  1. We (me and B) love you and also like you. 🙂 G-d loves you too, much much more than any of us can imagine. I believe that with all my heart, and although I can’t prove it to you or convince you of it, I know it is true. Please make and eat dinner – you usually feel better when your blood sugar level is um, level.

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  2. Dinner is cooking. Sadly just plain pasta (I’ll probably add sauce from a bottle and vegetables from a tin) as I don’t have the energy/concentration/motivation/time for ‘real’ cooking.

    Thank you, I’m glad you both love me and like me, the feeling is mutual. It’s a shame you live so far away. I struggle to believe that God loves me though, especially on days like today.

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  3. Thank you, that means a lot to me. I know, if we lived closer we could discuss ‘Doctor Who’ in person and have Shabbos meals together etc. I just asked my dad who his favourite Doctor is and he thought I meant the doctors at our surgery and didn’t want to answer so as not to show favouritism but I soon clarified!! 😉

    I can’t tell you how many days I just have plain pasta with sauce from a bottle. And even then it often feels like a real victory i.e. to have cooked something (as opposed to just eating cereal/health bars), to have included a portion of vegetables (as opposed to just eating ice-cream or another sugar-laden, guilt-inducing treat), and to contemplate dish-washing when everything feels like a monumental effort. The main thing is to eat something and hence have more energy for ‘Doctor Who’-watching. Hooray!

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  4. I got rid of almost all the junk food from the flat, so I’m not tempted to eat it, although on days like today it’s very hard not to buy more. I usually cook for two days at once, so washing up doesn’t happen until tomorrow. I couldn’t live off cereal bars, though. I’d rather eat toast or cereal.

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  5. Yum, yum! I love cereal and toast (and sometimes, if I’m feeling very decadent, both on the same day!). I also bulk-cook – it saves so much time in the long-run and I love being able to go into the freezer and take out a home-cooked meal and serve/eat it, without having all the work that day. Tomorrow I’m having a cooking day, GW. I’m trying a new Deliciously Ella recipe for a roast vegetable and chickpea stew and I’m excited to sample it! As for junk food – my diet really will need to recommence very soon!! Amazingly, although we stuffed ourselves obscenely on B’s birthday neither of us gained weight, however my body is weakly calling ‘Vegetables! I need vegetables!’ and so like the super-saint I am I bought lots of veggies earlier and had some as part of dinner (and then had an Alpro caramel soya pudding…)

    Question: what is your favourite toast topping? Peanut butter or jam? Butter or Marmite? Hummus or avocado? Don’t keep us in suspense!!

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  6. Oh, I remember the joys of toasted/grilled cheese all too well! I had to give it up (and everything else cheese-based) when we realised that cheese was one of my migraine triggers. However, I’ve discovered that vegan cheese doesn’t induce a migraine and so I can happily eat macaroni cheese again (bliss!) and even the odd pizza, and so, who knows, I might even have toasted cheese again one day! (Note to self: must get toastie maker!)

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  7. I’m so sorry you feel this way. Hang in there. Depression is a liar. You are probably more cared for than you are able to realise. I totally identify with your getting angry at HaSh, because I do too.

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