I had a fairly awful Shabbat (Sabbath), but I think I realised some new things about myself. Firstly, I seem to be OK during the work week. In the mornings I feel depressed, but I have to rush to work. Then work is a distraction and in the evenings I’m exhausted and just eat and go to bed. On Thursday evening I can begin to wind down a bit and Friday is rushing with therapy and Shabbat preparations, but then I go to shul and suddenly I have limited distractions for the next twenty-five hours and not much distraction for a day or so after that and things can get difficult.
In shul I was feeling very depressed and self-critical. I can’t remember exactly what I was feeling, but it was stuff like, “I’m a freak, I’m a bad person, God hates me, I’m much worse than everyone else in my community, I have no share in Olam HaBa (the World to Come i.e. Heaven)…” I started thinking about what would happen if, It’s a Wonderful Life-style (I’ve never seen the film, but I know the plot), I was shown what life would be like for those around me if I had never been born. I found it hard to imagine that it would be much different. My parents would still have my sister. My friends all have other friends. I’ve done one or two good things in my life, but not many, certainly not many that were difficult enough that I can really take credit for the effort involved. I carried on thinking like this until I got home, depressed enough that I crawled into bed fully dressed (this would be about five o’clock) and eventually dozed until dinner at six. (This meant I couldn’t sleep later.) I felt better at dinner, but was probably a bit irritable and felt worse for quite a while after dinner, although I improved before bed.
I woke up at 8.00am today and should have gone to shul (synagogue), but was feeling too depressed and just went back to sleep. I didn’t get up until something like 1.00pm and it took even longer to get dressed, even after I’d had some breakfast. By that time there were only a couple of hours of Shabbat left, so that was spent mainly eating and davening (praying). I didn’t do much Torah study as I have a bit of headache, not a bad one, but it won’t shift. I was too tired/depressed/lazy to go back to shul for Ma’ariv (the evening service).
I hadn’t felt that self-loathing and depressed for a while. I had decided that I was going to email the shadchan (matchmaker) I found who specialises in people with medical and other ‘issues’ (having given up waiting for my parents to contact the friends whose daughter they want to set me up with and not being at all sure that she is frum (religious) enough for me anyway), but now I wonder if that’s at all a good idea.
The other thing worth noting happened today when I realised that what I describe is loneliness really is loneliness, but also sexual frustration. It’s hard for me to describe that because, being a virgin (at thirty-four!) I don’t really know what I want nor do I have a vocabulary to describe it (even without alexithymia making it hard to understand what I feel), plus as a frum Jew I’m not supposed to talk about sex at all, really, especially as I’m single; it’s something that is supposed to happen between husband and wife and isn’t supposed to be mentioned outside that context. When I had an essay published on Hevria about being scared of sex, I didn’t show my family for fear of what they would say and I didn’t let Hevria publish it under my real name. I wanted to talk about sex to my therapist this week, but somehow we got distracted on to something else, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to say anyway.
I’ve mentioned that sex for me is tied up with feelings like love, intimacy and acceptance. I can’t imagine that I could ever be promiscuous, even if I wasn’t frum. So it’s easy to see that sexual frustration is part of what I feel when I experience what I call ‘loneliness’, because my desire for love, intimacy and acceptance (loneliness) is inseparable from my desire for sex. It might (I’ll put it no stronger than that) explain why, since I was eighteen (i.e. about half my life) all my closest friends have been women. Since then I’ve generally had one close friend (inasmuch as I have close friends) who ‘happens’ to be female, and usually I feel that, if things were different, I would like to go out with her. Usually I can’t because she’s not Jewish or not frum or not interested in me like that; sometimes there’s some other reason of incompatibility. It’s very frustrating.
Right now I’m supposed to be downloading my photos from my sister’s wedding or doing some Torah study (now my headache has mostly gone), but I just want to go to bed (my flat is freezing – I’ve got my dressing gown on over my clothes (several layers) and I’m thinking of boiling some water on the hob just to warm the flat up!) or, failing that, watch Doctor Who, which is probably a better idea given what happened yesterday when I went to bed early (i.e. insomnia later).