(The title is another Doctor Who quote, from The Power of the Daleks by David Whitaker.)
I spoke to my rabbi mentor this morning. It was a fairly brief call, as he was on the way to a meeting, but I spoke a bit about dating and my struggle with motivation to daven (pray) and study Torah, although I wish we had had more time to talk about my feeling hated by HaShem (God). He felt very strongly that I should look into dating again. He felt that one should hold back from dating if one has an immediate crisis that severely impedes functioning, whereas my issues are long-term and I have a reasonable degree of functionality (admittedly this feels the case more during term time and on work days than during holiday time and weekends, as at the moment).
He also felt that there was no ethical obligation or practical need to tell the shadchan (matchmaker) about the possible Asperger’s as I have not been diagnosed (have in fact been assessed and told I don’t have it) and there seemed to be little to gain from mentioning it and that labels are not always helpful. Although this does make me wonder again about where I fit in on the spectrum and if I am a fraud for writing about it here as if I am somewhere on the spectrum. ‘Asperger’s’ or ‘autism’ is a useful shorthand for various traits that are otherwise difficult to label, or that don’t seem (to others) as difficult to deal with as they actually feel to me. For what it’s worth, the most used labels on the public part of my blog are: depression (148 uses), anxiety (110 uses), Judaism (74), dating (70), loneliness (67) and then Asperger’s in sixth place (54 uses). Asperger’s narrowly comes in ahead of OCD and family (52 uses each) and work (50). I guess that gives a snapshot of what I write about and about what’s going in my head at the moment.
I do regret that I didn’t get to speak to my rabbi mentor more about feeling that HaShem hates me. He seemed to feel it was connected with a lack of structure at when off work and a lack of simcha shel mitzvah (joy in the commandments) from the depression, whereas I worry that it’s something deeper than that. I don’t think I’m losing my faith in God or Judaism – I still believe very strongly (more than at some times in the past) and Shabbat and kashrut are no problem for me (kashrut is actually much easier than a year ago, when the kashrut OCD was bad). If anything, I’ve lost my faith in myself. I don’t know how someone, even God, could love me, given the things I have done/still do. This would obviously have an impact on dating. I’ve been told I need to love myself before anyone else could love me, but I don’t know how I can love myself when I hate myself so much and when I’ve experienced so much rejection. It’s hard to believe that everyone who hated, bullied or rejected me was wrong. It seems like a catch-22 situation: I can’t be loved without loving myself, but I can’t love myself without being loved. I know other people who had low self-esteem who felt better after finding their partner, but I doubt that anything that good could ever happen to me.
I did some shopping this afternoon, but once I got home, around sunset, I felt burnt out, whether from being out shopping or from the darkness. The long nights at this time of year do get to me. I spent too long online reading upsetting stuff about racism and trying to distract myself by looking at reviews of yesterday’s Doctor Who only to discover most people liked it (I didn’t) except for the few who hate Steven Moffat’s whole time as showrunner (I don’t), so I was stuck in-between. I tried to do some Torah study, but I just felt burnt out and aware that I needed what little energy I have for cooking dinner. I was noshing fruit, trying not to feel like I wanted to eat carbohydrates or sugar. I have deliberately made sure there is no junk food in the flat (except three small dark chocolate coins), as I’ve put on weight since being prescribed clomipramine, although as my weight seems to have stabilised despite the extra eating of the last few weeks (wedding, Chanukah) that might be just pointlessly denying myself one of the few things I can still enjoy (food) for no good reason. Which wouldn’t be out of character for me.
The long winter nights increase my depressive desire to hibernate: eat lots of carbohydrates and sleep for hours on end. Or maybe it’s just feeling, from my reading and speaking to people today, that maybe I’m not on the spectrum, in which case I find it hard to understand myself, let alone forgive myself. I feel that if I have a disorder then it’s OK for me to be socially anxious and awkward and avoid big gatherings, but if not, then I’m just shy and a freak and running away from things that scare me. I should ‘man up’ (to use a horrible phrase) and force myself to do things I don’t want to do, like socialise e.g. going to the Friday night dinner at shul (synagogue) that I still haven’t signed up for.
I did eventually manage about half an hour of Torah study, the most I have done since Friday. I actually got through a difficult chapter from the end of Yechezkel/Ezekiel, the really difficult bit with the measurements of the Temple and all the architectural words, in Hebrew. Admittedly I cheated. Normally I would go over each verse until I could understand it properly in Hebrew before going on to the next one; here I worked phrase by phrase instead and didn’t push myself too hard to remember all the difficult words (bear in mind that even the Jewish Publication Society Bible struggles with this bit, lots of terms whose precise meaning is lost). I also cooked vegetable curry for dinner too, which I haven’t done for a while.
I feel I should be revising my dating profile for the shadchan/dating site I now feel I ought to be using, but I just feel too depressed and exhausted to care, even to care about feeling lonely and unloved forever. I have mixed feelings about I want to dating right now, even though my parents, friends and rabbi mentor have all suggested that dating might give me something other than work and my mental health issues to focus on, which I desperately need at the moment. Well, that’s not quite true. I would like to date, I just don’t feel able to do so. I guess I want to have a significant other, but I’m scared that I’m too messed up for anyone to want to be with me. Because looking at my dating history so far, it’s not encouraging.
I just used the word “feel” or “feeling” six times in one paragraph, modified by “depressed”, “exhausted”, “lonely and unloved” and not able. For someone who professes to focus on the intellectual over the emotional (because the emotional confuses and frightens me, with or without alexithymia and Asperger’s), I’m driven a lot by emotion right now, and difficult, scary emotions at that.