I wasn’t planning on writing, certainly not at midnight (1am now – writing this took a while and then I got distracted reading hilarious-but-terrifying New Yorker articles about the most powerful man in the world and his enormous ego) but I feel depressed and want to try to get my thoughts out of my head.
Shabbat (the Sabbath) was hard again. I struggled in shul (synagogue) on Friday night, feeling quite depressed and socially anxious and not really concentrating on the prayers. I managed to avoid going to bed when I got home, which I’ve done for the last few weeks (this would be around 5pm), but I still went to bed right after dinner, about 8.30pm. I told myself I wanted to think about things, but really I wanted to wallow in the depression and sleep. I did both. I woke up about an hour later, feeling bad about what I had done. I did my hitbodedut (speaking to God). I can’t remember what I said, but I know I spent a lot of the time crying. I think it was loneliness and feelings of inadequacy and wanting to know that God loves me. I went to bed late because of this. Hitbodedut on Friday nights can be like this. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in more of a spiritual mode or something else, but I get much more emotional and often more depressed, but also sometimes I feel some connection with HaShem (God) which I don’t normally feel. During the week my it’s a struggle to get my hitbodedut to last the ten minutes I try to do and I’m often tired and feel like I’m talking to myself, whereas on Fridays I can speak for thirty or forty minutes and I don’t usually feel tired whatever time it is and sometimes there’s a bit of a connection. I don’t quite know what to make of this.
Nor do I know what to make of the dreams I had last night. I don’t normally remember my dreams, but every so often I go through phases of remembering bits and pieces of them. I know I had odd dreams last night with religious undertones, or maybe even overtones – I don’t remember enough detail. I woke up with a phrase in my head that I thought was a great chiddush (novel interpretation of a religious text) and its arrival in my head might just be a sign that God was communicating His love to me. Still, I was sceptical, as I always am of things like that, and as the day wore on, the supposed chiddush seemed less and less coherent or justifiable. Eventually I dismissed it as an irrational thought from my subconscious, perhaps trying to make myself feel better, rather than anything more supernatural.
I missed shul in the morning again. I woke up on time, but I felt too bad to get out of bad. I say “bad” because it’s hard for me to tell if I’m avoiding it because of exhaustion, depression or social anxiety. I know I’m going to have to face shul again sooner or later, but I can’t find the inner strength to do so.
Another thing I don’t understand is my reaction to films. I wrote in a previous post that this might be sensory overload in the cinema, but this evening I was watching a film on TV with my parents and felt depressed when it finished without being sure why, or even being sure of what exactly I was feeling, except knowing that it did not feel good. Other potential reasons why the film might have upset me today was that I didn’t like it very much (it made a mess of one of my absolute favourite novels, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré; read the book or watch the TV adaptation with Alec Guinness as George Smiley, very faithful to the novel and beautifully acted, unlike the film) and that I abandoned my semi-diet and had an ice cream because I was so disappointed by the film; I’ve mentioned before that I worry that eating too much sugary food can trigger a dip in my mood as my blood sugar level goes up and down and I suppose that could have happened here, although it would have had to have happened very fast.
So it’s gone 1.00am and I’m left feeling a bit tired, but not really sleepy, if that makes sense, a bit lonely and depressed and very hungry (why?! I’ve done nothing but eat or sleep all day!), but not sure what to do about it. I don’t know why films and theatre seem to make me depressed in way that books and TV don’t or if sugar really does affect my mood so much. I wish I wasn’t single and alone at the moment. I don’t really want to talk and certainly not to do anything physical, just to have someone I feel comfortable being around and being quiet with, if that makes sense. Someone who can just accept me. But I know that that won’t happen until I can accept myself. The problem is that I don’t know how to do that. I went on a self-esteem course years ago and while it did give me hints about how to say “No” and deal with recalcitrant students at work, the CBT-style hints about self-esteem (say positive affirmations about yourself, congratulate yourself on even trivial achievements) have never really helped me. My self-loathing seems to be too deeply-rooted for anything to shift it. Nor has years of psychotherapy helped me, leading me to fear a solitary and self-loathing existence for the rest of my life.