It was interesting that yesterday, in listing my former ambitions, I forgot to list ‘become a tzaddik (saintly person)’ because for a long time this was my only real ambition. Somehow merely being religious seemed inadequate; I had to be superlatively saintly or I had failed. I wanted to completely fulfil my potential; maybe I wanted to do more than was actually feasible for me, given my issues. Realising that I was never going to be a tzaddik was probably one of the factors that precipitated my current crisis, which is largely based around feeling religiously inadequate and useless and hated by God. I find it hard to understand what I can realistically hope to achieve with my life. We are taught to want to be like the Avot (the Patriarchs) or Moshe (Moses), even though we acknowledge that we won’t manage that, the most we can manage is to meet 100% of our potential just as they met 100% of their much greater potential. But I don’t know how to interpret this in the complexity of my life, where sometimes I don’t feel I can do anything at all and other times my sins make me seem so loathsome that I can’t bear myself, let alone imagine what HaShem (God) thinks of me.
I felt similarly incompetent at work today. My boss told me that I was cataloguing too slowly, which I knew already and was trying to compensate for, but obviously was not doing well enough. I am still having difficulties being on the library issue desk too. I am seeing the college occupational health team tomorrow to discuss my issues, but I don’t know what I can say. I don’t want to say that I think I simply can’t do the job and should never have been hired, even though it’s what I feel (in the last few days I keep fantasising of resigning, because I’m afraid if I don’t I will be fired). I feel that I am generally incompetent beyond the depression. If I had to pick out specific things then while the slowness is partly depression, it’s also partly my personality. The key problems I have on the issue desk are social anxiety and Asperger’s Syndrome/autistic spectrum disorder as much as anything else and I don’t have a diagnosis of either of those and so feel unable to ask for help; in fact, I have two diagnoses of being allistic (not being on the autistic spectrum) despite the persistence of the belief that I am on the spectrum (both my belief and that of my former psychiatrist and my current therapist).
The other thing I have been beating myself up for today is my sexuality (again). I’ve got stuck in one of those ruts where finding anyone vaguely attractive makes me beat my self up for being a misogynist and religiously sinful. I’ve been told it’s normal (finding people attractive, not beating oneself up about it), but I find it hard to believe that everyone feels like this to the same extent and frequency as I do (it’s a complete myth that men think of sex every seven seconds!). Sometimes it feels like God was making a bad joke when he made me heterosexual rather than asexual. It’s just a waste of time, energy and brainpower for me. Although maybe the problem is that I’m not heterosexual enough. If I had more testosterone, maybe I would be more forceful at work and more attractive to women (I couldn’t be any less attractive to women).
Sometimes I wish I could to a wise man or a rabbi or someone and ask for advice about where my life is going and whether I’m a good person. I did try to have that conversation with my rabbi mentor on Sunday, but he was resistant to directly answering my question about how frum (religious) I am, which I guess is his training as a counsellor. I don’t believe in the Charedi version of da’at Torah (the semi-supernatural ability of rabbis to answer even non-religious questions with spiritual insight), but sometimes I just wish someone with great authority could convince me that I am a good person, because I don’t believe it at all. Likewise that someone could guide me to my life’s mission, because I feel so distant from it. I don’t know what I should be doing with my life, nor what I could be doing with it, except that I increasingly feel that I simply can’t cope with the pressure of the world of work. But if that is the case, then where can I go and what can I do?