“Questions are a burden to others, answers a prison for oneself.” – The Prisoner (various episodes)

I haven’t posted here for a couple of days.  I actually drafted something yesterday, but I’m not sure yet whether to post it.   Not a lot has happened.  I’m not as depressed as I was last week, but mornings are still very difficult in terms of the depression and I still struggle with anxiety at work, particularly social anxiety in interactions with students and anxiety about how well I am doing my job.  I also still feel lonely at times and anything about love, marriage, sex or children can set me off.  Today I was weeding a section of the library that had books on health for children and adolescents.  The photos of babies made me feel vaguely broody, although not as much as in the past; the books for teenagers on navigating sex and relationships, while stressing the need to avoid feeling that one “must” have sex because “everyone else is doing it” just paradoxically reinforced my feeling of having permanently missed the boat when it comes to sex, relationships and marriage, but, again, not quite as much as in the past.

I feel vaguely stable today, but that brings a load of other questions to the fore, now that I can think a bit rather than just emote:

  1. What should I do about dating?  Should I take up my rabbi’s offer of advice?  Should I email the US-based health-specialist shadchanim (matchmakers) to see if they know people in Europe or contact UK-based ‘normal’ shadchanim to see if they can help someone with mental health issues?  Should I even summon up the courage for trans-Atlantic dating?  Or am I just too mentally ill to date?
  2. Should I try to get my medication changed again as one friend suggested?  I have been on so many drugs and combinations of drugs over the last fifteen years and I have had two psychiatrists basically say that medication will, at best, keep me from the worst of the depression, rather than “cure” me.  Should I risk things getting worse from coming off my current drugs in the hope new ones will help?  And do I want new ones, given the ones I haven’t tried have side-effects, dietary restrictions or suicide risks?  And what happens six months down the line when those tablets stop working, as all the previous ones have done?
  3. Is there a way to shut off the frequent (not quite continual) depressive/anxious/autistic monologues in my head?  Because they really annoy me.
  4. Should I contemplate changing, not just my job, but also my career if my contract is not renewed in April?  Do I enjoy my job?  Do I know what type of job I would enjoy?
  5. Actually, do I even know what I might enjoy in terms of career or relationships or even hobbies?  Do I even know what enjoyment is?  When did I last enjoy something, really enjoy it?  Pre-depression?  When was that?  Nineteen years old, sixteen, thirteen?  Primary school?  How would I recognise enjoyment if I experienced it?
  6. Speaking of hobbies, a friend of my parents’ complimented me on the photos I took at my sister’s wedding, which reminds me that I’ve often felt that I could have had photography as a hobby, but always let other things interfere, both other hobbies and my confusion and fear of the technical side of photography, the whole light-levels-and-shutter-speed side of things, as well as my feeling that I never see anything worth photographing.  To be honest, I probably have a fear of doing anything new, which probably feeds in to most of these questions.
  7. Looking at other hobbies, am I ever going to do anything with my writing?  Is the book I’m writing going to be publishable?  And what of the ideas for further Doctor Who books I’ve been kicking around – are they worth pursuing and how?

Questions, questions.  No answers, though.

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5 thoughts on “Questions, Questions

  1. For some reason inter-country dating seems to be an accepted thing in the Orthodox Jewish world. Maybe because there are so few Orthodox Jews and most of them live in Israel or America, so if you live somewhere else dating people abroad is an easy way to increase your dating pool substantially, otherwise you have a teeny tiny one (as I do in the UK). I guess it’s feasible now we have Skype and other video conferencing software.

    Orthodox dating is very marriage-centred anyway. It’s very much assessing if someone is a suitable life partner and mother/father of your children rather than just having a good time. In the ultra-Orthodox world people will decide in just ten or so dates whether someone is ‘the one’. I don’t think I could cope with that, though. I dated someone for eight months and was fairly sure she was The One and then it all went wrong, so I wouldn’t want to get engaged after eight dates. So I’m not sure that dating an American is a sensible idea.

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  2. “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” From ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ by Rainer Maria Rilke.

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  3. I don’t like mysteries! I don’t like locked rooms and books I can’t read! I’m not really sure how I can live questions about career and dating without trying to find the answers…

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