I don’t really have anything to say today, but I need to say something to someone and my parents are currently not around, so I blog instead.
I was very depressed on waking again. I was going to enjoy being able to sleep a little later on a work day. I was starting at 10.00am rather than 9.00am, but working on another campus so the commute was even longer than usual, but I should have been able to get up a little later, but I had missed one of my many alarms when resetting them last night, so I still got woken up at 6.05 (how it woke me today when I normally sleep through it is beyond me).
I was too depressed to do more than a cursory bit of Torah study on the train. I had hoped that studying Mishnah would be easier than Gemarah, but it isn’t. The Artscroll commentary doesn’t help, as rather than just explain the simple meaning of the text, it brings in every possible interpretation from the Gemarah and the Medieval and modern commentators, so that rather than understanding the Mishnah more, I understand it less, which surely can’t be right. I read through literally pages of this stuff (admittedly not many pages) on the train every work day and understand almost nothing whatsoever of what I read. I wonder if it’s a waste of time, but I feel I should be doing some kind of Torah study other than just the weekly sedra (without commentary) and that it ought to be something related to the Oral Torah, rather than just reading Jewish philosophy or Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) as I used to do. Admittedly this is partly from feelings of guilt and inadequacy over never having gone to yeshiva and partly because I feel that a prospective frum wife is going to want a husband who knows at least some Gemarah. Studying Mishnah seemed like a start (after attempts at going to Talmud shiurim (classes) that have never lasted longer than a year, due to factors out of my control), but it hasn’t worked. I don’t know what else to do, and the Artscroll commentary is at least handily pocket-sized. Sadly, Artscroll has cornered the market in Mishnayot; the more succinct Kehati is out of print, although I have the volume on Brachot (from one of my ex-dates, funnily enough. One of the ones I still talk to).
I took the time on the train saved by not studying to finish something I started yesterday, doing a SWOT analysis of myself (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) as well as comparing the pros and cons of working as a college librarian with working as a research librarian/researcher and writing a list of my current anxieties. None of these lists told me anything I didn’t already know, though, which made me doubt the point of the exercise or if I was doing it right. I tend not to be good at these kind of things. By “these kind of things” I meant ‘blue sky thinking-type planning’, but I’m not particularly good at ‘self-awareness’ either.
Work was OK, a lot of dull scanning of books and then a lot of unexpected cataloguing with the usual fears of going too slowly and not doing enough balanced by fears of going too fast and making mistakes. I have no idea if I’ve achieved the right sort of balance. There was some strange confusion at one point about where the keys to the room we were working in were when I was the only person back from lunch that I don’t understand well enough to relate and it’s probably not very interesting either. I don’t know why these things happen to me, though: do I attract strange incidents or do I simply fail to understand normal events in the world around me (Asperger’s/high functioning autism?)? My boss and I left at 4.30pm, but two of my colleagues stayed on. This led to further anxiety, which was probably bordering on ‘pure O’ (obsession) OCD, on the way home, as I worried that I should have told them where I left the keys, although they were in plain sight on the desk.
Someone was playing music while we were working because most of the team were doing menial work while I was cataloguing. Unfortunately, I can’t work with the radio on (Asperger’s again?), but I felt it was wrong to impose my views on everyone else, so I put up with it. There were a lot of mushy Valentine’s dedications. Up until that point I had somehow managed to remain largely in ignorance of Valentine’s Day this year, so it took me a bit by surprise. I was cheered up a bit later when my non-biological sisters (friends who are like sisters) texted me with emoji flowers and teddy bears, which is the first time in thirty-four years that anyone has ever done anything for me on Valentine’s Day (although one year when I was at school I overheard a couple of girls planning to send me an anonymous card as a hilarious prank, but they didn’t do it). I doubt I would do anything for Valentine’s Day even if I was in a relationship (it’s not very Jewish), but having every couple in the world advertise how blissfully happy they are to be in love (yeah, right) doesn’t do much for me right now.
Mind you, the radio news bulletins, which were full of children being murdered by their families, did not exactly cheer me up either. To be honest, the news generally is depressing, either terrible things happening or the mundane lives of “celebrities” that I am supposed to care about.
Back to dating: my rabbi offered to talk to me about dating a few weeks ago and I still haven’t got back to him (this was after I asked if he knew a shadchan (matchmaker) who works with people with mental health issues; he didn’t just decide to offer me advice on my private life). To be honest, I’m not really sure what to say to him and have been procrastinating over it for some days now. I’m not really sure what advice my rabbi can give me that would possibly apply in my unique situation. On the other hand, I don’t want to be rude and I do want it to be known in the community that I’m looking to date as there’s an outside chance that someone will know someone right for me. And there is still a lot I don’t know about dating in the frum (religious) community, which I have only really just started doing.
I feel despondent. I’ve emailed ten shadchanim in the last couple of weeks. Some didn’t respond or said they couldn’t help because they don’t deal with people with mental health issues or because they only work with people in the USA. Two asked for my shidduch profile (dating profile), but didn’t respond after I sent it, all of which just reinforces my feeling that, between my mental health issues and my geeky interests, I’m just too weird for anyone to date. I’m open to the idea that there are frum geeky women out there who could tolerate someone with mental health issues, but I don’t know how to meet them as they are surely being marginalised as much as I am. I also feel lately that I’ve sunk deeply back into depression and anxiety and I shouldn’t even be thinking about dating, although my parents are still hopeful that finding the “right woman” will help me, if not recover, then at least feel a bit better and my rabbi mentor (not the shul rabbi mentioned above) seemed to think it was worth trying. To be fair, do tend to feel better while dating, at least up until the point when I get told that my inamorata can’t cope with my depression/social anxiety/geekiness/etc.
I sank back into semi-suicidal thoughts on the way home. I don’t particularly feel like killing myself, although this morning I was feeling bad enough to wonder if I should leave most of my meds at my parents’ house, a precaution I take when I feel very despairing. I might do that soon, even though it will take a huge chunk out of my day to walk there and back and probably again on Sunday. I don’t want to kill myself, I would rather find a way to be, if not happy, then at least content with my life, but I worry that I will sooner or later. The main things stopping me are worries about my parents and fear of pain and of making a failed suicide attempt that leaves me in pain, but alive. When I feel bad, it doesn’t usually occur to me that suicide is forbidden in Judaism. I suppose I feel that I don’t have any share in Olam HaBa (the Next World) anyway and that things can’t get any worse, or perhaps I simply can’t think that abstractly when so depressed. I worry that all it would take is one bad day or moment of weakness and I would just give up.
I don’t know how to deal with this long-term, as all the coping measures I have been told about are short-term (distract myself; stay alive for five minute increments; keep my meds elsewhere (although I can’t keep them all elsewhere, nor can I get rid of my kitchen knives); phone the Samaritans; go to my doctor, phone the NHS mental health crisis team or go to A&E (ha ha ha, anyone who has been suicidal in the UK can tell you how useless the NHS is at dealing with suicidal people. Last time I phoned the crisis team, I was told that unless I was literally about to kill myself that very minute, they couldn’t do anything for me, no matter that I had been thinking of killing myself a few hours before and was worried I might do it again). Other than that it’s just a case of sticking with therapy and medication, neither of which seems to do more in the long-term than maintain a level of barely tolerable despair, with occasional better periods lasting no more than six months. I do at least have an appointment with my doctor for Friday week to talk about increasing the dosage of my clomipramine, although I expect that would make my weight gain even worse, which in turn just lowers my self-esteem.
For someone who didn’t have anything to write about, I seem to have written a lot, although I can’t imagine that any of it interests anyone. It all seems fairly mundane, although I suppose I’m in a bad state when serious suicidal fears seem mundane. I guess I should go and have dinner.