It has been, mostly a good week, what seems like the first for a long time when I got through work without making any major mistakes, being told to do things differently/better or having a major embarrassing situation with students (or teachers).  Mornings are still hard in terms of depression (low mood and extreme lethargy plus oversleeping), but I actually enjoyed work a bit the last few days, which made me wonder again about where I want my career to go.  I get terribly anxious about interactions with students, but when I do know how to help them there is a genuine feeling of satisfaction.  I guess this isn’t something I can decide overnight, although finding out if my contract is to be renewed might help.

I do still worry about shaking though.  I haven’t shaken at work for a week or two, but when dealing with students or teachers I feel tense and worry that I’m about to shake.  I try to ignore it, because I know that worrying about it is likely to provoke it (it is basically a type of panic attack and they are worse the more conscious you are of them and feel you need to stop them) and so far that has been OK, but it is at the back of my mind as a worry.

Speaking of questions, I’m just back from my shiur, where I answered a difficult question right, but got an easier one wrong.  The latter felt like a punishment from God, as when I answered the question correctly, the assistant rabbi made a joke about me being the star player on the team and I felt a bit of pride, so making an embarrassing mistake later seemed like God punishing me for the tiniest sin.  In Judaism there is a concept that the tzaddikim (saints) are punished for the tiniest imperfection, but I don’t think I’m on that level, so the whole things was a bit disheartening especially after my feeling earlier this week that maybe my feeling of sinfulness and being hated and punished by God has more to do with me than with God (I have written a post on this but not posted it yet because I was concerned about some aspects of it and wanted to check with my rabbi mentor that it was OK to post).  My social anxiety CBT book (which I have neglected through exhaustion, lack of time and focus on depression) says it is good to let oneself make mistakes or even deliberately make them to learn to cope with embarrassment.  Hmm.  I should say that even when I am wrong, I am actually right.  The question I got wrong was “Who is the friend of God?”  The answer that the assistant rabbi was looking for was Yitro (Jethro) who is also known as Reuel, which means ‘Friend of God’ (as he had just said).  I said Avraham (Abraham).  When I got home, I looked it up and, sure enough, as I thought, Yishayahu (Isaiah) 40.8 describes Avraham as “My friend” (different etymological root, though, and some Bibles translate as “Avraham who loved Me”).  It’s nice to know I wasn’t completely crazy though and I was remembering a genuine pasuk (verse).  It stuck in my mind as whenever I see the verse, I always think that that would be an amazing thing, if God calls you (me) His friend.  Part of me wants to text the assistant rabbi this to save face, but part of me thinks I should accept this as an anxiety-fighting CBT experience and that it would be petty and arrogant to tell him.

I still don’t know what to do about dating.  I might use Shabbat to talk to my parents about it.  I’m tempted to try to see the rabbi over the half-term break in a fortnight and see what he suggests.  Also to email some of the shadchanim (matchmakers) who deal with people with health issues to see if any of them do deal with people in Europe.  Otherwise maybe to try a UK-based ordinary shadchan and be honest about my issues and needs and see what they suggest.  Although part of me feels I’m not ready to date, I never will be ready to date and I shouldn’t even think about it considering how depressed and non-functional I was just a few days ago.

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