Shabbat was reasonably good, although I chickened out of shaking the rabbis’ hands again at shul (synagogue) for spurious social anxiety-related reasons.  My parents talked me into contacting the American shadchanim (matchmakers) who specialise in people with health issues to see if any of them deal with people who are (a) ‘modern’, (b) mentally (as opposed to physically) ill and (c) in the UK, or at least in Europe.  I’m still sceptical, though, but will try to send some emails tomorrow.  Also to email the rabbi of my shul who offered to talk to me about dating.

I also had the idea of doing a SWOT analysis of myself.  SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities, Threats) analysis is a type of business planning that I learnt about on the library management part of my MA.  I thought I would analyse what I’m good at and what I enjoy to try to get an idea of where I should be going with my life and especially with my career.  It’s possible that there are some things that I think I can’t do or needs that I think can’t be met that I’m trying to meet in the wrong way or in the wrong area of my life, although I’m unsure about what these things might be.  I’m also increasingly clear about wanting to write more on Doctor Who, for my blog initially, but with an aim of getting published and paid for it.  Work is going quite well on my Doctor Who book, but unfortunately I now have to watch a load of awful episodes for a bit for research.  Aside from the book I’m working on, I’ve had an idea for a second book for some time now and I’m kicking around ideas for a third.

I also want to write a list of everything I feel anxious about right now, as anxiety has been more of an issue than depression this week and I think it would be worth looking at which anxieties I can potentially do something about and which I just need to push away until later (e.g. Pesach anxiety) and which I can’t do anything about at all and are simply not worth thinking about (e.g. not having my contract renewed).

I went to bed late last night, thinking about things and finishing reading The Prime Ministers.  I overslept again today, which was probably inevitable, but I slept for eleven hours or so last night, followed by another hour and three-quarters this afternoon, so I’m worried about whether I’ll sleep tonight.  Sleeping this afternoon meant I haven’t done any Torah study yet, but walking back from my parents’ house in the dark, wet and cold has left me tired and somewhat depressed and I had a slight headache that has only just gone (and not entirely gone).  So I probably won’t do much Torah study today.  I feel bad about this, but I also feel that I need to be/am slowly becoming more aware of my limits and not to push past them out of workaholism, religious perfectionism, low self-esteem or comparing myself to other people (particularly not healthy people, but even mentally ill people because everyone is different).

My non-biological sisters (older friends who have ‘adopted’ me as their younger brother) sent me what they think my enneagram personality type is.  I’m not particularly interested in personality testing and the enneagram seems rather New Agey and unscientific for me, but I found it frustrating that of the nine personality types, the one they ascribed to me (probably correctly), “The Individualist, The Sensitive Introspective Type” was the only one that read like a criticism to me.  I don’t know if that is my paranoia, finding the bad everywhere, or if I dislike myself so much that I read everything as criticism of me or if I really am a disturbed person.

Individualism is good, something I’ve always striven for without, I feel, ever really achieving it.  Introspective is true and neutral.  However, “Sensitive” has always felt like a criticism to me, even though it probably isn’t (“Luftmentsch is a sensitive child” is something I heard more than once growing up, and it always seemed like a criticism) and as for the more detailed description of “Withdrawn, Expressive, Dramatic, Self-absorbed, and Temperamental”… Well, I spend most of my non-work hours alone in my room, so withdrawn is true.  And anyone who has seen my drama queening posts here or on knows I’m dramatic online (although not in person, at least not when other people are around – I suppose self-harming counts as dramatic, though) and I write a blog where I talk endlessly about myself, so I’m self-absorbed.  I don’t think I’m temperamental though as my mood is low fairly constantly…  But it’s all so negative!  I guess “Expressive” is positive at least.

At any rate, this bit, from the longer description (which I only skimmed, because I was feeling too depressed) is true: “The “romantics” of the Enneagram, they long for someone to come into their lives and appreciate the secret self that they have privately nurtured and hidden from the world. If, over time, such validation remains out of reach, Fours begin to build their identity around how unlike everyone else they are. ”  [Emphasis in original.]  I guess that’s why I blog, and why I guard my uniqueness.  I complain that I don’t fit in with other frum (religious) Jews because of my geekyness or with other geeks, because of my religion, but I don’t do much to try to fit in and I have twice picked a job that would automatically isolate me from people like me and put me with very different people, so on some level I must get something out of always being the token Jew/token Orthodox Jew/token geek.

“As long as they believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, they cannot allow themselves to experience or enjoy their many good qualities. To acknowledge their good qualities would be to lose their sense of identity (as a suffering victim) and to be without a relatively consistent personal identity (their Basic Fear). Fours grow by learning to see that much of their story is not true—or at least it is not true any more. The old feelings begin to fall away once they stop telling themselves their old tale: it is irrelevant to who they are right now.”  I have said this to myself before, but it’s hard to change how I see myself (as fundamentally unlikable) when that feeling keeps being reinforced by events.  It’s hard to feel that I’m likeable when no one seems to like me very much and it’s hard to feel ‘normal’ when everyone else is so different to me.

Oh, and this warning about unhealthy Individualists is true (except for the bit about drugs and alcohol, although I probably have other, not much healthier, escape routes): “Despairing, feel hopeless and become self-destructive, possibly abusing alcohol or drugs to escape. In the extreme: emotional breakdown or suicide is likely. Generally corresponds to the Avoidant, Depressive, and Narcissistic personality disorders.”  It also says “Instead of spending time imagining your life and relationships, begin to live them” which is also true but I don’t have a flipping clue how to stop living in my head when I struggle at work, have few social outlets and where pretty much all my friends are reachable only via email most of the time.  There isn’t really anything good in my life other than fantasy of one kind or another right now.

Well, I guess I ought to have something to eat rather than just sitting here all evening…

2 thoughts on “Individualism (Enneagram)

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