That was an awful Shabbos (Yiddish pronounciation of the Hebrew Shabbat, the Sabbath. I tend to flip between the two in real life, although I generally use the Hebrew here). I have a stack of washing up to attend to and I need to walk round to my parents’ house soon (more on that below), but I need to get this out of my system first.
I did manage to get to my parents’ house yesterday and left most of my meds there because I didn’t feel safe having them in the flat over Shabbos. This was probably a good thing. While I was there, I spent some time reorganising the bookshelves in my room there, which got mixed up when the room was decorated recently, although there is still a lot more to do there. Then I did some grocery shopping and headed home.
I don’t know if I got my timings wrong or if I was just feeling depressed and tired when I got back to the flat and everything took longer than I expected, but I was running late for shul (synagogue), so late, in fact, that had I left when I was ready, I would have arrived too late for Mincha (the afternoon service), so I davened (prayed) that at home and then set out. On the way, I kept stopping and feeling awful, a wicked person and a hypocrite for pretending to religious when I’m a terrible sinner. The later it got, the more self-conscious I became of walking in late, everyone seeing me coming in late and thinking badly of me or, worse (in my mind), coming up to me and checking that I was OK and my either having to lie and say I was fine or admit to the depression in more detail than I felt entirely comfortable doing. Eventually I got so overwhelmed by social anxiety that I turned back home.
I kept thinking about a particular Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) religious leader (I won’t give him the honorific ‘rabbi’) who was accused of sexual assault, rape and statutory rape; there was also an audio recording where he seemed to conspire to murder the husband of one of his victims. He went to jail (although I don’t think he was convicted on all counts because of a plea bargain, but he confessed to some of them), but he got released on compassionate grounds as he’s dying of cancer. He told his followers that he was innocent and had taken on suffering to avoid suffering happening to the Jewish people. A lot of them seem to believe him. I kept thinking about him, how bad he is, and how I’m really the same, even though I haven’t raped anyone, because I’m a religious hypocrite like him, I’ve convinced people I’m religious when really I’m not. I just felt disgusting, like I was full of black slime inside. When I got home I just went to bed for an hour, because I couldn’t face davening Ma’ariv (saying the evening prayers).
Eventually I got up and davened, made kiddush and motzei and had dinner. I read a little bit and did a tiny bit of Torah study (about ten minutes), but mostly I was caught up in my thoughts (and eating junk food). As well as the guilt, there was a really powerful loneliness and longing to have someone to care about and who would care about me. I have experienced this feeling as a crush on a specific person before, but this was just a free-floating feeling of loneliness and wanting someone to be here with me. The self-hatred would subside a little after I ate something and my blood sugar level rose, but it was still there along with the loneliness. Eventually I calmed down a bit and read in bed until about 1.00am and then went to sleep.
I was woken at about 6.15am by my phone ringing and then by a text. I couldn’t use the phone because of Shabbos, but I was immediately worried that something had happened to my parents who are away (after Shabbos I would check my texts and see it was my parents’ neighbouring phoning to say their burglar alarm had gone off). Despite my anxiety, I fell asleep again and didn’t wake up again until something like 1.30pm. It took another hour to get the energy just to get up and eat some cereal, but even that didn’t really help me and I went back to bed for another hour. I did eventually manage to get up, get dressed daven a tiny bit of Mussaf (the additional Shabbat service) and have some lunch, but I went back to bed afterwards, fell asleep again and missed Mincha (the afternoon service) entirely. I opened my eyes and I had missed Mincha; I shut them and opened them again and Shabbos was completely over. I decided that if I didn’t make havdalah yet, I could have seudah shlishit (the third Shabbat meal) and so ate some limp matzah with jam; I have no idea if this was the right thing to do. I davened Ma’ariv (said the evening service) and made havdalah.
My feelings of inadequacy and guilt persisted all day. Today the feelings from yesterday were joined by a further feeling: that the religious leader I was thinking about told his followers that he was suffering to save the Jewish people and that sometimes I console myself by hoping that my suffering takes away somewhat from the suffering of the Jewish people. This felt like I was completely on his level of arrogance and evil.
Writing them down here, my thoughts seem insignificant and silly, but they were incredibly powerful, overwhelming, and true-seeming. I wish I could have been able to record them yesterday, so people can see how I felt. I can’t begin to put in to words now how lonely I felt and how absolutely evil I felt myself to be; even to me, still feeling somewhat wicked and lonely, the thoughts of yesterday seem unbelievable. The feelings were so overpowering that I couldn’t make it to shul for Ma’ariv, even though it’s the one time of the week when I always go to shul. I spent the whole evening wrapped up in my self-loathing thoughts, unable to break out of them, being totally at their mercy.
Anyway, now Shabbat is over, I have to put aside these thoughts and engage in activities. I need to go over to my parents’ house and check it’s OK, although it’s far too late to do anything if anyone did break in. (My sister is out, so she can’t go. She’s at the hen party for a friend of hers, the first person I ever dated. I’m not carrying a torch for the friend or anything, but it does make me feel that everyone gets married except me.) I also need to pick up a heater, as the heater in my flat burnt out this afternoon. I guess it was on too much, even though I put it on a timeswitch so it wouldn’t be on the whole time. It might just be that the fuse has gone, but I don’t have any spare fuses in the flat and I don’t know where my parents keep theirs. I can’t stay here without a heater, though – even just a couple of hours since it went off, it’s already far too cold for comfort. I might also collect my meds for the rest of the week, so I don’t have to go back to my parents’ house as I intended tomorrow, given that the chores I intended to do tonight will now have to be done tomorrow. I also have a huge pile of washing up to attend to before I go. I guess this will at least distract me from feelings of guilt and self-hatred.