The last couple of days have been fairly good. My therapist is supportive of the idea of focusing on the social anxiety for a while. She even suggested that I might want to take time out from our psychodynamic therapy to go back to CBT, as I did when I wanted to try CBT for my religious OCD. There are practical problems against that, though, both financial and in terms of being able to get an appointment on a Friday, the only weekday I don’t work. For the moment I’m not going down that route and we spoke about trying to open up to people more, but I struggled to do that over Shabbat (the Sabbath). I psyched myself up to talk be more open about my issues and say that I’ve been struggling with them this week to the two people I sit with at shul (synagogue), who are the closest people I have to friends there, but I didn’t get a chance to speak to them and when the assistant rabbi asked how I was, I panicked and said everything was fine, partly because I was taken by surprise, partly because there were other people nearby, partly because I hadn’t prepared myself for that interaction. I did manage to be a bit more open with my uncle, who was staying with us for Shabbat, but I’m not sure how much of a big achievement that was in retrospect. He did say I was on form with my humour at dinner on Friday, though, which was nice.
I slept through much of Saturday again, unfortunately. Yesterday evening I spent some time rearranging my newly-decorated room at my parents’ house (it’s not yet finished, though, as there was a problem with the new blinds), moving bric-a-brac and the wargaming miniatures I used to paint back from my parents’ study, although there are more miniatures to move next week, plus certificates and pictures to put up still. I’m glad that it has been done now, though, because I may have to move back in with my parents if my contract is not renewed past the summer, so at least I’ll have a nice room now. I did have a headache yesterday evening, not a really bad migraine, but still painful and it took literally hours to respond to painkillers and stopped me doing as much as I would have liked. It contributed to my going to bed late again, although that was partly my fault, as I stayed up late reading news and politics online and being upset, angry and scared. The news upsets me so much these days. I guess a lot of it would upset anyone, but I also find myself thinking critically about what I’m told, whether by a left-wing or right-wing source. I read the news less than I used to, but I feel reluctant to stop completely, as I am still a citizen of a democracy and I like to be informed about what is happening in places I care about and even generally in other countries. I like to be well-informed, but being well-informed often means reading about lots of death and suffering.
Today, as usual, I overslept. I don’t mind so much, as I do need to catch up my sleep by this stage in the week, and it’s not like Shabbat where part of me would like to go to shul, but I do have things to do today and I just feel a bit burnt out. I wrote down a list of things to do last night; apart from some minor tasks that will only take a few minutes, I wanted to wipe away the mould growing on my front door (the flat gets very damp), go for a jog (not going to happen), go shopping, cook dinner for tonight and tomorrow, proof-read the second-draft of another chapter of my Doctor Who book, do some Torah study including preparing extra ideas to read out at the Pesach (Passover) seder, look at my social anxiety CBT book, email my rabbi mentor and redraft an essay I wrote years ago that one of my non-biological sisters said I should submit to Hevria. The problem with prioritising these is that the are all important, depending on how I look at them. Jogging is important because I do hardly any exercise at the moment and my medication is making me almost overweight, but cooking is important to try to eat less convenience food (I don’t have the time/energy to cook properly on work days), working on my book is important for my self-esteem and because I enjoy it at a time when I enjoy very little and so on. And because of oversleeping and feeling too burnt out to get going, I have less than half a day to do them.
As indicated by the previous paragraph, we are coming up to the most stressful time of year for me, religiously. Purim is this week, a minor festival, but with lots of commandments that can trigger my religious OCD, but also with a boisterous carnival atmosphere that can be hard with depression, social anxiety and Asperger’s (I wrote about it last year here, although the actual experience was somewhat better than I feared). Then a month later comes Pesach, which requires a lot of preparation and has a lot of opportunities to trigger the OCD. That said, last night I was able to feel a little bit of excitement about them and not so much anxiety. I read something in the book of essays based on the teachings of Rav Kook that while strictness is necessary for spiritual growth, so is kindness (to oneself as well as others). Perhaps this will inspire me to be kinder towards myself when I fall short, particularly when the failures are clearly due to my depression, social anxiety or possible Asperger’s, as is often the case.
I wrote most of the above around 1.30pm, after my I just had a late breakfast. I mostly sounded upbeat, but now, after a late lunch things don’t seem as positive. I was eating and watching Doctor Who (admittedly a very bad episode) when suddenly I could feel myself crying without knowing why. I feel like I want to curl up and go back to bed, or at least eat a lot. I’ve got to try to get on with some of the things on that list above, but it’s hard. It’s going to be a difficult week…