I’m writing (or at least starting) a post on the train for the first time. I had a lousy day. All optimism in my writing or confidence in God’s love for me is gone.

I woke up with a headache in the middle of the night and took ages to get to sleep again, which was a bad start to the day. I’ve been anxious about my job, my career, my future and Pesach (Passover) all day. Then I had a panic attack, or something approaching one, while on the library issue desk. For an hour or so I felt simultaneously claustrophobic (tight muscles, hard to breathe, feeling crushed) and agoraphobic (exposed and open to critical observation, unable to run away), plus sweaty and dry-mouthed – typical anxious fight or flight reactions.. I somehow got through the hour, but I don’t know how. I certainly wasn’t doing my job well, even worse than usual. I worry I have withdrawn books that shouldn’t have been withdrawn, or kept ones that should not have been kept.  My Mum says that at least I didn’t give in to it as I have done in the past, although I’m not quite sure how I could have run away without causing more anxiety by telling my boss that I was in the middle of a panic attack.

Just to make things worse, I had to flick through Eat Pray Love at work to catalogue it, the famous memoir of self-fulfilment through food, meditation and love/sex.  It just makes me feel that other people are doing spirituality and love (and sex) a lot better than I am, although I’m wary of the type of spirituality that promises the most benefits for the least effort.  Also, Elizabeth Gilbert left the man she married at the end of the book for a woman with terminal cancer, which at the very least should be a warning to me about thinking I can understand other people’s lives from the outside, let alone decide to envy them.

I ran into someone from shul (synagogue) and shiur (Torah class) on the way home from work.  I must have had a bad day, because when he asked how I was feeling, I was honest.  My therapist has so confused me about opening up to people I don’t know if I was supposed to do that or not.  To paraphrase Mostly Harmless, I know there are times to open up to others about my mental health and I know there are times not to open up to others about my mental health; I just need to be able to tell the difference between the two.  It didn’t help that, as often happens with anxiety-provoking conversations, I completely lost my ability to understand the ‘he talks, then I talk, then he talks again’ nature of a conversation and kept inadvertently interrupting.  This is probably Asperger’s again.

I’m not sure if I’m going to shiur tonight. I’d like to, but I’m pretty tired (anxiety is exhausting) and I need to be up early in the morning for a doctor’s appointment.  The appointment was booked a month ago, when I was so depressed that the doctor increased my medication, but it’s probably come at a good time, considering the state I’m in.

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