(Another one of my written-piecemeal-during-the-day update posts. And a super-mammoth one at that. Possibly I should just go on Twitter or Facebook, except that neither is good for my mental health.)
12.10pm I don’t know what time I went to bed last night. I know it was very late, probably around 3.00am, but earlier than two nights ago (about 4.30am). I got really hungry late at night and stayed up late eating matzah and jam and junk food. Not good on any level, really. I have been eating more junk food over the last few days, which I tell myself is OK because of being happy on Yom Tov (Jewish festival), but is more comfort eating than anything else, and the cravings I’ve had since I was put on clomipramine. Anyway, I woke up today about 11.30am after a strange Doctor Who dream. I feel completely drained. My Dad just asked if I was OK because I was huffing and puffing as I went up the stairs. I just want to go back to bed.
1.50pm Still in pyjamas, having got no further towards getting dressed than putting on socks. Idly browsing the web was a mistake, because it led to politics which led to antisemitism. Depressing. I should avoid this stuff, but I care too much. I wrote a long paragraph about antisemitism here, but cut it because this is a mental health blog, not a political one and I don’t have the stamina to get arguments. I will say that I believe the way forward is empathy and dialogue, but I don’t know how you enter into dialogue with people who have already judged that you have nothing to say to them.
2.40pm Dressed. Davened Musaf and Hallel (said the additional Pesach prayers and Psalms), but left Minchah (the afternoon service) and tefillin (my custom is to wear them on Chol HaMoed with a silent bracha) until after lunch because I’m still too exhausted. I suddenly had intense religious OCD while davening. I asked my rabbi mentor something about Pesach two years ago that he said was fine, but I’m worried (this is where the OCD comes in) that I didn’t explain it well enough, so I asked him again the other day, but he hasn’t got back to me. (I’m guessing that he’s not checking email over Chol HaMoed (the intermediate days of the festival, where some work is allowed) or is busy with his children off school.) Deep down I know that if there is an issue, it’s not my fault, as he said it was OK, but I worry that I didn’t ask the question properly and that it is my fault.
3.30pm I watched Are You Autistic? (recorded last week) over lunch. It just confused me. It made me wonder if I’m not autistic after all, which, of course, was what I was told when I was assessed. It’s hard to process the fact that I have lots of autistic traits, but am also missing lots of traits that should be present for diagnosis. Perhaps my difficulties really do stem from strong introversion and social anxiety (which I was also told I don’t technically have); reduced concentration from depression could account for the poor executive function. I don’t know how many of my non-autistic traits can be attributed to social masking and other coping mechanisms (see this post I wrote recently). I feel that if I was diagnosed with autism, I would be able to understand myself and seek support, not least at work, but just being a bit weird leaves me confused and unable to ask for help.
I had more OCD over lunch too. I sort of kept it under control, but I have a nagging feeling of having done something wrong (religiously) and that I should ask a rabbi about what happened, even though I know that would also be wrong (psychotherapeutically).
4.00pm There’s more feelings of inadequacy around my writing. The feeling that I should have been a regular writer for Hevria, but I got turned down for reasons I never really understood and feel guilty about mentioning so often. What should have been a boost to my confidence (that they’ve published me several times) turns into another reason to beat myself up (that they didn’t want me to write regularly and pay me. The payment is more symbolic than mercenary – it would show that someone values my writing. I’ve only been paid once for a piece of writing, two if you count the professionally-published piece where the writers’ fees were donated to charity). I wouldn’t have been able to cope with writing regularly anyway. I have several pieces for Hevria on my computer that I’ve never submitted, I’m not sure why. I don’t know if it’s fear of rejection or, worse, fear of acceptance. There’s the worry that I’ll never sell my Doctor Who book(s), that I don’t write well enough, that I don’t write originally enough, that I’m too out of sync with standard fan criticism (which these days is just identity politics and sarcasm)…
I feel too exhausted to do any creative writing today. It would just be painful.
Edited 10.30pm I think when I wrote this, the previous two paragraphs were not connected in my mind. Reading them back, they clearly are connected. It’s easier not to even try to do something than to try and fail, or be rejected. I guess I will have to try harder to write tomorrow. This is why I’m not cutting the previous paragraphs, even though I do not come out well from them; in fact, I come across as petty and bitter. I hope that’s the depression talking.
5.00pm I finally managed to daven Mincha. It felt like an endurance test with depression and exhaustion, with OCD thoughts in the background.
5.35pm Fighting the urge to go back to bed and start the day over again. Or just to go back to bed.
6.10pm Back from a twenty minute walk. I didn’t realise how cold it was and went out without a coat. Thoughts about antisemitism mutated into general despair about politics and the Western world. I could hardly hear the music I was listening to, my thoughts were so loud. (Does that even make sense? It happens to me a lot. I get sucked into a maelstrom of thought and lose contact with everything around me. Sometimes at work I’m trying to work, but my depressive thoughts start and become so vivid that I don’t even notice my physical surroundings any more. When I’m with my parents, they see me staring into space sometimes and ask if I’m OK when I’m just thinking, which of course breaks the concentration, for good or for ill.)
6.50pm Feeling lonely and unlovable. I don’t have the energy/motivation to actually talk to anyone, but I wish there was someone to (literally and metaphorically) hold my hand and watch TV with me. I feel more unmarriable than ever, particularly as I’ve more or less decided that I shouldn’t date until I’ve made progress with my social anxiety, which seems unlikely to happen any time soon, and that the depression is constantly going to hold me back from forming a serious relationship, which also doesn’t seem like changing any time soon. I found myself thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have broken up with my ex (five years ago this month!), which is a scary thing to think when she herself admitted that she wasn’t really there for me and our religious paths had diverged.
It seems unfair that other people get to have fun and I don’t (not that marriage is just for fun by any means, but I’m talking generally). I tell myself that this life is for growth, not for pleasure, but that just seems like “the opiate of the masses.” Anyway, Judaism is not opposed to the sensual pleasures of this world, it merely seeks to harness them for a holy purpose. Which reminds me that my shul (synagogue) rabbi said I won’t feel simcha shel mitzvah (the joy of performing the commandments) until I’m over the depression (which makes me despair) and that my rabbi mentor disagreed and said I should feel a bit (which just makes me feel guilty for not feeling it at all). I am nearly halfway through Pesach and while I am not as OCD anxious as I feared I would be, I have not really had any simcha shel mitzvah (unless you count playing with my friends’ children) and am not sure how to get it in the next four days.
8.00pm Just watched the first two episodes of the DVD of 1960s science fiction thriller A for Andromeda. I knew that all bar one of the episodes were missing and reconstructed from photos, surviving clips and captions, but for some reason I thought there was audio too (as per missing Doctor Who episodes), but in fact this is not the case and watching the episodes was harder work than I expected, probably harder than I really needed. I do feel calmer for having watched it, although this partly because OCD anxiety and depression have been replaced by feeling too exhausted to care about anything. Still, it was involving enough, if showing its age in places. I really like old British TV science fiction and feel they don’t really make anything like it any more. I look forward to reaching the surviving sixth episode and then the sequel, The Andromeda Breakthrough, which survives in its entirety. Apparently there was a remake of A for Andromeda a while back which I will probably check out at some point. Another book I could write at some point: something about the Quatermass and Andromeda serials and their various spin-offs and remakes. Although I don’t know who would buy it…
9.00pm Over dinner I thought that I want to feel reciprocated love, even (I’ll say it) to feel lust that is reciprocated for once. I’m fed up of having my most powerful emotions being invalidated by others by their one-sided nature. I suppose no one can actually invalidate my emotions, but I’ve been told a couple of times over the years by women I’ve liked, “You don’t love me,” which was probably true, I probably didn’t literally love them, but in my naivety I thought I did love them and being told that I didn’t hurt. It’s hard to have a good understanding of love and related emotions when (a) you have an alexithymic incomprehension of all your emotions and (b) every time you feel something romantic or sexual you end up rejected and burdened with guilt.
10.40pm Another day over with very little done. I did manage fifteen minutes of Torah study, which was fifteen minutes more than I thought I would manage, but other than a short walk and this post I haven’t achieved much. I haven’t even hoovered the bedroom carpet, which is filthy and which I haven’t got around to doing since last week. Tomorrow, I suppose, is another day, one on which I have a routine blood test, so I will at least have to be up earlyish.