I somehow overslept this morning. I heard my Mum shout goodbye when she left for work (I guess just before 9.00am) and I thought I stayed awake, but I must have dozed off because next thing I knew it was 10.20 and my Dad was worried I was going to miss my blood test (a routine check because I’m on lithium tablets). I must have slept through both my alarms. I got to the blood test on time, but only because Dad was able to give me a lift. I was worried that I was going to shake, but I didn’t, although I clearly looked worried enough that the nurse had to reassure me. I didn’t like to say that the problem is less the needle and more my fear of shaking.
I did at least walk home, which took half an hour. I was thinking the whole time about antisemitism. When the depression is bad, I sometimes fixate on it. As I said yesterday, I don’t want to turn this into a political blog, but it does upset me. I couldn’t really focus on the music I was listening to again. I feel a sense of religious certainty that Jews will survive somewhere in the world; we have, after all, survived 3,000 years of persecution while our persecutors have vanished into history, which is, after all, what Pesach (Passover) is about, the festival of redemption. Still, I hate injustice and I hate feeling hated for no good reason. I hate feeling hated at all, but these days (i.e. since leaving school) I’m mostly hated by antisemites, not people who actually know me.
I more or less burst into tears while davening Shacharit (saying morning prayers). I’m not sure if it was because of antisemitism or just depression or something else entirely. Certainly I had almost no kavannah (usually translated as ‘concentration,’ but ‘mindfulness’ might be a better word), but then I haven’t had much kavannah for ages.
Aside from a half hour walk and ten minutes of very difficult Torah study (reading Yechezkel/Ezekiel in Hebrew – from the really difficult chapters at the end), I haven’t really done anything today. I just feel too drained. I don’t really have the motivation to do anything fun for Chol HaMoed (the intermediate days of Pesach) and it’s not appropriate to do chores unnecessarily. I can’t think of anything to do and when I try the religious OCD makes me panic about taking food anywhere. I might go to the Sherlock Holmes Museum next week (after Pesach).
I feel lonely and unlovable again. More unlovable than lonely, I think, although it’s hard to tell (alexithymia). I can’t imagine that anyone could care about me. This is a silly thing to think as my parents and my sister care about me and even if that’s because we’re family, I do have a couple of friends. It never feels enough, though. I want a deep, intimate relationship and have no idea how to get one or whether I could really manage one. My experience of my one previous relationship suggests I might be able to, but so much seems different since then. I was supposed to decide over the holiday whether to go back to dating and, if so, whether to go to the Jewish dating site that matches people based on their values or to a shadchan (matchmaker). To be honest, I don’t think I have the courage to do either. I want to be in a relationship, but I don’t feel I currently have the stamina to find and build one. Sadly, Hevria never acted on my suggestion to find a Hevria shadchan for weird, geeky creative frum (religious) Jews, although as most Hevrians live in America and most of the ones that don’t live in Israel it’s doubtful that they would have been able to help me much anyway.
I just feel so exhausted. I tried to read, but I just don’t have the energy (it apparently takes less energy to write than to read. I don’t know what that says about my writing). I left the following comment on the blog of one of the presenters of Are You Autistic? yesterday: “I have been thinking of being reassessed but I’m terrified of being told I’m neurotypical again. I know that sounds a strange thing to say, but an autism diagnosis would explain so much about me: my treatment-resistant depression, OCD and social anxiety would actually seem like the logical outcome of something ‘real’ rather than a over-reaction to very normal childhood stresses.” It’s strange to feel that my experiences somehow don’t count just because I’m different in personality, but not medically different, but I do feel as if I “shouldn’t” be depressed and anxious from such relatively trivial childhood experiences, that there has to be a deeper explanation of my depression. Maybe there isn’t. Maybe I’m just messed up and that’s all there is to it. I don’t know how I get unmessed up, or at least learn to manage my messed upness.
The first woman I asked out (this was when I was approaching twenty and at Oxford) said when she turned me down that if I liked myself more, I would want to date someone more like myself. Aside from the fact that I thought that she was quite like me, this is made problematic by the fact that there are so few people like me. I won’t quite say there’s no one like me any more as I have met a couple of people somewhat like me (albeit mostly over the internet), but I don’t know how to meet a woman who shares my interests AND values AND can cope with my issues AND whose issues I can cope with (bearing in mind that someone who can understands my issues probably has issues of her own).
My friend Elad Nehorai of Hevria and Popchassid said that writers of personal writing (which I guess is what I am doing here, although calling it ‘writing’ probably gives it more dignity than it deserves) can choose whether to portray themselves as victims of circumstance, witnessing changes around them, or as people with agency who grow, learn and evolve from their experiences. He obviously sees the latter as better. I very much fall into the first category. I don’t think I’ve learnt anything from my depression, OCD, social anxiety or autistic traits. It’s just a daily struggle to survive each day with them, to go to bed at night still alive and in one piece and not consumed by powerful negative emotions. Which is another way of saying that I didn’t do any creative writing again today. I know I should write even when I don’t have inspiration, but I have… is there an opposite of inspiration? (Exhalation?) Whatever it’s called, the depression has sucked all creativity out of me. I’d like to work on my Doctor Who book, but I decided it wasn’t right to do that on Chol HaMoed as I am hoping to earn money from it (ha ha ha) so it felt too much like doing paid work, which is to be avoided if possible on Chol HaMoed.
On the plus side (I have to take the good where I can), I realised that the A for Andromeda DVD had the scripts of the missing episodes as pdfs, so I’ve been reading those. I should have realised it earlier, given that they did something similar with The Quatermass Experiment. The episodes are much better read than watching still pictures and text summaries, but reading is hard and slow, doubly so when the text is laid out as a shooting script, not a transcript, with handwritten emendations and technical instructions and the reproduction is not very clear (it’s nearly sixty years old). The problem is that I feel too depressed and exhausted to do anything other than vegetate in front of the TV, but I have another three episodes to read before I get to the sole surviving TV episode. I can’t move on with Doctor Who because I’m at my parents’ house and the DVDs are in my flat and, as I said, I don’t really want to move on with my book this week. So do I watch something else? Star Trek comes from a very different science fiction tradition and I’m not sure I feel like it. The Lego Movie is a possibility, but I’m not sure that I’m in the mood for something so upbeat. It’s a problem. A first world problem, admittedly, but a problem when I’m depressed and just trying to keep my head above the water.