Donnie was the boy you always wanted by your side./Donnie was the boy your girlfriends fell for one by one./Donnie was the one you always wanted day and night. – Donnie by Ace of Base
“Every lonely monster needs a companion.” Doctor Who: Hide by Neil Cross
At the moment I’m in the nervy, agitated state that for a while in the past I mistook for hypomania and wondered if I really had bipolar disorder (I had a psychiatrist who fuelled this a bit by saying I was probably somewhere on the bipolar spectrum, but I suspect that by that stage she was just saying anything to shut me up).
I think the reality of leaving my job has hit. I’m not technically unemployed for another five and a bit weeks (I’m technically on paid holiday), but I think I’m already spiralling downwards. I worry that I should not have left, given how hard it will be to get a new job, but I think if I had stayed I would either have stayed there indefinitely, despite being miserable, or been fired for being incompetent under the new job description. I gave myself a day off from job-hunting today to sort some chores, but I felt depressed, procrastinated and only did a fraction of what I wanted to do. I suppose I should allow myself a mental health day, except this hasn’t been that. It’s fallen between two stools, neither a relaxing day off to recuperate from a draining term (draining physically, mentally and emotionally) nor a day in which I did many chores. So now I still feel tense and tired, but I haven’t achieved much.
Job hunting in earnest should start tomorrow, but I’m fearful of it. I spoke to my rabbi mentor today; he seemed to expect me to have surveyed the entire field by now and sent of some applications. That would seem to underestimate how anxiety-provoking this is, and how inadequate I feel about my ability to do most jobs.
The reality of breaking up with E. keeps hitting me too. I keep thinking I’m over it, or at least accepting that something might happen in the future, but not now, and then I realise I’m still telling myself we might get back together… well, we might, but it depends on my finding a better-paying job than seems likely and just generally being better at coping with The Real World than I’m likely to be any time soon (I don’t want to deal with The Real World. The Real World is full of terrorism, antisemitism, sexism, racism, war, famine etc. I want to leave The Real World to its own murderous devices and escape somewhere quiet). E. said I could date other women if I get bored waiting for her, but (a) I don’t want other women, I want E. and (b) I can’t imagine there are many other women out there who are (i) interested in me and (ii) willing to be the main breadwinner. So, I’m alone again, and I’m not good at dealing with that.
I’m beating myself up again and struggling with my thoughts. I’ve messed stuff up again (I mean procrastinating and acting out in ways that I wish I wouldn’t do when depressed). I suppose it’s nothing serious, but I always seem to be running in quicksand, sinking fast. I wonder how I compare with other frum (religious) men, in terms of meeting religious obligations for prayer, religious study, personal development and so on. It’s hard to tell how much latitude I should give myself because of the depression and other issues and I don’t have anyone to compare with, especially as my own mental health can vary widely from day to day and even across the day. I also wonder what other people really think of me, but if they tell me they like me, I assume they’re being polite or, more bluntly, lying.
I’ve been using the heter (permission) for depressed people to listen to music in the Three Weeks of mourning when normally it would be forbidden (I wish I’d learnt about that years ago). Despite never having deliberately listened to Ace of Base in the past (I think I must have been passively exposed to them through my sister), I’ve been obsessively listening to Donnie over and over (in the past I would have worried more about kol isha, but I think my depressed disaffection with Judaism has eroded my ability to care about some rabbinic mitzvot). I do this sometimes, listen to the same song a million times in a month and then stop as suddenly as I started. It usually assumes some bizarre significance in my mind, usually about my life, as if the singer is singing directly to me. This is probably borderline psychotic.
Donnie (not my name, but sounds vaguely like my Hebrew name) is about unrequited love (I suspect I prefer songs about unrequited love to the other kind) and carrying a torch for someone. I find myself wondering if I want E. to always want me by her side. I find that I do, and then feel both guilty and frustrated because it could never work and I should want her to find someone else who can make her happy in a way that I can’t.
Sometimes I feel that if I could understand things better, things in the outside world, I could stop them or make them better. I don’t consciously think this, but I think the feeling is there, on some level. I spent years trying to understand antisemitism (I probably still do try) and I suspect that I felt that if I understood it, it would go away. No, that’s not quite it. That’s fairly psychotic, again. Well, maybe it is a little psychotic. It’s hard to put into words, but sometimes the pain in my head seems to have a direct relationship to the pain in the world (The Horrible Real World again), but it’s hard to work out in which direction it goes. Maybe both ways. Maybe I feel somehow responsible for things? That’s not quite it (although it can happen with depression, particularly when it’s on the border of psychosis, as I’ve probably been in the past). I guess it’s tied up with my quasi-solipsistic feeling of importance, that there isn’t really anything other than my mind. That the barrier between my mind and the world is somewhat permeable? I don’t really think that either, but… I can’t really put it into words. It’s very frustrating.
Sometimes I imagine myself at my own funeral, listening to eulogies, getting angry at the lies to make me sound good, walking behind my own coffin… This probably isn’t normal. Sometimes I imagine burying myself, only me and no one else (this is a blatant steal from the Doctor Who novel Alien Bodies). Sometimes I wonder if I’m dead and this is Gehennom. That probably isn’t normal either.
Sometimes I feel like I’m this close to losing my grip on reality. That’s probably why I take refuge in improbable, surreal fictions. (I recently wrote a post on this, ostensibly for my Doctor Who blog, which I haven’t got around to posting yet. Arguably it could fit on either of my blogs, but I can only put it on one, because one is anonymous and the other isn’t.) Stuff like Doctor Who, The Prisoner and Sapphire and Steel seem much more reflective of how I experience reality than most ‘realistic’ fiction.