I’m back from my holiday. It was really good in the end, somewhat to my surprise. I had a couple of nasty surprises, but mostly things went to plan. I didn’t have easy access to my blog, but I have long handwritten blog posts that I hope to type up, doubtless interspersed with contemporary posts, as I have an eventful week ahead. I’m too tired and jet-lagged to start on that now (I have spent two nights out of the last four sleeping too much and the other two sleeping too little, culminating in no sleep at all for the last twenty-seven hours; I’m trying to stay awake until the evening in the hope of resetting my body clock), but here are a few rambling, free associative thoughts from my holiday that probably won’t fit in anywhere else.
I’m thinking of leaving my psychodynamic therapist and trying some CBT for my social anxiety, low self-esteem and negativity. CBT worked for me for OCD, but not for depression, so I guess it’s difficult to say if it could work here. But this seems to be a problem area that attracts other problems, so if I could deal with it, there might be a multiplier effect across all my issues. The depression stems partly from feeling disconnected to my religious community (and consequently despairing of getting married), which stems partly from low self-esteem and social anxiety as well as fear of rejection. Likewise my career has been hampered by my problems interacting with others and nervousness about networking and professional development involving others, while my attempt to write semi-professionally about Doctor Who is doubtless impeded by my avoiding conventions and organised fandom. I was thinking along these lines before my trip, but am now fairly sure it’s the right thing to do, if I can afford the cost (my CBT therapist charges three times the price of the psychodynamic one).
Related to this, Rabbi Lord Sacks’ weekly Torah essay last week dealt with the idea of not being a victim, that we can see ourselves as passive victims of circumstances or other people’s action, or we can see ourselves as people who the ability to make choices about our lives, even if those choices are only about how we respond emotionally and intellectually to unavoidable adversity. The former leads to learned helplessness and in some cases to self-loathing and revenge, while the latter leads to inner strength. I think it’s clear I tend to see myself as a victim, even if I blame circumstances or God rather than human beings and therefore feel passive more than vengeful. I don’t know how to move to a more positive mindset when so much of my life does seem genuinely negative though. I guess I could try to think of myself as enduring rather than being punished or overwhelmed, but it’s hard.
I’m still in a weird ‘it’s complicated’ situation with E. We both really like each other and really enjoyed spending time together, but she feels we’re too dysfunctional to work together at the moment and I can sort of see her point. This was another reason for working on myself with CBT, to be less dysfunctional. We’re technically just friends, but we message each other umpteen times a day and say how much we miss each other. It’s probably just as a well that I don’t really have much of a baseline of ‘normal’ relationships and friendships to judge this against.
Of my other friends in New York, one surprised me by how far he went beyond the bounds of what I expected of him, in a good way. Some of the others… well, I don’t want to go into details because of lashon hara (malicious speech), but I feel very let down by some friends. One probably had a legitimate excuse, but one actually quite upset me, but I didn’t have the courage to broach the matter. This is after a history of these people treating me in a way that seems somewhat hypocritical or unfair and I think I have to consider how much I consider these people my friends, or at least how much I’m going to try to stay close to them when they don’t seem to value my friendship or care about my feelings. Although I guess it’s easy to get drawn into hasty decisions when jet lagged.