I didn’t intend to post today, because I have to be up early tomorrow, but as I slept too much over Shabbat again (couldn’t sleep last night, then once I did sleep I didn’t wake up until midday, then slept for another three hours in the afternoon), I’m not likely to fall asleep any time soon and I’m probably better off venting than carrying stuff around in my head, which was probably why I couldn’t sleep last night.

I had a weird moment at dinner when my parents were asking my questions about my holiday and I was getting annoyed because I was sure they knew the answers, but then I realised I hadn’t told them.  I don’t know if that was an autistic lack of theory of mind moment and I couldn’t comprehend that they didn’t know something I did or a (depressive?) poor memory moment were I genuinely forgot that I hadn’t told them.  It didn’t help that my Dad was asking a lot of open “what was your holiday like?” questions which I always struggle to answer any more coherently than “good,” although worse still are the “tell me about your holiday?” questions which I struggle to answer at all in any way other than “what do you want to know?” because I have no way of processing that much data in such a vague and unstructured way.  Ask me “what did you do on Tuesday?” or “did you enjoy Ellis Island?” and I can answer, but not something that open.  I don’t know if that’s an autistic thing or what.

It’s Elul,the month of the Jewish calendar when we prepare for the festivals in the next month, particularly Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  Jews believe that on these days our lives for the coming year are planned out, dependent on whether we repent from the sins of the previous year.  The shiur (religious class) at shul (synagogue) during seudah shlishit (the third Sabbath meal) today was on this theme, about this being a time of favour from HaShem (God) where He is eager to help us change for the better and waiting to shower blessings on us.  And I just sat there thinking, who am I kidding?  Why am I even going to bother going to shul on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?  Every year I go through this charade of trying to fight the depression and social anxiety to get to shul at least for a little bit and of trying to introspect and improve and I never change and my life stays awful.  HaShem hates me, He has good reason to hate me, I’m a terrible person and an especially terrible Jew.  When I went to a shul where most people were not frum (religious), at least I could feel that I was frum and that I had a role in the community doing things like leading services and giving drashot (religious talks), but here everyone is a tzaddik (saint) and a talmid chacham (great Torah scholar), or at least that’s how it seems.  I’m probably the least frum person in the kehillah (community).

I just feel that HaShem is constantly plotting ways to hurt me, with good reason.  If something goes well for me for a short while, it’s only so that it will hurt more when it is taken away from me.  The best thing that happened this year was dating E., but that was only so that when she broke up with me, I would know there was no hope for me in the future, because I’m pretty sure that she’s my bashert (soulmate) and as we can’t marry, there’s no chance of my marrying anyone else.  Likewise, I enjoyed going to New York, or at least some of it, but since I’ve been back I’ve been in deep depression.  I feel I made a huge mistake in leaving my job and I can’t imagine that HaShem has any good at all planned for me in the coming year.  I feel so angry with Him, but it’s pointless because He’s right and I deserve to be treated like sh!t because I am sh!t.  I would pray to be written in the Book of Death this year (the idea is that there are two books, the Book of Life and the Book of Death, and on Rosh Hashanah you are written in one for the new year and then sealed into it on Yom Kippur), but I suspect I have been written in it for many years, because the books are for spiritual life and death, not physical life and death and I think I’ve been spiritually dead for years – I don’t do mitzvot or study Torah or anything.

The other thing on my mind is that I need to be careful where I comment online at the moment.  I should probably steer clear of Hevria for a bit, partly because there are a lot Elul posts that tend to prompt me to write comments about how awful my life is, but mostly because I’ve realised that I’m still absolutely furious with one of the writers over how he treated me around my holiday and some of what he writes about (can’t go into detail without falling into lashon hara (malicious talk) territory, but I basically think he comes across as pretentious and self-righteous and has been doing that consistently for a couple of years now and I’m sick of giving him the benefit of the doubt).  There’s another blog I used to love, but the author got married last year and whenever she writes that HaShem (God) has someone for everyone, that everyone will get married eventually, I just want to scream, but I’m scared of saying the wrong as she also lost her mother last year and I don’t want to upset here or get into competitive victimhood.  To be honest, I’m pretty irritable in real life at the moment too; even when I’m not consciously angry, my depression makes everything come out sounding grumpy.  I feel I should lock myself away in my room and avoid people, but that’s not really possible now I live with my parents again.

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8 thoughts on “Welcome to Elul

  1. Does the UK have a Lifeline you can call? Counsellors you can ring and talk to about how you’re feeling, particularly when feeling so depressed and feeling misunderstood?
    Blogging must help to a certain degree to off load your thoughts and work through things as you write them down.
    I’m always feeling compelled to answer you, thinking you’re asking for help. But you’ve also mentioned you don’t like being told what to do, so I don’t want to be that pest suggesting things. But I think you could benefit from someone to listen and help you plan things out. So maybe whilst you look for a better psychologist, you could turn to a phone counselling service?

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  2. I don’t think I would look for counselling over the phone permanently as I don’t like using the phone. There are help lines you can call if depressed or suicidal, which I sometimes call, although I don’t always remember to do so when I feel very depressed.

    Blogging does help a bit.

    I don’t mind you suggesting things.

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    1. Ah! Yes, the phone!
      Well, since you forget to consider calling the help line when you probably need it the most, could you write down an action plan to remind you of what to do and suggestions of things/people that are helpful at those times?
      Keep it somewhere accessible. Perhaps on your phone. Including the help line number.

      Not sure about you, but I’m very much a visual thinker, so writing things down helps me to sort things out in my head and referring to lists etc are great as prompts and preventing brain chaos. I should do it more often!

      Be kind to yourself.

      One day at a time.

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      1. I put the phone number in my distraction box (a box full of stuff that I should distract myself with when I’m depressed), except that I forget to look in it, or I deliberately don’t look because I’m trying to do job applications (or whatever) and end up procrastinating online instead. I put the number on my list of quick contacts on my phone, but that didn’t help either because I have to be dialing someone to start with and happen to notice it.

        Writing down is good, but not so much for things that come up at odd moments.

        Thank you.

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  3. Where I live, there are “warmlines,” for someone to talk to if you are depressed but don’t have a plan to kill yourself. These have been of great help to me at times. Are you seeing a psychiatrist? I really recommend that you get one. I felt like you do a month ago, and everybody kept telling me to just hang in there and life would get better. I went through umpteen medications, and finally I started feeling better. A general practitioner is unlikely to be able to help as much as a psychiatrist. I promise that there is hope for you. You can live a life in which you don’t feel like Hashem hates you and that you’re doomed to lead a horrible life.

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  4. Thanks for commenting! And I’m sorry you felt this bad and am glad there has been improvement for you.

    Yes, there are helplines here. I have called them in the past, but I’ve got out of the habit and it’s hard to remember that I can do that when I’m very depressed and agitated. I need to think of a way to remind myself, as I’ve tried a couple of ways that didn’t work.

    I’m not seeing a psychiatrist, but I went to get a referral today, so hopefully I will be soon. Unfortunately, the nature of healthcare in the UK is that private psychiatric care is very expensive, but state-provided psychiatric care is problematic: long waiting lists, a focus on treating you and discharging you ASAP, even if you’re not fully recovered, and no easy way to change psychiatrist or get a second opinion if you aren’t happy with the one you’re assigned.

    I hope things can get better. I’ve been struggling with depression for so long, with so many different treatments, with so little success that it’s hard to keep going sometimes.

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  5. Good Luck with everything! I personally don’t have time to read Hevria nor do I agree with many of the haskafos over there.

    I’m sorry you feel Hashem is constantly hurting you. That doesn’t feel good. As other people have mentioned I suggest you see a mental health professional. Have you tried contacting relief? https://reliefhelp.org/

    I’d put you in touch with a Rabbi, as I do with many people but I think mental and emotional sanity come first. Once you’re more emotionally stable you can then have more headspace to explore spiritual ideas and frustrations.

    In addition I think you should stop feeling guilty for not being able to go to shul or “do Elul lie everyone else”. Elul is about you connecting to G-d, introspection, and making him your king. It’s NOT about anyone else, and I think you need to find discover what your limitations are don’t feel guilty for being “different”.

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  6. Thanks for commenting!

    I should be seeing a psychiatrist sometime, although there may be a long waiting list. I didn’t know about Relief, thanks for telling me. I will see if they can help.

    I have a rabbi I talk to, but he’s been on holiday recently and I haven’t been able to contact him. Also, I guess I want someone to tell me if I’m a good person/Jew, but he’s a counsellor and just turns the question around and asks me if I think I’m a good Jew.

    I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others or to myself in previous years, but it’s hard not to. Especially as I’m struggling so much with connecting to HaShem at the moment. Even the thought of being in shul with so many other people is making me feel slightly uncomfortable, doubly so as I will probably be walking in late (if at all), whereas in previous years I would get there early and without any issues.

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