I had minor surgery (local anaesthetic) this morning.  It went OK, but I shook a bit.  I didn’t even notice I was doing it, the nurse pointed it out to me.  My shoulder hurts where the incision was, but I’m otherwise OK.  I’m annoyed that I have to go to the nurse at the GP’s surgery next week to have the stitches removed though, as last time I had a similar procedure they used stitches that dissolved (they used those here for internal stitching).  The problem is less the hassle of going (it’s not like I’m taking time off work) and more the difficulty of now having to make two appointments at a surgery that does its best to stop you making even one!

I’ve been encouraged to google think tanks and see if any of them want researchers.  I googled The Institute for Jewish Policy Research, but pretty much everyone who works there has a PhD, which makes me think I’m not suitable.  Years ago the Community Security Trust, the charity that monitors antisemitism in the UK and provides training and education for Jewish organisations (schools, synagogues, charities) to provide voluntary security (because the police admit they haven’t got the resources to keep the Jewish community safe from violence.  Seriously.  And the Corbynistas say Jews invent antisemitism) was looking for a researcher.  I can’t remember why I didn’t apply for the job at the time.  I was probably working on my MA at the time and I didn’t think I would want to go into research, but I would apply for it now, although it would be the most depressing job in the world.  Around the same time the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks was looking for a researcher.  I probably didn’t apply for that one either because of my MA and doubts about my Hebrew reading abilities (not to mention my Aramaic), but, again, I would apply now if it came up.  It would pretty much be my dream job right now, actually.

I’m still wondering if I should do a PhD and if so what in.  I need to find something (1) that interests me, (2) that I have the right skill set to work on, (3) that is worthwhile and meaningful, (4) that doesn’t mean I have to sign up to political/critical perspectives that I find problematic and (5) preferably isn’t really depressing (antisemitism again) and right now I can’t really think of anything.

Still job hunting.  I hate the jargon the adverts are written in.  I’m a big fan of George Orwell, not so much the novels as the essays, and articles like Politics and the English Language have made me suspicious of people who can’t speak in plain English, be they humanities professors, political activists or big companies (or, I suppose, some Orthodox Jews, who speak Yeshivish). I have no idea what phrases like “Consolidates business requirements” and “Inputs into overall content strategy” actually mean and suspect they don’t mean anything.  I’m also irritated by online application forms that ask for CV and then ask you to manually re-enter a load of information already on your CV (employment history, qualifications etc.), only in lots of little boxes, so you can’t copy and paste.

One job advertised for a temporary librarian until October (starting in July, so either I missed their advert until now or they haven’t been advertising well), hours 8.30am – 6.00pm which seems excessive even for someone who isn’t depressed.

I was thinking today about my energy levels.  I was beating myself up for having procrastinated and not achieved much today (surgery, half an application and a trip to the shops to buy ingredients I hope to cook for dinner, but I’m running out of time).  But if I think of myself like a computer, with free memory being analogous to energy levels, then for me running a basic ‘program’ like ‘write job application’ or ‘walk to shops’ takes vastly more ‘memory’ (energy) than it does for other people or even for myself when not so depressed.  Plus I have several programs working in the background, such as ‘don’t kill/hurt self’ and ‘don’t go back to bed,’ programs that take up a lot of memory (energy) all the time and which non-mentally ill people (or even not so mentally ill people) don’t have to run at all.  Seriously, people don’t realise how tiring not hurting yourself can be.

I probably do beat myself up for things that I shouldn’t.  I’m surely not the only frum (religious) Jewish male, certainly not the only single frum Jewish male in his thirties, to have sexual thoughts, even towards people who I shouldn’t (married women, nineteen year olds), but I beat myself up endlessly about them.  I worry that if I don’t beat myself up I will end up as a rapist or an adulterer or something, I suppose.  It’s very difficult not to have any legitimate outlet for sexual release long-term.  Because however one tries to deal with one’s feelings one ends up doing something forbidden, even if it’s just hirhurim (fantasies), which just adds to my guilt.  I’d like to know how other people cope, but (a) the number of single frum men my age is vanishingly small and (b) such things are not talked about.  There’s a parable in the Talmud which is too long to go into in detail here, but the gist of it is that the sages captured the drive for sexual excess, but they were warned by a prophet not to kill it, because that would destroy the world, because sexuality is a natural and healthy part of the world.  So they tried it reduce it to half its size to limit it to marriage, but “no half things are granted by Heaven.”  Sexuality is a blessing and there are no half blessings.  If you are going to be attracted to any women (including your wife, if you ever have one, however unlikely that seems), you are going to be attracted to married women and younger women.  It is up to you to police your behaviour and avoid turning into another Harvey Weinstein.  But it seems unfair to have to worry about this without even a legitimate outlet for my sexuality (marriage).  I often wish I was asexual.  As I don’t think I will ever be able to marry and have children, being asexual would make my life a lot easier and would dramatically reduce my negative emotions (depression, despair, anxiety, loneliness, guilt etc.).

I Skyped E. today.  She’s worried about me.  She wants me to try a new psychiatrist or new meds or ECT.  I feel guilty for saying that I’m not sure there is anything I can do.  I’m not sure I can even get referred back to a psychiatrist, although I will try.  At the moment I can’t even get an appointment with my GP.  Beyond this, I feel that although I say I want people to care about me, at the moment I just want to retreat to my man-cave, so I feel like a hypocrite.  To be fair, it’s less misanthropy and more that I don’t have the energy for social interaction (particularly one as confusing as E. and me) and that I’m terrified of angering people because I’m aware that I sound so irritable so much of the time.  Which of course just angers people.

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts for the Day (Depression, PhD, Job Hunting, Sexual Frustration)

  1. Regarding sexual thoughts (and OCD), you can only do your best. Intrusive thoughts are beyond our control, and I don’t believe Hashem will hold those against you as long as you do your best to not dwell on them.

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