I was just out shopping and I saw someone I knew from shiur.  I was going to talk to him, but I found myself walking past him and out and hoping he didn’t see (he was doing something on his phone and didn’t seem to notice me).  I hate it when social anxiety makes me do things like this, but I don’t know how to change.  I need to speak to my parents about trying CBT for it.

I was actually thinking a few minutes before this happened that so many of the things that upset me and which I brood and ruminate about boil down to feeling rejected and not good enough.  I feel that I’m not good enough to get married, that I’m too ‘modern’ for my religious community, that I’m too conservative for the Doctor Who fan community, that I don’t fit in to any political party and so people will reject me if they know my political views. Antisemitism seems a very personal rejection, when it shouldn’t do, it’s just morons being morons; Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t know me personally.  When I had a job, I worried that I was not good at it and would get found out.  I worry about how people will react if I tell them about my mental health issues, but in my support groups I still feel different: “too” depressed, “not autistic enough.”  Or perhaps I start to notice other differences, like class and background, always feeling that no one could accept me if they knew the ‘real’ me.  They would always have a reason to hate and reject me.

I constantly feel like I’m hiding my true self and trying to ‘pass’ in different ways in different places.  There isn’t really one place where I really feel I can be myself, except maybe here on my blog, but then again I feel that so few people read this that I’m not sure it really counts as acceptance.

I don’t even know who the ‘real’ me is. There are things about the frum (Orthodox Jewish religious) world that scare me and make me want to leave, but then, when I go to the secular Western world, that’s just as scary and corrupt, if not more so.  So where do I go?  In the USA there’s a bit of middle ground, but there isn’t much vibrant Modern Orthodoxy in the UK, just the middle-aged and largely non-religious United Synagogue.  I don’t know where I go from here.

3 thoughts on “Not Fitting In

  1. I’m sorry you’re feeling like you don’t fit in anywhere. I feel the same way. The synagogue I’ve started attending is too liberal for me on some things, but I’m not observant or religious enough in other areas to fit into the Orthodox one that’s really close to me. I wish I could find a place that feels right.

    Is it our anxiety that’s the problem, or is it really that there’s no home for us? I feel the same about politics and switched to becoming an Independent voter because I got so sick of the Republicans and Democrats fighting with each other; I want to be able to vote for the particular candidate I like.

    You’re not alone. I like your blog and your writing, and I can relate to a lot of the things you say.


  2. Thanks for saying you like my blog and my writing!

    It can be really hard to find the right synagogue, particularly if you live in a small community.

    It’s hard to tell if it’s the anxiety that’s the problem or that there really is no home for us. I tend to go back and forth between those two ideas. At the moment I feel that I can at least try to work on social anxiety and social skills, as it seems like one area that I haven’t really worked on in the past, but I do feel a bit like I’m running out of options (with my mental health generally, not just fitting in).


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