I’ve stumbled home late, thanks to crowding at Kings Cross Station (it took about twenty minutes to walk from the Metropolitan Line platform to the Northern Line via a circuitous route), and in pain, thanks to backache (I’m going to have to switch from a rucksack to a cabin bag as I take too much with me. That’s probably a psychopathology in itself). I’m also hungry, but dinner won’t be for ages. Because dinner is late and because I want to eat in the sukkah (the booth where we eat during Sukkot), I’ll have to eat with my parents and their friends, which means I won’t get to relax by reading while I eat, which means I’ll go to bed tense and tomorrow will be difficult and the problem will probably happen again only I’ll be in a rush because of shiur… OK, this is probably catastrophising now. But I do feel stressed.
I’ve become paranoid at work. I feel certain that I’m making loads of mistakes, but I’m scared to ask questions for fear of drawing attention to them. I overthink things, which may be a trace of OCD or plain anxiety. Whenever I go to get a drink or to the toilet, I’m sure my boss is thinking that I’m getting up too often and not working hard enough. At the same time, I feel I should be talking to the other team members more and that everyone is thinking that I’m weird and anti-social (there’s a fair amount of background chatter in the office, but the marketing team, which is what I’m part of, doesn’t seem to chat much, although not in an unfriendly way). I have a continual feeling of incompetence from when I enter the office in the morning until I leave at the end of the day.
At work I’m looking up lawyers’ biographies online to copy and paste their contact details into a spreadsheet. Their hobbies are usually predictably boring: reading, cooking, theatre, socialising with friends and family, travel… I did find one Doctor Who fan (and a female one at that, although I guess that’s less noteworthy than it was twenty years ago), but generally it seems that while being a fan of a sports team is socially acceptable, being a fan of a TV programme is not. This just reinforces my feelings of weirdness, although I doubt I should be comparing myself to lawyers in any way, shape or form. I’m sure a lot of my peers from school and university have ended up as lawyers though; even in my small friendship group, I have a solicitor and a barrister. I do feel that I could/should be earning lots of money, if I wasn’t depressed. Earning lots of money doesn’t interest me much in itself, but if I had a choice between being miserable and rich and being miserable and poor, I’d choose miserable and rich.
I feel lonely. I shouldn’t think about how unlikely it is that I will ever get married, but I do. I feel that it is not surprising that the two relationships I have had have been with someone who was not religious and someone who, although initially religious in a somewhat unconventional way, became less and less religious while we were dating. I feel that no frum woman would pick someone as weird, geeky and religiously dysfunctional as me. Any woman who picked me would be ‘settling’ in some way, either a religious woman ‘settling’ for a husband who didn’t go to yeshiva and who doesn’t learn or daven as he should and who is too obsessed with ancient science fiction TV programmes, or a geeky woman who is ‘settling’ for someone who is frum (religious). I also worry that I seem to always be a rebound relationship, but that might just be coincidence. Even so, I can’t imagine being anyone’s first choice, or being any kind of choice except out of desperation, fear of loneliness and late-thirties broodiness.
My complex PTSD book tells me that recovery from complex trauma takes years. Factor in dealing with the social anxiety and depression separately and learning to deal with autism (if I really have it…) and I feel that it could be years until I’m remotely functional (I do not feel functional at all at work), let alone able to experience joy and love. I fear I will always be alone, miserable and unloved.
Addendum: I got through dinner OK. I ended up eating my dinner while everyone else was sitting around eating snacks as aperitifs, so I felt like everyone was staring at me eat. I ate far too fast because of that, although I was also exhausted and in need of food and relaxation.
I felt bad for a couple of reasons which I probably shouldn’t go into here… sometimes I wish I could be more unconstrained here. But things tonight made me remember that I had a wonky childhood, even if it wasn’t actually abusive or neglectful, and that my relationship with my parents will probably always be a bit wonky. They also (for different reasons) stoked my fears that one day I will just lose control and do something terrible. It’s difficult. Now I need to go to bed very tense and try to sleep to get up at 6.00am tomorrow for extra Sukkot prayers and extra time to eat in the sukkah… and now I’m catastrophising again…