The title is a deliberate contradiction which sums up how I feel at the moment: that I’m struggling with powerful emotions, but the things I achieve are trivial and pointless.  Tonight I was reminded that when you’re exhausted and hungry and lonely and depressed (indeed, thoroughly miserable) and reading about transgressive art and its roots in the collapse of religious faith after World War I, it can be hard to remember that you believe in God and transcendent truth and meaning and purpose.

Other than that, today was dull, in distressing ways.  I sat at my desk crying again this afternoon, trying not to be seen by anyone.  It was easy, because, while in the morning I was seated between my boss and the other temp, around lunch time they moved away.  I’m really trying to tell myself that wasn’t anything to do with me.  I tried listening to music at work to blot out the noise of people talking, but I simply can’t concentrate on anything requiring even a minimum of brainpower with music going.  I thought music might be at least an improvement on chatter, but it turns out to be harder to block out.  Another suggestion of autism.

I think about death a lot, and how much I want to die.  Death does seem seem rather pointless (see my first paragraph), but so does life.  I don’t really enjoy anything at the moment.  I said this to my Mum and she listed a load of things that she thought I enjoy, but I’m not sure that I do, at least not at the moment.  I might enjoy reading and watching Doctor Who on some level, but I think some days it’s a struggle even to do that, and certainly my enjoyment is impaired even if it is there to some extent.  I certainly don’t enjoy (or do) anything further up Maslow’s pyramid, or requiring greater concentration or commitment.  Even with Doctor Who, I’ve basically given myself a task to do with it (write my book) rather than being able just to enjoy watching it.

A couple of people responded to my post from yesterday saying I should try to date the woman my Mum wants to set me up with.  I’m open to that in theory, although really sceptical about whether anything good can come of it.  My track record with shidduchim (blind dates) is not good.  I know shidduchim are the main way people meet in the frum (Orthodox Jewish) world, but I’m fairly convinced the matches happen by pot luck rather than any precise matchmaking logic: throw enough young men and young women together and biology will do its work sooner or later.  I don’t really have any hopes for someone as weird, geeky and messed up as me – or, to put it slightly more nicely, I don’t have hopes of meeting someone equally unconventional.  Up until now, every attempt at dating has been derailed by my geeky weirdness or my mental health issues and related precarious financial situation (worse than precarious, actually, as that would imply a degree of stability that might be lost, whereas I don’t have any stability to start with).  The only exception was the first woman I dated, and that was derailed by her failure to respect my boundaries and the fact that we were going in different religious directions.  She at least was geeky (I guess E. is also geeky, in a way), but her understanding of my mental health issues was unfortunately undermined by her own issues, which resulted in her inability to respect my boundaries in a healthy way; that she simply ignored me when my depression was bad can, I suppose, also be seen as a boundary problem, if you want to be generous.

I don’t know enough about the woman my Mum wants to set me up with (I need a shorthand for that) to know if she’s likely to be geeky or understanding of mental health issues (and related poverty) and it scares me that the only way to find out is to go on a date with her.  I tried asking my Mum for information, but she clearly didn’t know anything beyond, “Single, frum, early thirties, lives locally” nor did she really understand why I would want to know anything more in advance of a date.  I did possibly find her LinkedIn page and she had an unusual choice of degree subject, which makes me think maybe she is somewhat quirky and unusual, but people do sometimes end up doing weird degrees for pragmatic reasons, like not getting on their first choice course.

Beyond that, I just feel that there’s zero point in going on a date at the moment, with my mood and my financial situation as they are.  I feel no one could ever want me in this state (I find it hard to think anyone could want me in any state, but certainly not like this) and I should wait until I see a psychiatrist to discuss medication changes and try to get some CBT to see if that can help my self-esteem issues, but both those things are going to take a while to happen.

5 thoughts on “Triviality in Extremis

  1. I’m all but certain that you have autism. I’m no doctor, though, but I have enjoyed reading about mental illness and had a very brief stint as a psychiatric nurse before deciding that nursing was not for me. I’m sorry you’re suffering so much. Does it at all help you to consider that it’s chemical and not “you” or your sense of lack of worth to God and others? Maybe thinking about it that way will help divorce you from some of these thoughts. I know when I’ve been very depressed, having someone say to me that it’s chemical, not *me* and that my world view is being colored by my mental illness made me think about it and eventually helped a great deal. And for me it has been true. Once the right combination of meds kicked in, my view of the world, myself, and my place in the world and how I related to others changed.

    Just curious, if you don’t mind sharing, why is it going to take a while to see a psychiatrist for a med change and some CBT? Is there maybe a Jewish therapist that you can see in the meantime? Seems like it would be best to make this a top priority.

    Regarding dating, I agree that it would probably be challenging to think of finding your bashert feeling as low as you do right now. That’s a lot of pressure if you’re trying to impress “the one.” When you do feel more ready to date, I’d suggest viewing it as an opportunity to have fun with another person and maybe make a friend. That’s all. That takes some of the pressure off. When I was looking to find a Jewish mate, I dated several people I met through online through Although I never met anyone from there who I wanted to marry, we had fun going to dinner and talking, and two in particular have become very good friends. It wasn’t lost time. It helped me become more confident in myself, a bit more social, and clarify what I wanted in a mate.

    Anyway, don’t give up hope. You have a lot going for you. Being on the correct meds and getting therapy may make you view life in a completely different way. I think so.


    1. Re: thinking it’s chemical, I’ve never thought about it in that way. I’ve thought, “it’s chemical, it’s a real illness, not something in my head”, but not “it’s chemical, it’s not me.” I don’t know what I am without it though. I think I’ve been depressed since adolescence, although I wasn’t diagnosed then. I don’t really have a sense of who I am away from depression.

      There’s a long waiting list for psychiatrists on the NHS here in the UK. Not seeing the CBT therapist (most psychiatrists are not therapists in the UK) is down to my needing to take the time to find one. I don’t think it’s an urgent priority as I’m not expecting dramatic results.

      I don’t think I could ever see dating as a chance to have fun with someone. Partly for religious (or socio-religious) reasons (dating is not seen as having fun in my community), partly because my of personality (social anxiety and also sentimentality/falling for women too easily).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a new reader of your blog and i liked the ones i have read so far. To be honest i feel like i am intruding your private space here and while i am thinking about what motive pushes me to write this comment i first find that i related to some things you write about and wanted to share what i think or feel about it. Emm for the girl or woman i would suggest to follow your heart: last thing i remember is me being in a very bad mind state to the point i didnt respond to calls from a girl i know, i didnt felt like it and the nights before i was struggling with panic symptoms in my case lack of breathing. So when i decided to talk with her my low self esteem went down very down not that she was rude but because the bully inside me was very strong i ended up hurting myself so i would be able to breath again. Anyways long story short if you really feel that you are not ok for an encounter i would suggest to follow your heart. But once you will feel like you can manage a meet up with her please do. I am asking because for someone who thinks he failed in the past many times, a new encounter will shed more light on you whether it would be good or bad. We can learn and somehow empower ourselves from any kind of experience. For the doubt you have mentioned: rare for you to find someone who will click with you, believe me there are people who are a match to you in whatever situation you think you are in. My second and last experience with a girl i used to know was a proof to me that it is possible. We both had our mental issues but that part in my life remains a great push for rebuilding myself. It was also a very dark downer but i somehow managed to not kill myself over it. For now i mean hehe. Anyways please stay alive, you seem like the kind of person who can open up many doors (mysteries, truth… ) of this universe and i wish you will do it while you are here with us in this existence.


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