I seem to be in the habit of long days (Sunday evening until Thursday afternoon), going to bed at 11pm and getting up at 6.20am and trying to pack my day with work and whatever Torah study and prayer I can manage, and shorter days (extended weekends from Thursday evening until Sunday afternoon), going to bed any time after midnight and sleeping for ten to twelve hours and trying to do more Torah study and prayer, as well as household chores, than I can manage on work days, but generally feeling too burnt out to do very much. Long work days are filled with intense depression and I think also anxiety (although it can be hard to tell — alexithymia again) at work, but the fear of missing work and getting in trouble keeps me going somehow. Weekend days have less intense emotions, at least most of the time, but also a general feeling of lassitude and difficulty in getting motivated to do anything, even though I have lots to do, just not as obviously urgent as on work days, or at least things that won’t lead to immediate conflict if I miss it or am late. Consequently, I don’t have time for hobbies (working much on my Doctor Who book and blog, cooking, jogging, painting miniatures) and I still don’t have much energy for prayer or Torah study. Often the lack of time on the Tube that I can use to read Mishnayot means I do less on non-work days, while I usually sleep through Shacharit (morning prayers) on these days although I do at least get to a couple of shiurim (classes) which I can’t seem to manage on work nights and I tend to get shul (synagogue) at some point on Shabbat (the Sabbath) which I don’t manage at all on work days. This routine is not healthy, but I don’t know how else to get through the week right now.
I don’t think it’s particularly feasible for me to be thinking about dating while my mental health is so unbalanced and my income stream (such as it is) is about to be cut off in five weeks when my contract ends, but I’m still quite lonely (although I’ve been worse) and I wish I had a wife and children to love and share my life with. I suspect I’m a more affectionate person than I’ve ever really had the chance to demonstrate, if I could find the right woman.
Other than general lassitude (and consciousness that it’s getting close to Shabbat, which starts about 5.40pm today), I feel some social anxiety and inadequacy. I feel that my boss must surely regret hiring me and that the people at my shul (synagogue) community might look down on me; even if they don’t, I look down on myself for not davening (praying) or studying Torah as much or as well as they do.
Further to what I wrote yesterday about finding something I can do well, my Mum is trying to encourage me to consider retraining as a primary school teacher, specifically limudei kodesh (Jewish studies) in a Jewish school. I’m not convinced that I’m as good with children as she thinks, though, or that I could handle working full-time in a school. Also, the thought of being in charge of a whole class of children terrifies me; I get nervous enough looking after a handful at the asylum seekers drop-in centre, and their parents are only in the next room.
I tried to phone a local private therapy centre (the ones who were supposed to phone me back last week, but didn’t) about CBT for low self-esteem and social anxiety. It was a struggle with my social anxiety just to make the call about treating my social anxiety (!), but they were shut anyway (they may shut early on Fridays because I think the practice owner is Jewish and frum (religious) although I don’t think all the staff are). I shall have to try earlier next week, but I was just too exhausted to phone earlier today.