The news is so depressing today.  Sometimes it’s hard to work out where my life ends and the world begins, they’re so awful.  I’m not sure if that even makes sense.  I mean… actually I don’t know what I mean.  I don’t think that the world is a product of my depressed mind (which would be solipsism and/or psychosis).  But I don’t quite mean that my depression is a product of the world (although on one level it is).  I guess I mean that they complement each other in a disturbing way.  That the world is bad enough to fit my mood, and my mood is bad enough to fit the world.

A few people have said that I should focus not on the religious stuff I don’t achieve, but on how much I’m achieving compared to the effort I put in and my abilities, taking into account depression, social anxiety, possible autism or social communication disorder and so on.  To be honest, this is a Jewish idea.  The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot says that the reward is proportional to the effort and I have heard from a couple of sources that the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz), one of the leading Orthodox rabbis and halakhicists of the twentieth century, would stand for someone with Down Syndrome out of respect because they are serving God on their level better than other people.  However, it’s hard for me to hold on to it, because I have no realistic understanding of what I should be able to achieve and how much effort I put in.  Sometimes I feel like I’m working flat out, putting in all the effort I can, but mostly it doesn’t feel like that.  I have no objective way of knowing, I can only compare myself with other people – my peers – who are doing so much more than me, even though I don’t know how much effort they put or how much effort they can put in.

I still feel very lonely.  It’s hard to work out what that loneliness is.  If I say I want to connect with someone, that feels OK, but if I say I want (to be blunt) to have sex with someone, that feels not OK, even though both Judaism and psychiatry recognise sex as a basic human need, and even though for me the desire for sex is connected to the desire for love and intimacy (I couldn’t be promiscuous, just from my personality).  Mind you, sometimes even saying I want to be loved feels selfish and wrong.  I should just love other people without expectation of return.  I find it hard to love people.  I guess it’s the autism, and the alexithymia.  It’s hard to understand what I feel.  E. said I was an “amazing boyfriend” but that still wasn’t good enough.  I don’t know how I could ever love someone properly, or have someone love me the way I need.

I’m supposed to go to volunteer at the asylum seekers drop-in centre (I can never work out if there should be an apostrophe in that – I would think so, but the organisers don’t seem to put one in) , but I don’t feel up to it.  I just want to go back to bed.  I’m still in my pyjamas at 11am, even though I need to leave in half an hour.

4 thoughts on “Effort : Reward

  1. I’ve always felt a sense of loneliness. I don’t know if that’s depression or being a bit of a loner or what. I sense that you’re an introvert in the sense that you get recharged when you’re alone and that you feel drained after social activity. However, if that’s the case, you are doing SO well. You’re not only working but also doing a lot of social activity outside of work. And you’re a good person (yes, you are, so don’t argue with that statement in your mind!). It takes a good person to volunteer on a regular basis.

    E. said you were an amazing boyfriend, so it’s likely other women would find the same thing. So she found you to be an amazing boyfriend, but the mental illness was too much for her to deal with? That just means that *one* woman found the relationship undoable for her. Another might appreciate your sharp mind, your sensitivity, your commitment to Judaism and more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if that’s depression or being a bit of a loner

      Maybe both?

      I don’t feel that I’m doing “a lot of social activity.” It’s just shiur and shul really. I haven’t socialised for ages. Volunteering is only once a month and I haven’t been to my support groups much lately, although I’m hoping to get to depression group on Thursday.

      I would like to think that I’m a good person, but I just know so much bad stuff about myself that I don’t share here that makes it hard to accept.

      E. didn’t have a problem with the mental illness per se (well, she did have a problem with my negativity, but that wasn’t why she broke up with me), but with the fact that I couldn’t support a family on my income and I don’t see how that problem would go away in a different relationship. It’s why I’ve decided not to date until I get a steadier income than I have at the moment, and preferably a rather larger one than I’ve had in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

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