I think I got about eight hours sleep (I’m not sure, as I can’t remember when I went to bed), but I woke up feeling very tired and depressed and glad that I don’t work on Fridays. I just feel wiped out by another work week, really (with added psychiatric review and major work mistake), and glad that my contract is nearly over. I don’t know how I would work in a permanent job for four days a week, let alone five. Unfortunately, it seems part-time work is hard to find, at least in areas I might be good at. I’m still not convinced I’m in the right career, but don’t know what else to do. The idea of doing a PhD in antisemitism and then going to work for a Jewish thinktank has a certain amount of appeal, especially after Pittsburgh, but I’m not sure I could cope with it practically or emotionally (immersing myself in antisemitism), socially useful though it would be. My Mum still thinks I should retrain as a primary school teacher and it’s true that I find young children restoring rather than depleting, but the prospect of being responsible for thirty children at once terrifies me. I don’t feel I cope that well with three or four children at the asylum seekers drop-in centre, and that’s only for a couple of hours a month.
Someone on BBC News drew her OCD as a cartoon character. I’m not an artist, but my depression would probably look like an anthropomorphic cloud, dark (despairing) with downturned mouth (depressed), and rain (tears) and lightning (irritability/anger).
The shiur (religious Torah class) last night was interesting. I thought over some of the issues that came indirectly out of it afterwards. I don’t want to go into details, as it’s private, but it did help me a bit to understand how I could understand my suffering without seeing it as a sign that God hates me and is angry with me, which I’ve felt for years, although sadly it seemed to indicate that my main role on Earth is to suffer. I hope I’m wrong about that.
I talk a lot about Jewish community stuff here, but I tend to shy away from detailed descriptions of Crazy Jewish Ritual, partly because I know most of my readers aren’t Jewish. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. Anyway, here is something Crazy I’ve been doing this week, although I don’t think it’s a common thing to do. Maybe it will help other people psychologically even without the underlying beliefs.
I have mentioned struggling a lot with my religious life lately, feeling guilty, feeling angry with HaShem (God), struggling to daven (pray) and to study Torah. I came across this passage in The Empty Chair: Finding Hope and Joy: Timeless Wisdom from a Hasidic Master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov:
The Rebbe said: When do I have my meditation? When everyone is around me, that’s when I seclude myself with God. I know how to cry out in a silent scream. What I say is heard from one end of the world to the other, yet those around me hear nothing!
Anyone can do this. Imagine the sound of such a scream in your mind. Just as the throat brings a scream from your lungs to your lips, there are nerves that draw sound into your head. When you do this, you are shouting inside your brain. Direct that shout to the One above and it will open Heaven’s gate.
I had heard of this before, but not tried it. When I was struggling with my hitbodedut meditation this week I tried this, thinking of everything in the world that makes me depressed and anxious and self-hating and just screaming silently in my head. I don’t know what it does religiously, but it was surprisingly cathartic psychologically. I’ve been doing it for a few nights now. It does feel like a real release of tension, particularly as I open my mouth as wide as I can, as if I was letting out a really loud scream, tensing all the muscles in my jaw.
One of those socially-awkward things that seem to happen to me a lot: I commented on a friend’s Doctor Who blog, forgetting I was logged into this account rather than the one for my non-anonymous Doctor Who blog (I’m always getting my two identities mixed up. I could never be a spy or a superhero). He’s now following this blog. I don’t have a problem with that (my anonymity here is more to hide me from potential employers/dates (ha ha) rather than friends), but I don’t know if he realises this is me, if you know what I mean. I worry that unless I can find a way to broach the subject in a way that doesn’t embarrass him some confusion will result down the line.
Over the weekend I hope to broach the subject of getting a pet (guinea pigs) with my parents more forcefully than before. We aren’t really a pet family and my parents are wary of my getting a pet (I think they’re mainly worried how I will cope if/when it dies), but I really think it might help my loneliness and depression, especially as I’m likely to be home in my room alone a lot when my contract ends. Wish me luck…