I spent an hour or more after Shabbat (the Sabbath) working on my presentation for my interview. Actually, I spent an hour occasionally jotting down ideas, but mostly panicking and procrastinating on Twitter (which I should never have joined – I don’t use it effectively to promote my blog, which was the whole purpose of being on it, although it’s probably just as well my recent blog posts haven’t had much of an audience, so out of touch am I with accepted fan wisdom. Although it was weird to see a former Doctor Who script writer retweet a (non-Who, political) Tweet by a friend of my sister… small world). I have something of an idea of the structure of the presentation and a few ideas, but it’s going to need a lot of work before Wednesday. If the interview goes badly, at least it will be useful evidence for when I have my interview at The Network on Thursday (for employment support with mental health issues) and Barnet Mencap on Friday (for autism screening).
Shabbat itself was more of a struggle. Friday night was good: I spent time feeling actually frum (religious) for once: I went to shul (synagogue), spent time on Torah study, reading Tanakh in Hebrew and looking up commentaries and Midrashim and things, at least to some extent. I spent too much time after shul, but before dinner, lying on my bed tired and then I struggled to sleep when I went to bed properly, but on the whole I felt OK and I started re-reading The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Philip K. Dick’s last and in some ways most beautiful book (I’m not quite sure why The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction thought it was the work of a “finished writer”).
Today was a lot harder. I slept through the morning again and didn’t go to shul. This upsets me, but I don’t know how to change it. Dealing with social anxiety there is just too far down on my list of priorities at the moment, below dealing with less scary social anxiety situations, dealing with low self-esteem and finding a job I can actually do.
Then when I got up, there was stuff going on at home which I can’t talk about here, but which really brought me down. I know I sound really open and honest here, but what you see is not all of me. You see a lot of me, but nowhere near all, both in terms of how I feel now and what affects that, and what started all this (my mental health issues) in the first place. And it’s very frustrating not being able to talk about that, especially now I’m not currently in therapy. And then after Shabbat we had some more bad news, which I also can’t share here for different reasons, so that was also worrying and upsetting.
I did get to shul for Talmud shiur (Talmud class) (a really weird sugya (argument) about whether the souls of the dead know what happens in our world; after giving arguments back and forth, the Gemarah basically concludes that we just don’t know, which is rather frustrating) and Ma’ariv (the evening service). The assistant rabbi asked if I was OK as I missed shiur on Thursday and I wasn’t sure whether to say I was at depression group. Maybe next time there’s a clash (which won’t be until late January now), I should just message the shiur What’sApp group and instead of saying vaguely that I’m not able to come to shiur, as I usually do when I go to depression group instead, I should openly say I’m going to my depression support group. At least then it forces me to be more open, but who knows how people will react. (The shiur What’sApp group is very small, about six or eight members, the people I am most friendly with at shul.)
Good news: I have received that money I was owed from my shul and I’ve been taken back of the security rota.
I have a scarily busy, or just scary, week ahead: on Monday I should find out if I’m getting CBT on the NHS; on Wednesday I have my job interview (presentation; interview; cataloguing test); on Thursday I have my meeting at The Network about employment support and on Friday I’ve got my autism screening. I’ve asked both my parents to come along to this. Strictly speaking, they only need one parent, but I have wondered since my last assessment whether my Mum unconsciously tries to present me in a ‘good’ i.e. neurotypical light. I guess it can’t hurt to have Dad there too even if that’s not the case. And of course, Chanukah is in the background all week, although it will only be tricky on Friday, which will be a rush to get ready and light Chanukah lights after my screening and before Shabbat, which will start around 3.40pm.
I’ve been thinking recently about what my maternal grandparents used to say to me a lot, “It will all be the same in a hundred years.” I’ve come across a similar quote from former British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, “Nothing matters very much and most things don’t matter at all.” I’ve been thinking about this with regard to the centenary of the end of World War I and with regard to Brexit, but also with regard to my own life. I think some things do matter on a global scale and some things don’t, but it’s hard to tell what’s what sometimes. Realistically, World War I did matter, and matters now one hundred years on, but realistically a lot of what I do won’t matter, now or in a century. (Don’t ask me where Brexit fits in!) Of course, from a religious point of view, everything matters, but I am not sure that that is the healthiest way to think about things when I’m stuck deeply in anxiety and despair. It’s like Rebbe Simcha Bunim of Peshischa saying:
“Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: “For my sake was the world created.” But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: “I am but dust and ashes.”
(The former quote is from the Talmud, the latter Bereshit/Genesis 18.27.)
Maybe it’s good to think that things don’t matter if one is in danger of overthinking things and turning into an anxious mess.